July 25, 2023

Innovation and Creativity in the Action Sports Business with Scott Sorensen [EP 394]

Show Notes

Rick Saez
Rick Saez
Innovation and Creativity in the Action Sports Business with Scott Sorensen [EP 394]
Loading
/

Welcome to Episode 394 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast with Scott Sorensen; Scott is an artist and loves to create. He creates images, illustrations, logos, and more. Scott and I talk about his career and innovative mindset, aptitude for tackling complex business challenges from a fresh perspective, and Creative brand stelekon.

Show Notes

Welcome to Episode 394 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast with Scott Sorensen, Scott is an artist and loves to create. He creates images, illustrations, logos and more. Scott and I talk about his career and innovative mindset and aptitude for tackling complex business challenges from a fresh perspective and Creative brand stelekon.

Brought to you by

Show Notes

Welcome to Episode 394 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast with Scott Sorensen; Scott is an artist and loves to create. He creates images, illustrations, logos, and more. Scott and I talk about his career and innovative mindset, aptitude for tackling complex business challenges from a fresh perspective, and Creative brand stelekon.

Show Notes

Were you an “action sports” kid?

I was, I grew up in Huntington Beach. One would say sort of the epicenter. But growing up there, you had no idea it was the epicenter. But you know, we skateboarded everywhere. We did BMX, we surfed. Which wasn’t only an action sport; it was just sort of that way of life. That was what we did as kids.

You must have been creative from a young age. Is that a family trait?

I have a Great Uncle who is, but other than that, it sort of skipped most of the generations prior to me. I have a first cousin who’s very creative. He’s also an action sports guy, Taylor Steele, who made, made surf movies and sort of that created that momentum generation. He’s also very creative as far as illustrating and video creation production. So yeah, I don’t know where I got it from, but it hit me hard and fast, and as a kid, I was always with a pencil.

What was your first commercial creation?

I would personally draw things, and then all through school, elementary, middle, and high school, I was the guy drawing the covers of the yearbooks. And then as a young person, I would do holiday windows around the neighborhood. People wanted Santa painted on the windows for the holidays or Halloween. I would do things like that for some extra pocket money as a kid. I was always repainting all my hot wheel cars, and my brother and I used to like to make those old Revell models, painting those, trying to make ’em look realistic. Mm-hmm. I was always doing, trying to do something creative.

Did you work with an agency before starting STELEKON?

I have not; I never worked for an agency. I take it back, in college, I worked with a very small agency and did a lot of creative work for them as an intern and then a short-term employee, but then quickly started doing my own little agency work.

Anybody that needed creative work I did it to help pay for school. I put myself through college. I originally studied architecture. That’s kind of really what I want to do. So you’ll get this, I would. I did a lot of overlays for builders, and I did a lot of study models. You know, white study models, architecture models for builders locally to show how intrusive the building would be in the natural environment.

So I did a lot of that stuff. It was just a way to make some money to help pay for school, help eat while I was in school. And, you know, I did logos for everybody. I did everything I possibly could to make some money.

My first big career move was I interviewed at Oakley as a young, fresh college graduate, and while there, I met some interesting people, and they put me together with the other two people that sort of got Dragon off the ground.

Dragon Optical was a sunglass, moto, goggle, snow goggle apparel accessory brand. And I was on the creative side. I did the logo; I did all the ads and all the marketing.

Tell us about STELEKON. How did that come to life?

I think because I’m an artist, I love drawing, and I’m into the creative side of things, I felt classified as a nerd, I would say. Cause I love movies, and I love comic books because I always liked the way they looked and loved the drawing and, you know, was super aspirational.

Have wanted to draw for a comic book company. I go to Comicon all the time. And it’s sort of a, you know, it used to be sort of a secret, nerd culture, and I think that’s sort of gone away. It’s become sort of main mainstream now. And creative and clever, and I’ve always enjoyed drawing and being a part of that, that sort of, that sort of genre.

I never had an art tag name. I’ve been an illustrator and stuff. I never had a tag name. And all my friends, you know, that are street artists all have these really cool tag names. Right. And when my son was super young, one Halloween, there was a bunch of skeletons out in front of a house, and he said, dad, look at all the stelekons, and just as a, you know, a, a three-year-old, uh, mistake. And I said this is perfect. I’m going to awesome trade trademark and get the URL and get everything about it because now I have a name and I, you know, all social handles. Cause it’s not a real word, but it sounds like a real word, but it isn’t. And that was sort of how I got the name started.

What is the inspiration behind the irreverence aesthetic of STELEKON?

I think the irreverent side of things is just really just to be, you know, they’ve been, I don’t wanna say persecuted, but they’ve been looked at as outcasts. When in fact, there’s probably more of them now than there is the hardcore, I bet collectively; they’re smarter than the rest of us. And so the references just kind of makes it more fun and realistic. It makes it more human and connected to what they’re about.

What I gathered as the key to your superpowers is your innovative mindset and aptitude for tackling complex business challenges from a fresh perspective. How have those evolved over your career?

Architecture is probably right on the border of, or right in the middle between, the right and left brain. Because you’re, you gotta be creative, but it also has to work. But I also can use my analytical side too. And I’ve always considered myself a renaissance cause I was really good at math as well and really good at business acumen and understanding how to get things done. But with a creative hook because I am creative and I’ve always been a big believer in it’s always another way to do this. Maybe even six other ways. Let’s look at the different ways to get this, whatever problem, whatever issue, whatever hurdle it is done. Let’s find another way to get it handled. And then also, how can we turn this into a positive?

We connected on LinkedIn when I liked a post where you wrote, “I’ve become fascinated with the new ‘know-it-all’ but ‘never done anything’ business generation in the world today.” How do you think that has manifested in our society today?

I’ve come across quite a few of them, and to me, it’s maybe a little bit of envy, but also a little bit of, I don’t wanna say disgust, but a little bit of like, eh come on.

I think this generation was told they could be anything they wanted. There are no rules. You know, everybody gets a participation trophy, and so they have just this unbridled confidence. And so they can essentially, I’m gonna be a CEO by, by 22 and retired by 30 and a billionaire. Wow. I don’t know. That’s, that’s actually quite a feat. I don’t know how that’s gonna happen, considering you don’t have a job yet, but you’re telling me how I should be running my business and you’ve never even had a job. And then they all claim it. I don’t know about you, but I get an email a day and a message a day on LinkedIn from somebody that’s gonna tell me how to build my business, they’re an E-commerce guru, and I look at their profile and say, this person graduated yesterday right from college, never had a job, but yet he’s gonna try to tell me who’s got 25 years in this industry, how to grow my business. Now there are some new tactics I can learn. But hey, let’s, you know, let’s tone down the confidence a little bit.

Do you have any suggestions and/or advice for folks wanting to get into creative work?

Yeah, I mean, it’s a lot of fun. I’ve guest lectured at San Diego State and Palomar College and at Southwestern College down by the border about creative stuff and expectations. It’s a great field. Obviously, the most dedicated bubble to the surface that just with any business.

So my thought is, I always tell ’em just know as much as you can. How are you improving your skillset? Every day, every week, every month, every year. And I’m not saying that you’re taking classes, but what are you doing to improve your Photoshop, your eye? Right. And I’ll tell you, the people that come in that have an artistic eye to start with have an advantage.

If you were able to hang a huge banner at the front of one of the tradeshows, what would it say?

Individual we are strong, United we are invincible

and

Find your path. Ignore the noise. Feed your mind

Do you have any daily routines you have to keep your sanity, health like meditation, exercise, walking the dog, etc

I have a cat. It’s my coworker and likes to go in and out the same door every eight seconds, so it keeps me on my toes. I’m an outdoorsy person, so I’m always doing something. Exercise in particular, as we age, exercise becomes more and more and more important. Especially when you try to go back and do the things you did as a youth, you snowboard, whatever it is, and you’re like, man, I just don’t have the knee strength or whatever it is anymore. So I just try to stay in shape, and my wife and I try to walk every day.

Do you have any favorite books or books you give as gifts?

I wish I could say yes. I don’t. My wife is an avid reader. I mean, she’s reading books all the time. And I get ripped by everybody in my family that I haven’t read a book since college. Not true. But that’s the joke.

What is your favorite outdoor gear purchase under $100

GORUCK

Gargoyles Eyewear

Forged

Is there anything else you want to say or ask of our audience?

Check out stelekon.com