Bonfire has been around since 1989 founded by snowboarder Brad Steward. Since the early 90’s Bonfire has been seen on some of the best-loved riders including David Benedek, Matt Goodwill, Jim Moran, Matt Donahue, Jamie Nicholls, Bobby Meeks, Chris Roach, Jake Blattner, Jason Ford, Josh Dirksen, Annie Boulanger, Chad Otterstriom, Bode Merril, Werni Stock and many more. Now 30 years old, Bonfire has always been synonymous with its ultra tech fabrics and technical features and has consistently maintained an image that attracts riders of all ages and riding styles and remains one of the biggest brands in snowboarding.
Bonfire started out from humble beginnings selling t-shirts out of a garage in Huntington Beach, did you image at the time that it would eventually grow into such a well-known and respected company?
It wasn’t anything that was imagined, but definitely always the goal to be a well-known and respected company. That was how the brand started, from a desire to make something awesome that would stand the test of time, and- that’s where we are today.
30 years in business is a long time, what are the biggest changes you have seen and what is the key to Bonfire’s success?
The industry itself has been the biggest change. It’s gone through a lot; from technical advances, to changes in trends, to fluctuations in demand and exposure to the mainstream. Being able to last through all of that is a testament to being a brand and a company that stays true to itself. You can’t last 30 years in business without having a message that people connect with, and that’s probably been Bonfire’s biggest asset. It’s about being committed to the lifestyle, to snowboarding, to getting out every day you can. People relate to that, they identify with us and what we’re trying to do – that’s what’s kept us going.
I’ve always seen Bonfire as a brand that doesn’t seem to follow any crazy trends or fads but consistently puts out well thought out collections that can appeal to many people. Would you say that is true?
Yeah, we would definitely agree with that. Bonfire isn’t flashy, it shows up to get the job done. It’s a brand you can count on that’ll set you up right and also not cost you an arm and a leg. Getting caught up in a trend will get you weird places, and we prefer staying true to what we know, which is snowboarding. We’re always taking input from our riders on the outerwear and what we’re doing. Following trends is one thing, making improvements on product based on feedback and needs is another. Sometimes trends line up with it, other times they don’t, and either way- we’re OK with it.
Bonfire has always produced some of the most technically advanced clothing around, why have you taken this approach instead of producing coach jackets and streetwear?
There’s a time and a place for a coaches jacket and streetwear, but it isn’t the time or place that Bonfire is. We know you can get something like that anywhere, we want to make something that you know is uniquely Bonfire. You also can’t trust that coaches jacket to do anything technical and let’s face it- snowboarding is a sport based on weather, so if you’re outside in the elements all day, don’t you want something made to function well in varying conditions? We think so.
Bonfire has always had an impressive pro team, how important do you think a team is in this social media age, are team riders as important as they once were?
Riders are 100% as important as they once were. The things that a brand might be asking them to do as part of a team might be different from the pre-social media days, but a brand absolutely needs a team. The team represents a brand to the people. It’s that personal connection that we can’t get, and we want our voice to be one of talented riders who are consistently out in the elements putting our gear to work. We’re proud of our riders and get stoked every day to check Instagram, or Facebook, or get a text – whatever; and see what they’re up to and where they’re putting our gear to the test.
What can we expect from Bonfire in the next 5 years?
A lot; you can expect to see a lot. We’re hard at work in so many areas- from the product, to events, to our team; you can expect to see us in the mountains, at your local shop or on-hill with a new event. Keep your bar of expectations high, because we plan on overshooting it.
To find out more about Bonfire, head over to their website here.