Industry Profile: NW! Snowboards Communications + Art Director Andrew Guddat
23 Jun, 2011
Job Title: Communications + Art Director
Employer: NW! snowboards
Years on snow: about 8
Days on snow: I average about 50 days a year.
Currently Riding: Tahoe on a NW! Catalyst 156 Reverse
Currently I am: Young, Naïve and Passionate.
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Andrew: I am a snowboarder, an artist, a videographer, a photographer and a networker.
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Andrew: Honestly I’m not sure if I would be alive right now if it weren’t for snowboarding. Snowboarding is probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. It gave me an outlet for pretty much everything, It gave me a way to be aggressive and let out things I held back in my everyday life. It gave me room for creativity, it gave me a place to escape to, and a white canvas for unlimited freedom. On top of that Snowboarding has been this great social landscape to connect to likeminded people.
Now I consider it my personal goal to give back to snowboarding as much as it gave to me.
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Andrew: I guess you might label me a bit of a outsider in a sense. I started working “in the industry” because I was dissatisfied with it. I most definitely didn’t get involved because I thought “it would be kinda cool to live off of snowboarding”. I got involved because as a consumer I was dissatisfied, I couldn’t seem to find a company that had the right take on consumer relations, manufacturing or retailers.
So I banded together with some equally dissatisfied likeminded individuals and started to make things happen.
Since then countless connections and opportunities for collaboration have followed, its beautiful to see how snowboarding can bring people together.
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Andrew: I decided when I was 15 that highschool was a complete waste of time and started attending the local community college. Getting my AA was definitely helpful to me being that I learned a lot in the art classes I took and even more in the general ed classes.
Before I got involved doing this I was also doing some freelance design work here and there. Getting to apply those skills that I polished there to snowboarding has been really fulfilling.
Shay: Tell us about your role at NW! Snowboards and a description of the work you do?
Andrew: I do a lot of things at NW! Sometimes its a bit hard to not get spread thin. I manage all the emails and relationships with the public. This includes maintaining the website and social networking. I also manage filming with the team, and all the artwork that gets used for NW!
Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
Andrew: Unfortunately way too much of it is spent behind the computer screen and not enough on the actual snow. I would say for the most part, my day is much like that of an avid blogger. I have to stay updated on whats going on, keep in touch with the team and consumers, and manage content. Its always nice to get away on a little film vacation with the team.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Andrew: First email I ever answered. First time I ever stoked a kid out with free stickers. First time I got to ride the NW! product that I helped create.
Countless memories from filming with the team and Run in’s with “The Man”. Promoting NW! Has been really interesting to say the least.
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?
Andrew: I think the biggest challenge to our industry (all industries) is the internet and how we will adapt to it. This is growing to effect us on multiple levels.
It affects brands and retailers.
Should a brand damage their retailer relationships and start selling their own product and compete with their retailers? Giving themselves a higher profit margin but less personal interaction with the consumer? Also with huge online retailers and their competing with brick and mortar shops that are supporting their local skate/snow culture. Where should a brand stand on theses issues?
It affects the media.
With more and more people getting online, print is being endangered. More independent websites that have the gumption to tell the truth like Shayboarder, Buoloco and Angry Snowboarder are popping up. I think many readers are starting to lose faith in the magazines and are wondering if they are reliable sources of information or if they are filtering out things that need to be seen. The cost of running a magazine compared to a website requires webmasters to need much less financial support and therefore less likely to have to pay lip service to companies to stay afloat. How will magazines change to stay relevant in this day in age?
It affects the riders.
With more people being able to film and upload online films that you have to pay for are becoming way less common. This increases the competition for your attention and decreases the value of your average pro to a company. I think the internet will help create more am’s and less super-pro’s. Will brands build more diverse teams or consolidate into one or two super-pro’s?
All of these can be good or bad things depending on how the industry decides to adapt to them.
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Andrew: Neither, the most important things are your ethics, ideas and social skills. As far as knowledge goes you can pick it up before you start (Education) or while your doing it (Experience) as long as you’re humble enough to gain knowledge then you’re good to go.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Andrew: Don’t get involved unless you want to change the industry, theres already 1000’s of complacent people working in the industry who are here purely to make money doing something related to their favorite pastime just because its funner than a regular job. We don’t need any more people who don’t want to change things up. Be creative! Be different! Be revolutionary.
Also, no matter how successful you are, never get a big head, be humble and non-competitive with your peers. It will only get you more respect in the long run.