Industry Profile: Remind Insoles Founder John Makens
15 Jun, 2010
Name: John Makens
Job Title: CEO
Employer: REMIND INSOLES, INC.
Years on snow: 20
Days on snow: 100
Currently Riding: Rome snowboards design 162
Currently I am: Getting new tires put on my truck.
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
John: I grew up in Minnesota. Gradually made my way west to bigger mountains. For the past 8 years I’ve resided in Jackson Hole and ocean beach in the off season.
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
John: Snowboarding has brought me to many amazing places and a sense of freedom from the systematic world. I’ve developed many lifetime relationships through sharing this passion with fellow friends.
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
John: My parents weren’t very supportive of snowboarding at first. So I went after sponsors to help fund my passion. When I was 14, Pete Harvieux at Fobia Skate Shop hooked me up with all the gear I needed for a while. Later on I befriended Lance Pitman and Willie McMillon who have thrown me some big bones. I’ve always kind of kept some sort of distance from the industry to maintain a balance of riding for myself and being some company’s puppet. I always want to keep snowboarding mine, But I definitely appreciate all the support I’ve gotten along the way.
Photo: Aaron Dodds
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
John: I went to Art School for a few years so that helped a bit. But I pretty much just jumped right into it and gained a lot of knowledge along the way. I’ve worked all sorts of jobs from restaurants to retail to construction and landscaping. Along with running a clothing company for 8 years. At the moment I am electrical rigging power distribution for movie sets. I feel that all these experiences have taught me things that apply to what I am doing now.
Shay: Tell us about your role at Remind Insoles and a description of the work you do?
John: Well I kinda feel like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. The One Man Band. I do everything from design to product development, team manager to accounting, Marketing to basically all the business decisions. I’ve been having great help with the sales side of things and collaborating with artists for the insole graphics. I want to involve companies, shops, and, individuals that give back to our snowboard and skateboard communities.
Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
John: Constantly maintaining this machine that has been built and always looking for ways to improve and modify what exists. Making time to get some pow and connect with the Mountains helps remind me why its all worth while.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
John: I got a chance to go to AK for the first time last spring. That was kind of the highlight for me and what I’ve always aspired to do. I feel like that everything in the past has gotten me ready for that.
Photo: Aaron Dodds
Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the snowboard industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
John: Taking Back what’s ours from the corporate monsters. Educating the up and coming kids about the roots of snowboarding and the people who have made it what it is. Keeping the influential people around and not cutting them for some flat land demographic marketability. I would like to see more companies that move snowboarding in the right direction, and less energy drinks.
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
John: Everything I’ve learned is from my experiences. All my education I’ve had to un-learn.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
John: Don’t let outsiders run the Industry and Good Luck!
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