DC Shoes, Inc. is a company that provides top quality footwear for extreme sports like skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, motocross, rally car racing and BMX. They also sell apparel (shirts, pants, shorts, jeans, hats, backpacks, and jackets), as well as accessories. They were able to achieve national success with help from the increased interest of skateboarding in the 1990s. Through a few name changes, incorporations and sales of brand lines, DC has come out as the company it is today and as one of the top action sports brand names around.
Since the beginning, DC Shoes has had a commitment to maintain deep excellence as the company develops. They essentially got started in 1989 with a snowboarder who was designing a line of T-shirts with screen-printing called Eightball. His name was Ken Block, a 22 year old who was going to school at Palomar Community College for computer design.
While he was in college in California, he met up with Damon Way, a skateboarder, who helped Ken sell his shirts to retail stores. Damon had a brother, Danny Way, who would become the first professional skateboarder to support his clothing line. The unique designs that he fashioned immediately became a hit with skate shops. Ken Block had initially started out with a $10,000 loan, which he had received from his parents to start off his business. He managed to get Clay Blehm, who was an unemployed accountant at the time, to become their chief financial officer.
Since the company was experiencing so much success with the Eightball line, they decided to market the “Droors” brand of jeans. In 1993, the company had to changed its name to Circus Distribution, Inc. after someone had claimed ownership of Eightball. In their very first year, they managed to bring in an amazing $1.5 million in revenue. The DC Shoes footwear line was launched in 1994 by Danny Way. They went to some of the bigger companies like Etnies and Vans to manufacture shoes for them. They eventually decided to sign with a Korean business called the Samil Tong Sang Company to manufacture the shoes outside of the United States. It was in 1997 that the company fully took on the DC name. Two of its brands, Droors and Dubs were sold and since the company was well known as Droors Clothing Shoes it was renamed to DC Shoes, Inc.
The Dub brand of shoes was introduced in 1994, which was designed to be an outerwear for snowboarders that were weatherproof. They expanded into the snowboarding market because half of all skateboarders also snowboarded. DC Shoes had assumed the title of the first skateboard shoe brand to use a large amount of professional endorsement. The eight pro skateboarders on the DC team went on a world tour in 1997 and by the end of the year surf and motocross teams were assembled. The DC company was able to gain an enormous amount of coverage from their promotional events, which were organized with the objective of showing off the talents of their professional athletes.
The X Games also helped to popularize the shoes. By 1999, DC had their first television advertisements and a line of shoes for children followed. Counterfeiters were hurting their revenue, and in 2000, settled a lawsuit and closed down the dealers. Billabong, the Australian surfboard company, tried to buy DC in 2002, but the deal was never completed. Quiksilver was the lucky company that ended up buying them in 2004 for $87 million, and they began to offer a clothing line for girls. They have since opened the DC Mountain Lab, which is the first research facility for snowboarding products that is privately owned. Then in September 2009, Quiksilver brought in Anton Nistl to become the new president of DC Shoes.
Currently DC Shoes sponsors some of the biggest professional athletes in each of their respective sports, such as skateboarder Rob Dyrdek who helped build the Dyrdek/DC Shoes skate park in Kettering, Ohio in 2003. The same year, DC had released their first movie, DC Video, which showed off the talents of skateboarding professionals. Other members of the DC Skate team are: Char Ortiz, Danny Way and PJ Ladd. Dave Mirra is a member of the DC BMX team.
The Motocross team consists of Travis Pastrana, Nate Adams, and Ricky Carmichael. Their snowboard team includes heavy hitters like Travis Rice, Devun Walsh, Iikka Backstrom and Eddie Wall. And their surf team has Bruce Irons, Dane Reynolds and Ry Craike. At the moment, DC is sponsoring the Journey’s Backyard BBQ Tour which has visited places like Atlanta, Georgia, and Orlando, Florida. Another show that they have sponsored is Sno-cure, which is an alternative rock and metal musical festival. DC also sponsored, along with Quiksilver, the ESPN Winter X Games.
With their sponsorship of athletes and events they are trying to create skater friendly environments. DC Shoes’ products are available for men, women, boys, girls and children. All kinds of clothing is available at DC, from jackets, to board shorts and tank tops, along with bags, purses, key chains, socks and even stickers. DC also has a long list of collections available from Fantasy Factory, Nitro Circus, Rob Drydek, and Life Collections just to name a few. Ken Block also has his own line of auto/car/motosports apparel which includes hats, shirts, jackets, and shoes.