DUBBMX definitely made a name for themselves the last couple of years. Being an apparel brand in BMX isn’t easy but with a stacked team and the Street Series on their side they are doing a pretty good job. I met Jack (owner DUB) for the first time in Liverpool a few year back. I immediately noticed he loves BMX and he want to give back as much as he can to the people who support him. We were really curious on how everything got started with DUB so we were stoked when Jack found some time to answer the questions below. After you read the interview you will have an absolute clear vision on what DUB stands for as a brand.
When and how did you start riding BMX?
I started riding when I was 13, my friends had BMXs so I got one for xmas.
When you were a child and all those adults would ask you, “And what do you want to be when you grow up?” what did you say?
When I was little I guess I wanted to play for Liverpool! haha
Can you tell us about the jobs you had before you started DUBBMX.
I used to work with my Dad making + delivering furniture from when I was about 12, then at 16 I started working in a Matalan warehouse. I worked there for a few years part time while I was in college, and then in a Spar newsagents, until I went to University in Manchester. While I was there I worked in a pub, and that’s where I started DUB.
Some people went to school some other didn’t, can you tell us about your school experience? Do you think that school is important to start you own company?
I enjoyed school but I used to get in trouble a lot, and I guess I did ok but not as well as the school or my parents expected. I actually went to college + then Univeristy because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and tried to do courses that would help me with design + media type jobs. In the second year I had started DUB + realised that the course was just jumping through hoops and ticking boxes, and I could learn what I needed to know for free from friends or online, rather than paying a fortune to study at Uni, So I left.
How old were you when you started the brand?
It was just before my 20th birthday.
When and where did DUB originally get its start?
I had made a DVD and some edits with my mates and wanted to have a name to put to stuff, so I asked my mate Joe Miller if he wanted to do it with me, and we decided on the name DUB. I bought some tees + we put on a jam, and then after a few months Joe went travelling for a few years and left it to me. It was pretty sick seeing his reaction when he came back and saw how much it had grown.
Thinking of a brand name is always really hard, how did you come up with the brand name: DUBBMX and who designed the logo?
Joe and I were in BCN trying to think of names, I said it should be something that represented reaggae/dub music that we both love, and the chilled attitude we all had to riding. Joe actually came up with the name, and as soon he said it, it stuck. I called Bengo + the lads from Barca and asked them to be involved about 5 minutes later haha.
As for the logo, that was my idea, I drew it in biro on some scrap paper and one of my friends drew it up properly for me.
How did the brand start, what were the first products?
The first thing we made was tees and hoodies, and then some beanies I think. I guess it officially kicked off when we did the first DUBJAM though. I think that’s when people heard about it anyway, the first few months was just passing clothes to mates and stuff.
When did you decide to work on DUB fulltime, was it a hard decision to focus on it full time?
When I moved to Liverpool, I was just buying and selling things to make money, and riding + filming as much as possible, so I basically did DUB full time anyway, but it was a few years until It started making enough to pay for rent + food etc, and I actually registered as a business + saw it as a proper job for the future. The decision to focus o it was easy – I wasn’t walking away from a good career to do it, and it’s my dream job so I jumped right in haha.
With how many persons did you start it and who are working for the company now?
Well the idea to start was with Joe, but he left after just a few months, before we even had a website or anything, so I guess it was just me from the start really. Now, it’s still just me, but I have a few mates who are a really big help. It’s a good feeling knowing you have people who want to be involved + believe in the brand, and don’t even think about trying to make money off us. At the same time though, I’ll be the first to pay whatever they’re rates are when we can afford to! Shout out to Robin, Frenchie, Fred Murray, Fooman, Bakos, Matty Lambert + Creasy who are all helping out in some way at the moment, and everyone else who has helped us for cheap/free/beer in the past!
Since day one DUBBMX has had a sick team, who has been on the team since day one?
The crew from Day 1 was just a few people as I never expected it to grow like it did. After a few months of asking different mates to get involved the crew was Lacey, Benny L, Mike Taylor, Bengo, Millsy, Phil Demattia, Fooman, Ditchburn, Nailz, Gez + Cookie.
Now the DUB team is worldwide; can you tell us who are on the team and does the team have any layers?
Lacey, Benny L, Mike Taylor, Bengo, Phil Demattia, Millsy + Fooman all still rep, although Phil, Bengo + Millsy work a lot now and don’t ride so much, and Fooman is now a legit BMX photographer and not so much of a rail killer. We also added some younger riders locally who we’re mates with, like Josh Roberts, Ollie Evans, Sam Jones, James Alcock, James Curry + Joe Jarvis.
Worlwide we have a ton of people, all people that either I or one of the OG riders is mates with, we think it’s important to keep it as a group of mates, and it creates a sick family vibe! We currently have Bruno Hoffmann, Diogo Santos, David Grant, Tony Malouf, Charlie Crumlish, Anthony Perrin, Fernando Laczko, Filipakkos, Marnold and Sam Waters.
We don’t bother with “Pro” and “Flow” and all that shit, we have the UK guys, International troops and then we have our “family” which is made up of creative people with photographers like Fred Murray + Fooman and DJs/Producers like Disorda + Sample Wilson.
Thing went really good with the brand so you decided to open a store in Liverpool called The Loot. How did you come up with that idea and why weren’t you able to keep it open?
The store was nothing to do with the success of the brand, and the brand was still relaltivley small back then, but I had always wanted to open a store in Liverpool since I moved here, because the scene is so sick and there’s no legit BMX only shops. I couldn’t keep it open because I was losing money, I ended up closing with a huge debt to pay back, but I wanted to make sure I did everything I could before I walked away from it. I think running a solely BMX store, while selling tubes for £2 and offering free repairs is a very hard thing to do haha. I didn’t want to be one of those shops that riders resent for ripping them off for using tools or charging £5 for tubes, and I chose to close instead of becoming one of those stores, or having to branch out into selling stuff I had no interest in, just to make money.
You made some pretty dope items in collaboration with other companies, could you sum up all the collabs you did and what is the one you’ve been the most stoked on?
We’ve been lucky to do colabs with some sick brands! We did stuff with Federal, Skavenger, Shadow and Joe-Tek on parts, and Orange Juice, Marie Jade and OSS on clothing. I would have to say the Federal Frame is the one I was most happy with, because I got to design the frame from scratch and I never thought I would get that opportunity, not being a pro rider, and I still get hyped every time I see someone riding one!
What do you think of the whole weed smoking image that DUB has been carrying over the years? Do you feel the same way about the vision of the brand?
I never really thought of it as an “image” in the early days, we literally made stuff we liked and didn’t think anyone else noticed or cared… It’s something that I do, and a lot of team do, we don’t encourage anyone else to do it, and I respect everyone who chooses not to, the same way that some of the crew don’t drink, and everyone respects that. I’ll never let anyone lead the younger lads astray either, I wouldn’t want anyone to feel like they just had to smoke to fit in haha. Obviously over the years I’ve come to appreciate how people see the brand more, and although we still make shirts that are influenced by blazing (as do a ton of brands) we do try to make more stuff with no reference/links to that side of things.
How can you describe the DUB, what makes you different than all the other clothing companies out there?
I don’t know! I still see it as a group of mates making videos + selling shirts from my bedroom… Maybe the difference is we aren’t trying too hard, and just doing what we do haha.
Do you think that things need to change in BMX in order for small clothing companies to keep going? If so, what?
I think that more riders should support legit rider owned BMX brands/crews. I cant fault the support we’ve had for DUB, but If more riders bought from these brands instead of skate brands etc, the brands would grow, and be able to offer better product, and would eventually make stuff just as sick as any skate brand does! This goes for shops too, it’s amazing how many stores cant be bothered to stock small clothing brands. The shops who do stock it do pretty well off it, and we send stuf from our site to places right by shops that don’t stock us, and they could be making those sales.
What is the best thing about having your own business?
Being able to chill with my dog all day while I work, and take sunny days off to ride + catch up later haha.
What is a normal day for you?
Wake up, walk the dog, eat, then start work. Pack and send any orders, answer e-mails and then get started to my to-do list. I add more to the list than I tick off everyday so it’s endless! I’ll try and ride In the afternoon if there’s people about, and then in the evening I’ll carry on with work. Usually there’s people at the house chilling, most of the time in my office… It’s takes a lot longer to get stuff done but it keeps me from getting bored! Haha.
What qualities are necessary to establish a successful business in your opinion?
Persistence. There’s a lot of stress, and a lot of ups and downs, and if I had done the “sensible” thing or listened to some people, I would have walked away on a few different occasions and got a “proper” job. I’d say you need to be able to wing it too, and learn stuff as you go. I’ve had to learn a bunch of stuff I never thought I’d do – accounting being the worst of the lot!
If you had the chance to start all over again, would you do something different?
Of course! I didn’t know a thing about running a brand, selling internationally etc when I started so I’m sure I’ve made plenty of mistakes I could avoid if I started again. But you live and learn, and you don’t get second chances so you just have to crack on.
One question about the future: Do you have any news about new project/products you can tell us about?
We have a ton of new product coming out, including new stuff like Jackets, button ups, bags etc that we haven’t made before, and plenty more cut and sew stuff that we’ve started making in the last few years.
What are your goals for the long term with DUB?
Just to keep doing what we do, riding, filming, making new stuff and having a good time. If it grows then I’d love to be able to start paying for trips for all the crew, and if It doesn’t grow, I’m more than happy anyway.
What do you want to say to all the new BMX pioneers who are thinking of starting their own business?
Do it! It’s very rewarding, and even if it doesn’t go anywhere you’ll still have a good time working on something with your mates! Please just don’t copy us! haha