Johnny Schillereff Launches New Brand
Element Founder and skateboard veteran Johnny Schillereff has launched a new brand with his family.
We asked him some questions about the new venture and how it will stand out in the market.
Is the Heart Supply a new skate brand?
Johnny Schillereff: The Heart Supply began as a skateboarding movement inspired by our passion and deep understanding of the skateboarding community. Originally, we were a crew focused on uniting the next generation of likeminded skateboarders and creatives, while giving back – and collaborating on fresh art for tees, fleece, posters and stickers to be sold DTC. Most recently, we’ve expanded into skateboards and hardgoods accessories, available DTC and to skateboard shops. All along the way a portion of our proceeds are used to give skateboards to kids.
What inspired your family to start it?
Johnny Schillereff: I and my wife Kori, who founded Element Women’s, have always worked together and been very engaged with the skateboarding community and Element. From being in the streets, to our team riders, to the day-to-day business, we thought we knew and had seen it all.
Recently our family unit has been brought even closer to the skateboarding community because of the shared vision of our children, Lenox and Camp, their friends and others that want to make skateboarding more positive and inclusive.
From that, the next evolution of my career was born. I feel incredibly blessed to remain immersed in my deepest passion at this stage in my life, with my family by my side.
What are the products?
Johnny Schillereff: In most cases when a brand or founder has had the opportunity to expand their business, the tendency has been to increase product categories and price points and to attempt to compete with and emulate high fashion (myself included). Often, this occurs while forgetting about the original mission, loyal customers and retail partners.
With this new venture, I have no desire to do that. Rather, I will continue to be an expert in the field of skateboarding. So we have chosen to embrace the product categories that we are experts in, and that we know the skateboarding community wants – hardgoods and art creation.
We will focus on skateboards and printables, which will be differentiated by authentic art and skateboarders past, present and future. We will concentrate on quality hardgoods essentials and completes. With respect to apparel, we will have a narrow focus on tees and fleece with great art, silhouettes and color reliability.
Will it be a DTC brand only or will you pursue wholesale accounts as well?
Johnny Schillereff: Both. All our products are exclusively available through the loyal distributors who have stood by skateboarding with unwavering dedication. Additionally, we will offer product through theheartsupply.com.
This sales and distribution model will allow us to give the distributors and retailers attention while staying focused on curating and generating strong art and graphics, providing the greatest customer service, and giving skateboards to kids. Additionally, we will invite our distributors, retailers and partners to participate in our giveback initiative and help provide skateboards to those in need.
How are you building your team?
Johnny Schillereff: We are approaching team through a different lens, and do not look at them as team riders, but rather as family. I’ve also made a conscious decision to stay focused on the younger generation of professionals and amateurs, and strictly collaborate with likeminded artists and skateboarding legends, while providing them all the opportunity to give complete skateboards to kids in need.
Our pros receive board royalties above what is considered the industry standard. Additionally, they participate in sales of products across all categories and their teammates. We also establish custodial bank accounts for our team riders under the age of 18.
Our “team” will be built on youth, loyalty and friendship. I have always been attracted to the outliers, disruptors, and controversial skateboarders who go against the grain, and roll outside the lines of the alleged rules of skateboarding. Our team’s ethos is that we all strive to help one another, respect each other’s individuality and creative expressions, and remain positive role models for the youth.
Are you still with Element?
Johnny Schillereff: I sold Element in the early 2000’s and it then became part of a publicly traded company. I remained the President and led Element’s marketing, product design, art direction, team riders and philanthropy for more than two decades with a great deal of autonomy. In the last few years Element has changed ownership and executive management several times. Over the course of time, I stepped down as President, my responsibilities were distributed to the other senior executives, and my daily contributions reduced.
Most recently in conjunction with COVID-19, I was furloughed. These unprecedented times have given me time for even deeper introspection and reflection – and as a result, more time and commitment to The Heart Supply mission, and the expansion into skateboards and hardgoods accessories, which closes the loop and allows us to give away complete skateboards to kids in need.
That being said, I will forever be Element’s biggest fan, and expect that both brands will compliment and nourish each other’s respective positive missions in the marketplace. Boardriders executives know I will make myself available to help in any way based on my love and deep and understanding of Element, and its rich history and full potential. But for now, I’m laser focused on my next chapter and calling.
I still have unfinished business for my final act. My mission is to empower the next generation of skateboarders, increase skateboarding participation, and give skateboards to kids in need for generations to come.