Sometimes you see new brands popping up in videos without even knowing of it’s existence. This could be us lacking on inside information in snowboarding or the countries we live in are not distributing with these brands at all.. or maybe they try but on a very local scale. One of these brands we’ve been seeing in recent videos and being hyped on the other side of the pond is Stinky Socks. We wanted to know more about this Bulgarian based brand, who else other than one of the founders Risto Petkov could tell us more.
Risto tell us more, what’s the deal with Stinky Socks?
I don’t know, back in the days we decided to start a company we just thought that socks would be sick and the first thing that came on our mind was stinky. We didn’t put any thoughts on how to name it, just happened.
It’s actually me, my brother Dimo, he’s the one responsible for the designs and videos we release. And than we have my girlfriend Iva, she’s doing the creative stuff like working with designers, factories and webdevelopers.
So that’s basically it or is the Stinky family way more than that?
Dimo, Eva and I are just the three that started the brand. Than we have… actually everyone out there helping us out and everybody that’s backing us.
Part of the Stinky Family: Mark Goodall cruising this ‘lots of kinkers’ . P:Mihail Novakov
How the hell on earth did you came up to start a sock company?
Oh dude that’s a long story though but I’m gonna go shorter. My brother and I come from an Bulgarian snowboard crew: Ninja squad. We started it back in the days, 12 years ago in 2002. Basically the idea was to hang out with friends and go out snowboarding and even do stuff different than snowboarding like partying, going out and having fun. So we spend 12 years with the Ninja squad. At some point some of our dudes got better in snowboarding and even got sponsored and stuff like that. But you know; when you get sponsored it’s good because you get free gear but on the other side they expect you to do stuff. Sponsors start asking to put that orange jacket on because you have to be seen and wear those baggy pants because that’s the trend right now. We didn’t like that so we said fuck it.. we need to do something for ourselves. That said we started doing Ashbury and Airblaster, distributing for it in Bulgaria about 6 years ago. Things went good for us when we started pushing the brands and enjoying what we do. It was us and nobody saying what to do. When working with these brands it seemed fun to have our own company too so I did the research, spend a month researching and figured out what we should do. Suddenly I had the idea to make socks cause nobody is making them.
A couple of weeks ago it was 3 years back since we started Stinky, this is going to be the fourth winter. I was checking my emails from back then to see how we actually started. It was in August that I dove in the sock industry to see who else out there was making socks. It was only Stance, they were the only brand strictly making socks. They had about 10 pairs at then so still pretty small. I knew that’s was what we’re going to do. I actually found the email I send to my friends telling ‘m: “Guys we need to make socks”. By the end of November the same year we had our first samples.
So it was a good feeling, not really a business plan. Felt good, be different..
And is it working out now?
Yeah I guess, you tell me?
Well that’s actually where I was going to. We haven’t seen Stinky in Europe that much. It’s pretty much on the other side of the pond. Canada, US.. Are those countries your main focus or just happened to be?
It just happened to be I think. I don’t really know. We’re always stoked on what’s happening there. People there started to back us pretty much and now we have pretty good guys on the family. Somehow everybody got stoked. Didn’t do anything special though. I didn’t knew most of the dudes before we started Stinky. It just happened they came to us via some else that was already on Stinky. Yeah it’s happening I think.
Im stoked on the Stinky Family. I’m the happiest person right now. Having a chance to meet awesome guys that I looked up to back in the days and now they are being part of what we do, and backing Stinky up. Nick Dirks, Erik Leon, Austin Young and many more.. Austin is a cool kid! The funny story about Austin Young is that a couple of years ago we had a Christmas session and I was checking my email and got this e-mail from Austin. He asked me if I was stoked to get him on the Family.. hell yeah! I pretty much have the best team a sock company could think of. So stoked.
Austin Young locks with his Stinky Socks. P: Erik Ralles
Any plans for Europe?
We start picking up Europe right now. This year we finally had some solid distribution in a couple of European countries. Trying to get more countries on it. I’m stoked on what’s happening in Europe. Some good videos coming out.. especially the guys from Joegoslavia; Yugo First crew. Those guys are dope. For sure Im going to try something big in Europe.
Talking about Eastern Europe scene, what’s the scene like in Bulgaria?
It’s pretty small and tight, it’s not big at all but a lot of people are snowboarding tourist way. The core is not more than 40-50 people. Recently we got to get some new parks in the resorts which is a good thing. 4 years ago nothing happened so it’s starting. I hope the kids are getting more into snowboarding now.
And buy a lot of socks?
Yeah hopefully! But yeah I’m stoked about snowboarding in Bulgaria, we’re doing good. It’s not the best economy and people are pretty poor but they still find ways to snowboard.
That’s the spirit! Feeling anything about the ‘crisis’?
Oh yeah, yeah.. it is pretty bad here. Especially in snowboarding. Shops are closing, distributions are canceling orders and stuff like that. It’s a small market and small business and when you get small business you don’t get to invest a lot. That’s bad I think.
Does that affect your plans for the future of Stinky or didn’t you guys plan anything?
Stinky should be inspiring people in Bulgaria. Not selling them and making money out of ‘m. So it doesn’t really affect us because our market is pretty much out side Bulgaria. We’re not in a bad situation at all.
So giving the kids inspiration, huh?
That’s the mission for Bulgaria and actually for everyone out there. Get people to do cool stuff and maybe somehow hopefully let ‘m understand what snowboarding is about.
Which parts in snowboarding would you rather not let ‘m know?
I definitely could say that we’re not in competitions like FIS where you just sit on the ramp for a bunch of hours to drop in and do a back10 because they have to see it. I mean if the competition is about creative and expressing yourself it’s a different story. That’s what I like in snowboarding. You can express yourself and being creative. You can go on the streets or stick to the slopes and do whatever you like. I guess everyone on the board is doing it for that. Even guys that are riding fis competitions. They still have fun.
Isn’t that cliché?
Ohh and I really hate matching outfits. Such a lack of creativity!
Might be cliché but we’re pretty sure there’s tons of snowboarders sharing this opinion.
Something different: How does the ultimate sock for you look like?
Shitt… I don’t know. Should be like… uhh probably the one I have good memories with. To be completely honest I don’t own a lot of socks. I just like to use my old socks, they just remind me. Nah Socks should feel comfortable at what you do.
What’s it going to be in the future?
For now I want to focus on the socks. It’s fun doing it and once you focus on something you should keep the same direction. I’m not a big fan of making shirts, beanies and stuff like that so it’s gonna be socks for sure.
So if we want a Stinky beanie we just need to buy a bigger sock?
Hahaha, yeah! Or try to fit the ones that you already have.. stretch it a bit.
Haha.. Any new things?
This new thing what I’m stoked about right now is that we’re working on some new collabs for next season. All of our crews are gonna have their own design. Pretty pumped about that! We have the Gremlinz right now, gonna do a Strange Brew, Yawgoons, Trash league and the big surprise is a collab with the Trollhaugen park.
With that comes a fun anecdote: Six months ago I was facetiming Austin Young and we were just talking. I told him I wanted to do something together I wanted him to get more involved in to Stinky, maybe a design of a sock or something. Austin was like: ‘Let’s do a Trollhaugen sock.’ I couldn’t be more stoked. He immediately called the Trollhaugen manager and after 4 hours we got the complete Trollhaugen sock.
Oh and we’re gonna have a Ninja Squad sock too. Almost forgot.
So good man. May the future bring you a lot of dirty socks. Any last famous words before we disconnect?
Shout out to the Stinky Family and Ninja Squad, those guys are the shit I’m a huge fan of all of them!
More at: http://stinkyfamily.com/