Images courtesy of Brixton.
At 20 years of age David Stoddard had a realisation that his tiling business was not about to fulfil him for the rest of his working life. “Fuck this, I know I could be doing more.”
He wanted to become an art director. He promptly signed himself up for a college course and made moves, through friends with connections, to secure himself a role a TransWorld Magazine.
Initially the work was in the warehouse, but soon Stoddard made the shift to the office over the road and was working in sales. He was eventually offered a role as art director for Transworld Business, which he refused, to take up a role in advertising.
It was the advertising role that exposed David to an inspirational community of pro skaters, brand owners and creatives. “It was my dream job, I got to work with brands (I admired) and go over their marketing plans and book their ads. I also got free clothes and free shoes! At that time I wanted to be a famous musician and play music for the rest of my life. Beyond that I was doing my dream job.”
Whilst happy in his TransWorld role, Stoddard still had a desire to create something that he could call his own. Brixton!
After settling on a name, Brixton was trademarked. Stoddard had learned a lot from his dealings with brands at TransWorld Mag and knew he had to create something unique and different that nobody was offering. “At the time we were into Grandpa and vintage inspired hats but we couldn’t find them in our market.” So headwear became that niche.
Stoddard partnered with fellow TransWorld employees Jason Young and Mike Chaplin and Brixton was born. The trio each put in $10k and used that money to invest in product and marketing.
Stoddard’s garage became the hub of the business and the team would continue their day jobs at TransWorld and work on Brixton at night til the early hours for 2 years before finally taking the leap and giving up the office jobs to focus fully on their brand.
When Brixton was launched the goal was always to be more than just a headwear brand, the trio cleverly never pigeoned holed themselves by using the words “Brixton Hats” on the product or buying brixtonhats.com. But headwear was the category the boys used to introduce the Brixton vision and aesthetic to the market. Securing their first orders from hometown Oceanside, CA retailer Surf Ride.
The hats sold well and soon Brixton added Flannel Shirts and Jackets to the mix. Accessories, tops and button ups as well as ladies followed.
Like any any brand they have made their fair share of mistakes and been presented with some tough challenges over the 12 year journey. “We had $40k worth of woven’s, that was the first delivery to the warehouse and I couldn’t ship them. They were so bad that I would hurt the brand.” Stoddard recalls. Brixton has learned to focus and perfect one product category at a time before adding new ones, this has helped them become the business it is today, and the vision for the Brixton product remains the same, clean and timeless.
Music plays a vital role for the brand, the name Brixton was derived from Stoddard’s love for British Punk band The Clash, and the brands close ties with the music scene remain as strong today.
Brixton also attributes the city and community of Oceanside as key influencers in the brands progression and more importantly it's culture. Most of the staff at Brixton HQ are from Oceanside and that's a very consious decision from Stoddard. “We’ve hired people in the past that didnt get our lifestyle and culture and it just didn’t work with anybody, so moving forward we interview every single person that comes through the door to make sure they understand the culture.”
As Brixton continues to grow globally with Oceanside, CA as its hub, the teams focus now shifts to protecting their brand and continue to apply the same vision they had from the very beginning to everything they do. The Brixton crew continue to work with passion and drive to produce timeless, clean product that musicians from all genres would be comfortable to wear.
The Brixton story is inspiring and proof that with hard work, sacrifice and a few calculated risks here and there you can convey your lifestyle through making unique products, have fun and make money doing it!