Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Behind the scenes of OTW: Interview with Trevor Hill


In the fourth part of our Behind The Scenes of OTW feature we caught up with Trevor Hill who is Vans OTW Product Line Manager in Footwear Merchandising. We get to find out about Trevor's job, how to make a perfect waffle sole, fishing, trips to Asia and Triumph Bikes. Get the full interview after the jump!

YS: Hello!

Trevor Hill: Good morning, Just getting my day started..

YS: Same here. Coffee or tea?

Trevor Hill: Coffee for sure.. I need to switch to tea.. I think it's better for me..?

YS: I'm coffee all day. Yes tea is probably better but who needs that!

Trevor Hill: That's pretty funny.

YS: What is your Wednesday looking like at Vans OTW HQ?

Trevor Hill: This morning I'm checking out the new catalog for the upcoming season. I'm taking a look at all the new images, and codes for the catalog before it goes to print.. That will consume my next hour or so. Just started working on the skate/syndicate categories here as well so I'm getting a sneak peak into the new skate styles also.. So good!



YS: That sounds like a productive morning. What's your role and responsibility at OTW?

Trevor Hill: For OTW, it's product line manager in footwear merchandising. In short it's creating product briefs for new designs, overall line size direction, price points, and overall category directional strategy. The future of this category is in the hands of the few you have interviewed so far. Really great people to work with - Tom Cooke, Ian Gray, Nate Iott, and Rodney Rambo.

YS: Totally good peeps! Could you explain what creating product briefs means? Are you a conduit between the design/marketing team and production?

Trevor Hill: You got it. Creating product briefs are the kick off point for the new season. It's a file for the group to build design, marketing, and sales strategies off of. It's essentially the document of months of research into the competitive landscape.


YS: How exciting is it to know what's coming up next and keeping it a secret?!

Trevor Hill: It's good, and bad at the same time.. Things move fast in today's world.. Sometimes I wish we could get products out faster.

YS: For sure! The guys we interviewed previously shared you work so far ahead in time it's kinda like living in the future.


Very first printed OTW ad, as sent by Ako

Trevor Hill: It's been the best working with our external crew of guys (our advocate group) on ideas and future direction as well.

YS: When the shoe goes into production do you have to make sure it's up to quality and standard?

Trevor Hill: Vans has a large staff of folks in Asia to control quality and build our products to the highest standards. Every great product out there has a high attention to detail. Our staff in the USA is required to get the product to confirmation stage (a 1/1 of what we are expecting for production)


YS: Have you visited the production houses out there? Must be really interesting and eye opening to know how it gets done and what it takes to produce a perfect waffle sole.

Trevor Hill: The China factory visits are great! you can turn around a sample upper in a day onsite. Here at the office in the USA that turn around is around a week. You can get a lot done in a short amount of time. Seeing the production lines at work is truly an amazing site. There is a lot of magic happening behind the scenes. As for the waffle sole.. You really cannot beat it! It's the best formula, and tread pattern available.




YS: We are here to show a little bit of this behind the scenes magic. How did you get your at start at Vans and any advice on how to brake into an industry?

Trevor Hill: All I can say is hard work, and passion show through.. There are lots of college courses that can teach you book smarts but passion, and a eye for newness, and progression will take you far. A good combination of both is ideal. This industry is interesting where passion, and hard work can take you places. It's great seeing a lot of my close friends make a living off what we love to do. Can't beat that right..?

YS: Absolutely! Work hard and good thing will come.




YS: With OTW Holiday season out now, what are your favorites shoes?

Trevor Hill: I am really into the new Ludlow model for hanging around and flapping down the street on my skateboard, and I like the Alomar's for fishing, and riding my motorcycle.. The boot brown colorways in leather are my favorite.


YS: Ludlow is a great shoe, really elegant silhouette.

Trevor Hill: Yes, I like the oily suede ones, and the leather/wool from holiday 11.



YS: What kind of bikes do you have run?

Trevor Hill: Nice.. Let's talk about motorcycles. I have a 1965 T100SC Triumph. It's a 500cc that was build for the California desert in the 1960's (It would have been cool to be around at that time) - High pipe, dirt tires, and uplift handlebars. I'm stumped on the refurb now because the electrical points are too intense to work on for me..


Trevor Hill: I also have a 2007 Triumph Bonneville that's more of a cafe style bike with clubman bars and such.. that's my daily driver.


YS: All day! So that's how you spend your weekends! Desert styles are the truth.


Trevor Hill: (laughing) I have to get the thing running so I can enjoy the trip.

YS: Original Triumphs are amazing once you get them in working state, i like the 69 model.
Traffic must not be an issue for you in the morning?

Trevor Hill: Yep, that's a great year! On a motorcycle you sort of own the road...

Trevor Hill: the CHP have kept splitting lanes legal.. I love the California Highway Patrol!

YS: Oh yes... Loud pipes?

Trevor Hill: Yes, it's very important for other cars to hear you..

YS: And announce your presence! Loud pipes save lives!

Trevor Hill: That's funny.. have to hide your face though..

YS Yeah..!

Trevor Hill: Thanks for the interview. I'm honored.

YS: My pleasure sir! It's been truly awesome!


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