History of Volcom

Home/Portal/Brands/Brand History/History of Volcom

Volcom is a designer, marketer and a distributor of young men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories, all of which are based around snowboarding, skateboarding, and surfing.  It was founded by Richard “Wooly” Woolcott and Tucker “T-Dawg” Hall in 1991. Volcom is now based out of Costa Mesa, Calif., but originally Richard’s bedroom served at the headquarters to the company, while Tucker’s room was where all the sales were ran out of.

The original idea to start a clothing company was a product of an insane snowboarding trip. With more than a week of getting two feet of fresh pow every day at Tahoe Richard finally quit his job after making excuses to miss work the whole time, and Tucker had already been laid off before they went out. It was in the spring that the two actually took action to start the company and got $5,000 from Richards’s father.

The guys wanted their company to be centered on their favorite sports, snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding. Richard and Tucker came up with the name Volcom first and then the stone for the logo. They wanted to support young creative thinking in their company, and because it was a major philosophy at the time, they came up with the slogan “Youth Against Establishment.”Although they ended up doing more traveling with friends than business, they still managed to make $2,600 in sales during their first year.

Once the company began to grow, they started to expand their stores.  By December 2007 they had 10 stores in the United States, and nine more globally and their product can be found almost anywhere now.  Their stores outside the U.S. are in places like Kuto, Indonesia, Tokyo, Japan, Hossegor, France and as far south as Durban, South Africa.  Volcom stores are said to have the perfect blend of amazing customer service mixed with a “rockin’ good time. Volcom continued to expand in 2008 when they bought Electric Visual Evolution, a sunglasses company, for $25.25 million.

Volcom has also expanded into other areas like art, music, film and sponsoring athletes. In 1995 the idea for a ‘Featured Artist’ product came about. This would allow aspiring artists to put themselves out there for the world to see. It includes clothing, belts, hats, wallets, board-shorts, sweatshirts and knit shirts. A few of the artists that have been represented in this line are people like Marty Jiminez, Mike Mailman, Neil Clemmons Harrison and Carl Smith.

Volcom also has their own record label called Volcom Entertainment. This includes bands such as Valient Thorr, Single Frame, and Goons of Doom.  There are dozens of shows and tours that are held all over the United States every year that Volcom organizes to promote these bands. Volcom sponsored the Warped Tour for many years, but in 2007 they decided to hold their own events for members of their record label.  Music isn’t the only form of entertainment that Volcom has to offer.

They have released over a dozen movies over the years.  Some of the more recent ones have been Dawn of the Stone Age, Lets Live, and Escramble Download Project. Except for Dawn of the Stone Age, which is an animated motion picture, these are videos featuring Volcom’s sponsored pro riders in snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding.

Volcom is highly invested in their athletes and does what they can for the advancement of each sport through their support of their riders. Some of the professional skateboarders that are currently being sponsored by Volcom are: Geoff Rowley, Rune Glifberg, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkings and Thomas Danesi.  On the surf scene there is Claire Belvilacqua, Bruce Irons and Ezekiel Lau.  And for snowboarding: Gigi Ruf, Terje Haakonsen, and Markus Keller.

Let the Kids Ride Free (L.T.K.R.F) is a grassroots effort created by Volcom that organizes free snowboarding, skateboarding, and surfing competitions at the local, national, and international levels.  Kids of all ages are welcomed to attend to express themselves and their talents. At the competitions the kids are provided with free food and they are sure to be sent home with a ton of free products. The purpose of L.T.K.R.F. is to allow kids to enjoy the competition environment without the fees, rules and restrictions. It is also meant to create a friendlier atmosphere in the world of competition, which can sometimes get lost in normal competition because of what is at stake.

Who would have imaged that those two guys on a snowboarding trip would have created a company that would eventually turn into one of the leading names in the skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding industries. As well as branching out into film and music to create opportunity for hundreds of people.



  1. Issac June 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Who knows what the very first Volcom snap backs look like?

    • gufrocks
      gufrocks July 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      I remember seeing my first Volcom pack in 93. Do you have any shots of ancient Volcom gear?

Leave A Comment