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East Coast waves are notoriously fickle and the surf is often plagued with flat spells, but for surf and skate brand Jetty it was just an excuse to follow their own line. This soon became Jetty’s “calling card”—thriving from the challenges of bipolar seasons and changeable waters.
We sat down with co-founder and co-owner Cory Higgins to get a better look at what makes Jetty tick.
Tell me about Jetty’s unique beginnings.
CH: We were just four high school friends working 9-5 jobs and getting together on the weekends to hang out and drink a couple of beers. We went on a snowboarding trip to Vermont where we talked out the hypotheticals of this “company” the whole time. When we got back, we each threw $200 into a hat and started the business!
How does Jetty stand out from other surf brands?
CH: We grew up in the surf industry and around surf shops, so surfing was just like the natural start for us to start our distribution channels. As we’ve grown, though, we realized that our product and story and style translates to more than just the surf industry. We see our growth really happening in the ancillary industries around surf—the SUP industry, the kayak industry, and the outdoor industry in general is where we are thriving
What are some of Jetty’s recent victories?
CH: It’s hard to pinpoint a specific accomplishment because every day feels like a miniature victory in some way. We do a really poor job of stopping to pat ourselves on the back or talk about accomplishments, but 17 years later to have gone from $1,000 and three t-shirt designs to having distribution across the US and Canada and having big name stores be your partners is something to really be proud of.
A big milestone for us is that we just surpassed $1 million in donations through the non-profit branch of our company. We passed that mark back in February with a fundraiser we do to raise money for local people with various needs, and then just last week we finished our largest fundraiser—the HopSauce Fest—which over 3,000 people attended.
How do you woo retailers into giving Jetty shelf space?
CH: It’s really about being ourselves, being authentic. I go into a lot of stores and just have face-to-face time with people. It’s tough, we started from nothing so we’ve never had any big capital funding for us to throw $100,000 towards marketing to really get a bite on us. So it’s really just being ourselves and sticking to our ethics, our customer service, and our values. Just flying our own flag and being the authentic East Coastal brand with a conscience.