Industry Profile: Ashbury Co-Founder & Creative Director Mike Hakker
12 Aug, 2008
Mike: My full name is Michael Leonard Hakker II. I’m a twin, I have two cats and live with 3 others.
Shay: What is your job title?
Mike: Ashbury Co-founder and creative director (of myself of course).
Shay: Did your parents question your job choice?
Shay: What was your first set up?
Mike: I had a Dale Rehberg pro model Ride and I think baseless Bent Metal bindings.
Shay: What is your current set up?
Mike: Last season I rode a 151 Artec and K2 bindings.
Shay: What was your first job?
Mike: My first job was doing construction with my dad. My first “real” job was as an artist at Hurley.
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
Mike: Powder, with friends. I love Brighton and Crans-Montana, Switzerland. I went to Mount Baker for the first time this year for an event that K2 had, that place is amazing.
Shay: Who are your influences?
Mike: I can be influenced by anything, just seeing and hearing different things can give me ideas. Listening to music artists like Bob Dylan and Donovan can get my mind going, it gets me working in a different mode. I am also influenced by my friends, I have a lot of friends that I grew up with that are designers now.
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
Mike: 14 or 15 years.
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
Mike: That depends, the last 4 or 5 years when I was finishing school and working, I didn’t ride that much. But this year, since starting Ashbury, I got to make my own schedule and I rode a few days a week. It was nice.
Shay: What is your role at Ashbury as the Creative Director?
Mike: I do all the creative stuff. From press releases and ads to designing the shirts and goggles. Pretty much anything that comes up.
Shay: The Ashbury’s are hand made in Italy but designed in the United States, are there many obstacles in the collaboration between you, as the designer, and the production team?
Mike: No obstacles for me really, Nima is our “Production Manager.” He is good. So the obstacles fall on his shoulders!
Shay: As a designer, what are the challenges in coming up with something unique and value added for the brand?
Mike: It’s not that hard. The hardest thing is getting myself to work. I work at home, and there is always something else I would rather do.
Mike: Nima and I worked with the manufacturer making a goggle the way we wanted it. Then from there I talk with Lance and Nima about the colors and any other techniques we want to apply to the frame. Then I design straps or any art that needs to be made for the frame. Then the tech packs and send them off. Then Nima and I go back and forth with prototypes with our manufacturer. That’s a basic idea, and really it’s a little more unorganized than that. Really we kinda wing it.
Shay: The influence of music in Ashbury designs is very evident, what type of music do you like?
Mike: I like 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s rock ‘n’ roll. The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Donovan, The Zombies, The Rolling Stones, Terry Reid, David Bowie, etc.
Shay: You co-founded Ashbury with your brother, is it hard working with your sibling?
Mike: No, not at all. He trusts me with what I do and I trust him with what he does, like ichatting and talking on the phone.
Shay: What is Ashbury’s image?
Mike: um, loose. 60’s rock ‘n’ rollish. We just do whatever we want to do.
Shay: Since you started designing goggles, what changes would you like to see in goggles by Ashbury and other companies?
Mike: I worked at Hurley as an artist, then at Plant Earth as Lead Designer. And, I’ve always done freelance work. I’ve been doing work with kr3w lately.
Shay: What’s your average day like at work?
Mike: I just do whatever is needed that day. One day might be designing, one day might be doing business stuff that Lance should be doing, sometimes I snowboard, or read. It’s different everyday. I’ve been really busy lately.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working at Ashbury?
Mike: The coolest times were when we decided to do it, then when we finally came up with a name and logo. Then anytime we get our first product whether it’s goggles, clothing or sunglasses. When we made the team and when we add new guys. We are really happy with the team we have. Going to Italy was awesome. The whole thing is unbelievable.
Shay: How is working for Ashbury (any cool work events, work environment, job perks)?
Mike: It’s cool just doing what I want. We all agree on pretty much everything. The biggest perk is being able to snowboard more.
Shay: What education/experience did you have before getting the job?
Mike: I had a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design. But really what it comes down to is connections, personality and portfolio. And of course, actually participating in the sport.
Shay: What’s the best park you’ve gotten from your job?
Mike: Going to Italy for work.
Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?
Mike: I’m poor right now!
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
Mike: I haven’t figured that out yet. When I had jobs at other companies I was always busy.
Shay: Education vs. Experience…which do you think is more important?
Mike: Experience. But I think going to college is important.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to become a goggle designer?
Mike: Well, I hardly consider myself a goggle designer, I’m more of a clothing designer that designs goggles a little bit. I would say network and snowboard or skateboard. Be nice to people.
Shay: Final thoughts?
Mike: Buy Ashburys? Or maybe support companies that love snowboarding! Uh, go fishing.