Shaun Neff started Neff Headwear by passing out beanies with a Neff logo to all his snowboarding friends in Utah. Today, Neff Headwear is sold in some 3,500 stores in over 40 countries. Not bad for starting out from the back of your car.
Today, Neff headquarters are based in Camarillo, California, where the clothing line is making a name for themselves in not only the action sports market, but also as a culture brand that sells everything from shoes to watches and partners up for unique lines with the likes of Disney, or artists like Steve Aoki and Wiz Khalifa. “Surf, skate, snow — that’s where we started,” says Neff. “I personally love surfing and snowboarding; those are kinda like my passions so, you never can lose your roots.”
Things began to turn towards lifestyle and culture about four years ago according to the company’s founder and namesake, when Snoop Dogg wore a Neff shirt at the 2010 MTV VMAs for his performance of “California Gurls” with Katy Perry.
“Then right after that song,” adds Neff, “I think it was one of Lil Wayne’s songs, and he was wearing a Neff beanie in his music video. And then, another artist came on. And then, it was like the top three songs in America. I remember sitting in my car, like, dang those are the three biggest songs, those artists, were all representing and wearing Neff product in those videos. It was kind of this surreal”
The appeal of Neff comes with the brand’s “forever fun” mission statement. “We don’t want to be a brand that tries too hard in one certain thing,” adds Neff. “You know I think a lot of brands come out, like ‘We’re a skate brand’, ‘We’re streetwear’ or ‘We’re a footwear company.’ You know at Neff we’re all just about that kind of tagline of fresh and fun and making sure that we just make what we want to make.”
VIBE heads into Neff’s Camarillo, Calif. headquarters on the latest episode of Threads.