What exactly is Empire?
I know I have been a little vague, and I still want to keep it a bit nebulous, but we’re starting off the season by making gloves. There it is, that is the official word. We do have a lot of things going on… we are going to be doing some collaborative stuff soon. We’re going have tee shirts, hats and bandanas, but gloves are the main focus. Empire’s first product will be gloves.
So what made you start Empire now? It seems like you have a lot on your plate.
I figured it’s the right time. I have been talking to people within the industry and learning a ton, getting interested in the business aspect of the industry and I’ve always wanted to get into different endeavors. I know I won’t be around forever as an athlete, and this is a perfect opportunity to do something positive within the industry that given so much to me. Empire is a great opportunity to start my foray into the business aspect of the sport.
Will you have a pretty small team, or just flow your product everywhere?
It’s a pretty tight crew consisting of Peter Olenick, Jossi Wells and Colby West. We recently picked up Candide, which is huge. These guys back the program and I want to support them, so that is the team for the first year. These four guys, along with myself, are the guys that will have a lot of say in the company. If any of them come to me with an idea, we’re going to do it. There are kids out there that I want to help represent with the brand. If these are kids dig my gloves and are pretty legit, we’ll get them on a flow program. Even though my team is pretty set, I still want to see the brand grow through flow programs. I’d like to get the product and the brand out there as much as I can, I think it’ll be sick.
How many models of gloves can we expect to see?
This year, my plan is to let Candide do his thing with the mitten. He loves mittens and he kills it, so that will be his project. I designed a medium glove. I am making it as thin as possible — a bit thicker than a pipe glove — yet keeping it warm and mobile. There will also be a golf style, type glove. I think people will be into tighter, leather style glove, you know?
When can we expect to see product?
The first product should be at Icer Air this weekend. The gloves are being shipped to San Francisco, so hopefully people will have them for Friday’s practice or at least Saturday’s competition.
Where can people go to find out about more information on Empire?
Right now, the web site isn’t going as smoothly as I’d like. It’s empireattire.com, and will hopefully be up on Tuesday. It won’t be the full site, but people can go there to check out different things and get more of an idea of what we’re about. There will also be a blog site coming soon, bringing news from all the company and the athletes, including video starting with the King Of Style competition later this month. There is a link from my website, simon-dumont.com to all of this.