As I have mentioned before, I am super inspired by people who have nailed the work/surf balance. Whether that’s by creating their own boardsports-related business, going it alone and working in a way that allows more freedom and flexibility or finding a clever career hack that allows them to spend lots of time in the sea.
We already had an interview with the lovely Clare, who managed to rearrange her work so she could have 13 glorious weeks of surf time. Next up is Simon, a surfer, snowboarder and skateboarder who turned his passions into his job by co-founding an online surf shop…
What is your background?
I have been working in web development and online marketing for the last five years and thought I’d combine my daily grind with my hobbies and set up bluewhiteandgrey.com.
What exactly is blue white and grey?
In a nutshell it’s an online surf, snow and skate fashion store. Our aim is to present fashion conscious surfers, snowboarders and skateboarders with a carefully selected group of brands and products. We want to showcase companies that are producing exciting new product lines and provide customers with a user-friendly shopping experience that doesn’t involve them having to trawl through pages upon pages of product from hundreds of different brands. Our mission is to bring back the alternative side of the industry, placing up-and-coming surf, snow and skate brands in the forefront of customers minds.
What inspired you to start an online shop?
Like I said, it was a combination of my skill-set, my hobbies and that fact that I am interested in fashion which led me to starting up blue white and grey. In terms of inspiration it’s actually the brands that we work with that inspire us to keep going. The guys and girls that set up these brands are so driven and they have a deep rooted desire to keep producing quality and fashionable clothing lines season after season. I want to help these guys get their brands out there as all of them are producing quality lines. If I can make some money at the same time that would be awesome.
Sounds good! So how is your work/life balance – does running your own business still give you time to do the things you enjoy?
Haha, there really isn’t a work/life balance at the moment. The scales are heavily weighted towards work! That said, both me and Emma (partner and co-founder) have had some time on the south coast this summer and we are heading out to Sri Lanka for some waves in November/December so it’s not 100% work.
Sweet! Where’s your favourite place to surf/snowboard/skate in the world?
It’s so difficult to choose any of these. Surfing – Cherating in Malaysia and Byron Bay (just because of the scene) are both really cool places with consistent waves. Snowboarding – The 3 Valleys in France are pretty epic. Skateboarding – Both Manchester and Leeds are pretty goods cities with lots of cool skate spots. Melbourne in Australia has a really good skate scene as well.
Who inspires you in the action sports world? What are your favourite websites/Instagram accounts?
Each brand that we work with and stock in or store are an inspiration to us. It is such hard work setting up and establishing a good brand and we give mage props to anyone that manages to do that successfully. In terms of our favourite Instagram accounts, Morgan Maassen is a super talented surf photographer and has worked with anyone and everyone in the surf industry. Check out his work, it’s mind-blowing…
Agreed – Morgan is epic! So what’s next for blue white and grey?
Moving forward our aim is to establish ourselves as the go to store for the latest fashion trends in the surf, snow and skate industries. Further down the line we are planning on adding a selection of hardware and equipment brands to our product portfolio.
You have some great stock, what’s your absolute favourite item you sell right now?
It’s too difficult to choose one particular item and brand from the store as they are all producing quality clothing and accessories. Part of the idea behind blue white and grey was to never try and compete with the larger retailers in the industry which are stocking over 600 brands in their store. We wanted a select group of core brands that our customers can really buy into. We work on the basis of quality over quantity!
Finally, what advice do you have for others who want to start up on their own?
It’s guaranteed that there will be a lot of setbacks when setting up your own business. The most important thing to remember is why you set out on this journey in the first place. Perseverance is the key to success!
All images courtesy of blue white and grey.