Vans – Still “Off The Wall” After All These Years!
One in a series of Surfrider Foundation Sponsor Stories
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Everyone’s picking out swimwear this time of year, but there’s something else to put on our lists – summer sneakers. And no one does sneakers like Surfrider Foundation sponsor Vans.
SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel got to tour Van’s headquarters in Cypress, CA recently and couldn’t believe how much fun it would be to work there.
With people zooming around on skateboards and bikes there’s always something going on. And, where else would you find an indoor skatepark to test your latest moves?
Vans Cali Bro Tour team scopes out Vans Headquarters
Jenny Lamott, Manager of Corporate Services, and Chris Overholser, Senior Communicatons Manager, were excited to tell Vans’ story and show the inner-workings of Vans’ 104,000-square-foot creative hub and command center.
Lamott started her tour of the facilities by taking SurfWriter Girls to see Vans’ “Timeline” mural depicting the evolution of Vans and its products over the years.
Then it was on to the Vans “mock store” – a retail set-up that looks just like a store you’d see in a mall. “This is where we test the merchandise mix and see how it will display in the actual stores,” said Lamott.
When it comes to developing new products, Vans is always looking for the next thing …and it’s essential to plan ahead. Lamott explained, “Vans has an 18-month lead time from when the designers put pen to paper to when the shoes come out.”
Since 1966, when Vans sold its first pair of deck shoes, the Cypress-based company has expanded to the point that it now makes shoes, sandals and boots for practically every sport or activity – street, skate, surf or snow. Vans has styles for skateboarding, wakeboarding, motocross, surfing, and more.
Its rugged shoes and sticky soles made them an instant hit with skateboarders. And the 1982 Sean Penn movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High helped Vans to branch out in the marketplace, turning Penn’s checkerboard shoes into must-have footwear.
Vans’ familiar, low-top Authentic shoes come in colors from Scuba Blue to Chili Pepper Red and even leopard prints.
And, the latest shoes to come on board are the ones in Vans’ new Hello Kitty Collection.
Hello Kitty takes Vans over
For something truly unique, guys can go to Vans website page “Create Your Own Boardshorts.” This lets you choose the style, trim, pattern and colors you want for a custom look that’s just a click away.
A strong supporter of the Surfrider Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter, Vans has sponsored beach cleanups and donated its resources to help protect the environment.
“Vans’ people are passionate about sports. The oceans and mountains are our playgrounds,” said Overholser. “We want to make sure the environment is there for future generations to enjoy. So, it makes sense for us to get behind groups that help the environment.”
Vans’ manufacturing methods and products are in tune with the Surfrider Foundation’s conservation goal to “reduce, reuse and recycle.” A member of the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA), Vans is also part of The Sustainability Collective.
Vans is continually developing methods that enable it to leave a smaller eco-footprint and is active in promoting “pesticide-free, green living.” Its 106 SF classic après-surf sneaker features uppers made from hemp or recycled PET and water-based dyes and glues that are gentler on the environment.
There’s even a new “cradle-to-cradle” sandal – made out of recycled rubber, the sandal can be recycled again after it wears out to make new sandals.
On Vans Gives Back Day, held twice a year, the company focuses on the environment and giving back to the community.
Vans does about 100 cleanups a year across the U.S. “Working with Surfrider has been a great experience for us,” said Overholser. “We’ve enjoyed taking part in the beach cleanups. It makes us aware of the trash that accumulates and needs to be removed.”
Vans also sponsors many skate-related events. One of these, A.Skate, utilizes skateboards to help autistic kids. And on Go Skateboard Day, at Vans Skatepark at The Block in Orange, Vans opens up the skatepark for free and gives lessons to everyone..
Vans Skatepark at The Block in Orange, CA
Vans is involved in the arts, too, sponsoring its Vans Warped Tour this summer, FYF House Parties concert events and the 2012 FYF Fest in Downtown Los Angeles, September 1 & 2 .
With its headquarters in Cypress, Vans is just a quick trip away from the beach or mountains, making it easy to test its innovative shoes and sportswear.
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