By Robb Bailey
The Ryde is a lifestyle t-shirt brand out of Dana Point, that focuses on art and fun, rather than branding. You don’t have to look very hard to notice that the classic beach lifestyle runs thick in the veins of their designs. Being fashionable and having fun is what The Ryde is all about. Makes sense, their motto is: “We make the shirts that make you smile.”
Circa 2002, when the rest of the action sports industry was mired in logo based designs, The Ryde set out to create a brand built around engaging, artistic designs. Great art and clever concepts are what separate The Ryde from the scores of other surf clothing companies outfitting today’s shoppers. According to owner Mike Figueroa, The Ryde’s clothing caters to good-humored, laid-back individuals.
“We have a t-shirt for everybody, even though most of our designs are surf-related. All of our art-driven tees also do really well, especially among music lovers and college kids, and anybody who loves the SoCal lifestyle. That’s been the difference in our success.”
Very few pieces in the line carry a prominent logo in the design. Instead, The Ryde implements line-art designs that capture classic surf maneuvers, or subtle tag lines such as “Live to Surf”, “I Surf Small Waves”, and “Keep Surfing”. They take a more classic approach to clothing design that embodies the feel of the sixties and seventies. Most of their line can be summed up as a retro-surf based, giving off the ˜not-trying-too-hard’ vibe that has been very well received by the core surfing community.
Surfer Magazine’s Art Director, Matt Allen, is the artist behind The Ryde’s designs. Mike Figueroa’s business know-how and creative force make up the other half of the brand that has been going strong for 5 years now. Together they have built a successful small business whose product strikes home with surfers all over the world.
The Ryde entered 2007 with more than 200 hundred shops on four continents and continues to grow its list, but the most noticeable movement is in its online sales. In less than one year The Ryde’s online sales provided enough revenue to secure a bigger warehouse, increase staff, and create more great designs.
This changed the company’s business model, focusing on direct sales to online customers, while still servicing a handful of great surf shops. Figueroa comments on the website’s success, “We have more independence now, which allows us to do two things: listen to our customer’s needs directly through our website, and service shops better. Now we know what people are asking for because they tell us directly online.”
People have been telling them over and over again that they love what The Ryde is doing. Repeat customers are vocal about their love for the brand. An excerpt from The Ryde’s online blog section:
Customer Jaime Becktel Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 8:44 am
You know what I like about you guys? You’re stuff is positive and it’s light and it helps me to get over the significance I place on looking good in life! In this world of image driven craziness, (especially within the surfing industry) your playfulness is so refreshing. Thank you for celebrating the little things, like men named Juan, burritos and timeless classics like the Pac Man font! Keep on being creative, playful and just what the world needs in a good t-shirt!
The Ryde has solidified some prime floorspace in each of South Coast’s locations to feature their latest line of shirts and hoodies.
Visit any of South Coast’s locations to pick up their stuff, Or see their entire catalog online at TheRyde.com