Grant Fukuda is the founder of GRANT'S GOLDEN BRAND, a hair grooming brand started in Hawaii. We asked him to look back on the launch of the brand and talk about its concept and slogan.
──GRANT FUKUDA (ENGLISH)
[ JAPANESE / ENGLISH ]
Photos courtesy of Grant Fukuda
Special thanks_Grant's Golden Brand
VHSMAG (V)： Please introduce yourself. Tell us about your background as a skater.
Grant Fukuda (G)： My name is Grant "GDog" Fukuda. I grew up on the island of Oahu and have deep respect and connection for Hawai'i. I learned to surf and skate in the 1970's. In the late 1980's I fell in love with pool skating. My passion for skating has always been the surf slash style, so carving and grinding was the connection between the ocean and concrete. I was initiated as a ZBoy by one of my old friends Jay Boy. I was fortunate to be sponsored by companies who I looked up to as a young kid: DogTown, Z Skates and Santa Monica Airlines. I am a lifelong veteran team rider for Independent Trucks (been on the team for over 35 years) and have been a part of the Vans family for decades. I have been skating for over 40 years and still love rolling on my board 100%. I have always approached skateboarding from a simple and pure approach: Skate hard, always have STYLE and enjoy the ride.
V： How did you start Grant's Golden Brand?
G： I had the idea to create my own line in 2008 because there were no products that styled my hair properly. I have thick Asian hair and styling it was hard to do. I did a lot of research looking into labs, formulations and ingredients and took the leap of faith to do my own thing 15 years ago. My wife and I started this company in our living room and worked hard to build and create on the daily. We are still an independent family owned business much like a lot of the skate companies around today. I took my skateboarding "create it yourself" upbringing and made it happen. When we started, there were less than a handful of pomade brands on the market and only a few were water-based. We didn't follow anyones lead, we just created what we felt the market needed. Our hard work helped bring the new wave of water-based pomades to the market.
V： Can you elaborate on the meaning behind the brand name Grant's Golden Brand?
G： I used my name to put my personal mark in the hair market. Golden to me brings up positive memories of the past. I chose Golden because it represents to me Hawai'i in the 1970's. It was a time of Renaissance. Music, art, surfing, skating, fashion, local culture to name a few were coming into their own. I chose Brand because it has a deeper meaning than the word company. You first start with a company and then build it into a brand. Our brand was already created decades ago through my passions. Everything you see is who we are. No hired marketing, no posers, no filler.
V： Can you tell us about the message and meaning behind the brand's slogan "Stay Up, Stay Golden"?
G： "Stay Up" is a phrase I always use because it shows support and solidarity for your fellow humans. Times can be challenging in this world, these are my words of encouragement. "Stay Golden" is a play on Pony Boy's line in The Outsiders. Peace, Love and Hair Grease.
V： Explain how this slogan relates to the brand's philosophy and approach.
G： Our slogan represents always being positive and true to who you are. And to tie it into the hair game, we want you to look and feel your best with your combed up or combed back hairstyle. I truly believe everyone has their own style, we are here to help you find it.
V： Tell us about the family that you support.
G： The family that we support are all friends first. I have known most of them for years so having them become a part of our brand was easy. We asked these talented individuals to join our program because we believe in what they do.
V： Toshikazu Nozaka is designing packaging and collaborating with Grant's Golden Brand. He was featured in the launch event as well. How did you meet him and what is your relationship with him?
G： I first met Nozaka in Japan back in 2005. I was on a skate tour and he greeted us like we were brothers. At the time, I did not know Toshikazu was a highly talented tattoo artist. As the tour went on, he joined us on many sessions and I got to know him better and we became friends. He shared with me old skate pictures and magazines like Ollie made by our old friend Nisi. Nozaka is very humble so I only found out about his great talent as a tattoo artist from the other skaters. We have kept in touch over the years and he would visit Hawai'i to skate. I asked Nozaka to help design our packaging in the US. We wanted his artwork to represent our brands Asian, Hawai'i and surfing roots.
V： How have your various activities and hobbies in life -- art, music, skateboarding, car restoration, DJing, etc. -- influenced Grant's Golden Brand?
G： It has influenced our brand 100% in all aspects. For example, when we created pomades, I wanted it to work well for skaters who were sweating or for guys who ride their choppers with helmets on - their hair needs to be easily restyled with our pomade. In design, I look at all of the details such as fonts and colors and have them play in harmony just like a Coltrane song.
V： How have your experiences in different places in your life -- Hawaii, LA, NY, Seattle -- influenced your brand?
G： I think living in these great cities along with traveling a lot has given us a clear perspective on how to build a brand that reflects our culture and passions while respecting others. We stick to what we have experienced, know and love. We don't appropriate, we appreciate.
V： What is the most rewarding moment with the brand?
G： The most rewarding thing is talking to customers who have found confidence in combing their hair while using our products. A lot of guys don't know how to comb and style their hair and that's ok, we are here to help.
V： Skaters often wear hats, what would you like to say to them?
G： Take off the cap. Our pomades will make you skate and look better!
V： What is your vision and outlook for the future of Grant's Golden Brand?
G： Our vision and outlook is to keep producing high quality hair products into the future. We are now working on growing our brand in Japan and the Asian markets.
V： A message to users who support Grant's Golden Brand please.
G： Peace and Aloha to those of you who have supported our business. We will be visiting Japan in the years to come. I hope to meet a lot of you in barbershops, stores and events that we visit in the future. Please stop by to say hello!
Originally from Oahu, Hawaii. He has skated for DogTown Skates, Santa Monica Airlines, and Z Skates from the mid 80s. Currently, he runs Grant's Golden Brand in Seattle.