Last month, Antics International announced the licensing of Stereo Skateboards and Hi-Fi Wheels, two brands based out of Los Angeles and owned by skate industry veterans Chris Pastras and Jason Lee. The deal leaves Antics in charge of sales, distribution and operations, freeing Pastras and Lee up to work on the creative elements behind the brands. We caught up with Pastras and Antics’ General Manager Brian Howard to find out more about the deal and how they expect it to play out in the near future.
Why did the licensing deal make sense at this time?
Brian Howard: This deal was almost a no-brainer for Antics. It was an opportunity to align with a brand and a family of skaters that have a long history and heritage in skateboarding.
Chris Pastras: We’ve worked really hard at building the Stereo brand up since 2003. Even more so once Stereo became independent in 2005-06, and now it’s time for us to take it to the next step. We knew we needed the right distribution partner to actualize it. This relationship with Antics will allow Jason, myself, and the team to really focus on what we’re best at, making great videos, art, and riding our skateboards. In fact, I’m on a skate trip in Portland right now, the first one I’ve been free to take in almost two years.
How do these brands fit with Antics and the other brands under your company?
Howard: Our other brands, Theeve and Armourdillo, represent making a quality product that has a place in skateboarding and the action sports market. Stereo and Hi-Fi Wheels help fill our offering as a solid distribution house.
What does the licensing deal mean for the growth of the Stereo and Hi-Fi brands, and for Antics?
Pastras: Antics has seen some really quick, solid growth with the Theeve and Armourdillo brands, and we feel confident they can help us take Stereo and Hi-Fi to the next level. The Antics crew will be adding a deeper operational backbone, more production organization, and a full sales force. Stereo and Hi-Fi are such iconic brands, and now it’s time for them both to actualize their full potential.
Howard: Stereo and Hi-Fi will add to our distribution offering. Antics is relatively new to the skateboard industry even though we have employees that have been in the skateboard world in different facets for many years. Our credibility is beyond question but with Stereo/Hi-Fi and this partnership we are even more relevant than before.
How do you think Antics can help build upon the strong skate industry roots that Stereo has already built for itself?
Howard: It is a testament to Antics if two long time skate pioneers like Jason Lee and Chris Pastras would look to us as a partner. Antics has hit the market and stirred up a bit of a buzz with Theeve trucks. I hope that our determination and persistence will help the Stereo brand get the attention it deserves and help the Stereo/Hi Fi family grow to new levels.
What plans does Antics have to grow these brands?
Howard: We want to make Stereo and Hi-Fi accessible to the retailers that have been loyal to the brands for many years. Our plans are to make sure when they need product; that it is there for them. Chris Pastras and Jason Lee will continue to create, design, and improve the same tasteful products, graphics, and apparel that they have in the past. We want to help them by taking the work part off their hands. Our job is to get it to the retailer.
Will Stereo/Hi-Fi be carried at additional retail locations internationally?
Pastras: Yes definitely, domestically we will now have a full in-house sales force, as well as a rep force—a big difference from how we operated before with just a couple of us doing everything. As far as international, we’ve got some great distributors, and they will just be better serviced now with more timely product and more marketing resource.
Can you discuss the exact details of the licensing deal–how many years is it for?
Howard: We have signed a long term deal with Stereo so that we can really make a difference and get the brand to the place it deserves. Stereo is such an icon in skateboarding. There are so many possibilities for the brand and the avenues it can pursue while remaining so relevant to the market.
Will Hi-Fi and Stereo be working out of Antics offices at all?
Howard: The creative and artistic direction will remain in LA where Stereo/ Hi Fi is based currently but the operations, production, and shipping will be in the Antics office.
Where are your brands manufactured? Will Stereo/Hi-Fi be manufactured through you as well?
Howard: Most of the manufacturing will remain with current vendors but I am sure some will stay and some will change over time. Antics will be taking over the role of production with input from Chris and Jason and the team of course.
What plans for innovation and/or growth do you have for the brands over the next six to twelve months?
Pastras: We will see growth in the product lines, the product development, and the sales force behind the products. Across the board growth basically.
What ideas for the creative, design side will you be working on?
Pastras: Growing the pro team, continuing to have regular video content available on our site (stereosoundagency.com), and a refocus on the Stereo video. The new relationship will allow Jason and I to actually get out and film and help motivate the guys, very hyped on that. Design wise we will be doing what we do best, just doing it even better.