Beaver or ‘Sea Kat’.
What song best describes your shop?
Beach Boys , ‘Feel Flows’.
Where can we find you on your lunch break?
Mollusk Surf Shop is a product of the culture and waves that surround it. Originally born out of San Francisco, Mollusk founders looked to Los Angeles as the natural home for their second store. Mollusk serves as a workspace within the community through which individuals are able to inspire, create, and share their passions and interests.
We caught up with the Mollusk Surf Shop Crew, including Owner John McCambridge and Digital Media Manager Travis Becker, to learn more about how they have created functional work spaces and live installations within their stores. In addition to this, Mollusk is dedicated to featuring local talent. Through this process they have been able to foster a community in their shop and stay true to their love of waves, crafts, and art.
What inspired you to open up a store?
There just wasn’t anywhere north of LA that sold wider, flatter surfboards; boards that were functional and fun for the waves we have around here. We were already selling t-shirts to a select few surf shops. It was a natural progression to want to open our own store in San Francisco. Once we opened the SF shop we were supported by such a great community that it seemed logical to expand our reach to Los Angeles.
What previous experience do you prior to opening your shop?
We have all worked in shops before, be it surf, skate, snowboard based. And we’ve all had experience in producing graphics and t-shirts in some form or another.
How do you keep up with the with scene in San Francisco? Have you found that by featuring local art you have been able to develop a sense of community?
We don’t so much ‘keep up’ with a scene, as simply offer a place, or space for people to connect who share the same interests and passions — this might keep us connected in some sense. We’re lucky to be surrounded by talented artist friends such as, Jeff Canham, Thomas Campbell, Serena Mitnik-Miller, Alex Kopps, and Nat Russell, among others. All of these people inspire and inform what we do.
How has Mollusk served as a cultural workspace for the surrounding community?
The shop serves as an ongoing installation of sorts, with Jay Nelson (installations), Luke Bartels (furniture), and Jeff Canham (sign painting), all contributing to how the shop space feels and functions through their respective crafts.
What would you define brand content as, and how has Mollusk developed its own?
Our brand ethos comes from those euphoric moments (surfing), or golden light (nature) and perfecting our products (craft). Our clothing line has grown from T-shirts to a comprehensive line of tailored beachwear inspired by classic 60’s clothing.
What influenced Mollusk to incorporate art in the store in addition to surf? How do you choose the books, art, and movies that you stock in your store and online?
We simply carry products in line with our own tastes, which hopefully speak to our customers too. Everyone at Mollusk has some input into what sells through the shop, so our products and goods are the result of our collective sensibilities.
How are you involved in the community?
We curate art exhibitions and music shows inviting our followers and community to attend. This year we are staging our biggest event yet, partnering with specialty events organizer, (((folkYEAH!))) for a 2 day music festival in Big Sur, called the Mollusk Jamboree.
In 2005, Mollusk opened its doors just a few blocks away from the wild and unruly surf of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach to sell t-shirts and hand-shaped surfboards and to serve as a creative space for the woodworkers, visual artists, musicians, and craftspeople who lurk amidst the Outer Sunset’s thick fog.
Over the years Mollusk has developed into a cultural institution that integrates surfing, art, craft, music, film, and visual media. We sell products handmade by friends and neighbors, host art shows in our intimate galleries, and function as a concert venue.
Our storefronts in San Francisco and Venice Beach have become hangouts and homes for surfers and artists living in these urban, beachside communities.