Tempest: What a New Brand Has to Offer For the 904

Metro Jacksonville’s Kristen Pickrell interviews one of Tempest Clothing’s founders, Colby Nickell, to learn why he’s trying to bring it to Jacksonville and what it could mean for the beach scene.

Published September 23, 2015 in Culture - MetroJacksonville.com

The following responses are a result of a brief Q&A session with Colby Nickell, one of three founding “groms” of Tempest Clothing Co.

A new resident to Jacksonville, 18 year old Colby Nickell came here with the intention of doing more than just getting his college degree. An avid surfer, and one who has had many successes in the surfing world, Nickell was drawn to the beach scene here, having spent his life just two hours south in Cocoa Beach. He’s now ready to experience what the Jacksonville surf scene has to offer—a scene he hopes to change with the introduction of his new line, Tempest Clothing Co.

Tell me a little bit about Tempest. Where and why did it start up?

Tempest Clothing originated about 3 months ago, with owners Kody Brown, Noah Birch, and myself. We also have our rad ambassadors, who are part of the Tempest family. Their role is to spread the word about us and rep our brand wherever they may go. Tempest, in the dictionary, means a "violent windy storm." This "violent storm," gains its energy from the ocean. We at Tempest harness that same energy through being in the ocean as well.

Where did the idea to open up a line come from?

The idea of tempest came from us really wanting to have a company that sponsors young "groms" (young surfers) and give back to the people to those who aren’t as fortunate. Due to some financial issues, we won’t really start building up our team until early 2016. As of now, though, we already have some serious surfers/athletes that make up our Tempest Team.  We recently held our "Grand Opening" beach party and surf contest down in Satellite Beach, where we were totally slammed with customers and participants.  

Tell me a little bit about the company's roots and successes in Cocoa Beach.

We are rooted by the humble vibe that makes up the Cocoa Beach area. I grew up trying to prove myself as a respected surfer at The Cocoa beach Pier, and I wanted to gain further respect, as well as expand my love for surfing, by making a clothing company. The local support here in Jacksonville has been beyond amazing, and I know for certain that  we would not even be a company if it wasn't for our local support, both here and in cocoa Beach.

How do you plan to expand in Jacksonville?

 I plan to expand into Jacksonville by focusing on getting recognized by the local surfers around here. The surfing talent is huge here, and with talent often comes amazing social media presence, which is an opportunity to get our name out there. UNF is also a great outlet for young people and their understanding of the importance of supporting local businesses. I have sold some shirts to quite a few people around even just my dorm in the few weeks I have been here.

What sorts of marketing techniques are you using?

Our marketing technique is simple: appeal to the youth, mostly through social media outlets, as much as possible. This whole social media realm that we were basically born in to at a young age really makes us vulnerable to advertisements kids see everywhere. We want Tempest Clothing to be one of these advertisements, but come across as a company that wants more than money; a company that just wants to spread some happiness and some good vibes.  Along this train of thought, we plan to make a clothing drive for the struggling families in Puerto Rico this summer, and hope to visit, too. We are currently looking for any sponsors or events we can get to make this drive and trip successful.

Colby Nickell

What is special about Tempest that sets it apart from other big companies, like Billabong or Quiksilver?

Tempest is different insofar as the way we started up, and what our driving forces have been. For me, I am only eighteen, and to me, it seemed like the only next, logical step to get known in this industry was to create a clothing line.. To think we started with less money than a high end surfboard is worth, and we somehow managed to prove ourselves as a legitimate contender for sponsoring the top grom surfers, is amazing.

What products do you currently make and sell?

The products we make are shirts, bracelets, coozies, and stickers. When we establish a sufficient capital, we are full force on expanding into board-shorts, bikinis, hats, and all other items of clothing.

What does Tempest hope to accomplish in the next five years?

In the next five years, we plan to fully expand into a recognizable, outdoor brand with numerous products that appeal to all types of people. We have our clothing line in WindanSea Boardshop in Cocoa Beach, which is owned by Erik Thomas, a good friend of mine and also a board-shaping mentor. He has really helped me progress as a surfboard shaper, and I am humbled I have my line in his shop. Since I have experience in board-shaping, I am also hopeful that I can create a board line at Tempest. We are also hoping to get some “managers” of the company; people that will pay a percentage of expenses, and make that percentage back in return profit. Basically, our vision is like every other entrepreneur’s--- expand, expand, expand

Does Tempest support any local vendors or charities?

In terms of charities, we have plans in the next year to sponsor the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Walk to Cure Event held in Cocoa beach every March. My brother has Type I and, just like everybody else who is affected, is aimlessly waiting around for a cure. My mom, Sherri, is a huge advocate for the JDRF and has been on their board of committee for quite some time. We at Tempest also plan to start a fundraiser to acquire funds and materials to donate clothes to families in Puerto Rico. We will hopefully start the funding, and social media awareness in December, and then plan to leave to go to Puerto Rico in June.

If there is anything else about the company you find relevant or wish to share?

T Moving up to Jax is only the start of where I may go next. So many doors are opening in the surfing industry that it’s hard to remember where I came from sometimes. Tempest really helps me stay rooted in my hometown of Cocoa Beach, and makes me remember who helped me start my career. Biggest thanks to my loving mom and dad who never gave up on what I had planned in my life.

For more information about our company, you can visit our website: www.tempestclothingco.com
You can also follow my Instagram, surf4earth, and Tempest’s, tempestclothingco.

Interview by Kristen Pickrell.

This article can be found at: https://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-sep-tempest-what-a-new-brand-has-to-offer-for-the-904

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