Meet Your Maker: Kimmy Reynolds of Volcom

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posted by James Willmott

Meet Head Creative at Volcom, Kimmy Reynolds. She’s leading the charge at Volcom in Sydney – she’s not only overseeing the brand’s creative direction, but dabbling in marketing too.

We caught up with the creative genius to talk through the design process behind the Autumn 2015 campaign, her quirky Sydney workspace and how she wound up to where she is today.

How did Volcom come to fruition?
Volcom was founded in California, USA in 1991 by two visionary rulers Richard Woolcott and Tucker Hall. It was actually the first company to combine all 3 board sports – skate, surf & snow and they also recognised the art & music surrounding board sports had become part of the culture.  The crew back in the day started making incredible movies. It’s now been over 21 years of film making and it’s an absolute pleasure to go back in time and watch them.

Where’s are you guys based?
We are based on the northern beaches of Sydney. Close to a café & to a Bunnings. We all love Bunnings at Volcom. We affectionately call it Bunzos.

Describe your workspace?
Hmm my workspace is piles of books and notes with black coffee spilt on it all. Also a couple of very healthy plants, some wonderful doodles from artists I get to work with and then my computer; The Mac Daddy or sometimes the Big Mac when he gets in a pickle.

Walk us through a typical day at Volcom.
Typical day at Volcom…that’s actually impossible to answer. I can tell you what happened today? Drove to work with extra large coffee, posted on @volcomwomens_oz, walked in said g’day and hung in the kitchen for 5 finding out who had what for dinner and making sure mine was better. Crank up the Mac Daddy, get the music started (I boss over the stereo), answered emails then had a skype sesh with Ambassador & Artist Gemma O’Brien who is in NYC and about to work on some projects we’ve lined up for her in LA and Europe with the Volcom teams out there. Then i spent time editing, selecting, retouching and working out the next stages for the imagery and films each season. It’s the best & worst part of my job. I love the creative challenge, it’s exhausting and also rewarding. There is a lot of investment in these photo shoots, not just monetary but also in time, effort and a huge amount resource from every part of our business from Designers, Production, Sample Coordinators & Range Planners creating and producing the collection – I want to make sure I do their hard work justice. Next up was planning for an upcoming Volcom Women’s ‘School of Cool’ creative workshop we are hosting in Auckland, NZ. Finished off some more social media posts, which included a quick little photoshoot with Skate team rider Jackson Pilz on our HQ mini-ramp. Have a beer at my desk, turn the volume up a couple of notches and finish some odds and ends then head back city side!

Tell us a couple of strange/quirky things that takes place behind the scenes at Volcom HQ?
Ok few quirky things from HQ. We have a 3 o’clock chips n’ dips club the boys in marketing started. Its very hot sauce heavy, sometimes they go too far. We also get half a day off on Friday’s if we reach our targets, so good!

Describe the Volcom crew in 3 words.
The crew in 3 words, dedicated genuine fruitcakes.

If you could have any icon to wear Volcom, who would it be?
Bart & Lisa Simpson. A special Volcom episode. Whoa!

Walk us through the design process for Volcom’s AW 15 collection?
The design process for the range is a very cool global process. I don’t actually work in the Design Team any longer but I love catching up on where they’re at with it and seeing the range they masterfully put together. We have Designers across the globe that get together in various countries for research and design meetings. The Men’s crew just went to Japan for some research time then headed to the USA HQ in Costa Mesa to put the pieces of the puzzle together. We just had some of the international Women’s team here in Australia and now our Women’s Designers are in the USA and I believe heading to Mexico! It’s a very international process.

What will we see you wearing from the new season collection?
For sure the ‘Breeze’ fuzzy stripe oversize card.

Give us the brief history of Kimberley Reynolds.
I studied Fine Arts (Photography, Painting, Drawing, Sculpture and Theory) at Art School then headed over to Europe to work and travel for a while. Came home and flat broke, decided no one makes money from creativity so I got a job as a receptionist at a stationery company. Not too long after I began studying Graphic Design to apply my more analogue creative skills into digital practices, which I found was a pretty easy adaptation in the end. Once finished, I got a job at News Limited working in magazine layout design for women’s titles including Vogue & Delicious magazines (not going to lie, did a bit of work for Australian Fishing and Trucking also). Then a job came up at Volcom for a Graphic Designer to work on catalogue layouts and I just went for it. I grew up with a family of surfers and skaters and being from Cronulla the culture of Volcom was exactly what I was used to. It felt right. I started there on catalogues and within a few months I was hand painting tee shirt graphics, then eventually created the women’s tee line, which lead to Designing the apparel range. I worked on the yardage prints for both men’s and women’s and eventually took over all in-house art. This also meant I was able to work with lots of incredible freelance artists and photographers. Pretty awesome. Alongside the art, I worked on the creative for campaigns and was quite focused on pushing our Women’s Marketing. I guess really this all lead to my current role as Head Creative, which is Creative Direction for Campaign & Seasonal Imagery and managing Women’s Marketing.

The fashion industry is a bit of a hard one to crack, how did you get your foot in the door?
Honestly, I just went for an interview and through the nerves tried to be myself. Only put work in my portfolio that I actually liked or showed a skill they needed filled in the job.

Describe your morning routine.
Shower then hair detangle. Then it’s black coffee for the drive from Redfern to Northern Beaches, while trying really hard not to Instagram at the lights. Also trying really hard not to spill my coffee while driving!

What is your ideal Sunday?
Ideal Sunday has to start with a Bloody Mary. A real one! Pickles, hot hot n spicy, olives and if at all possible, a crispy bacon stirrer. A walk around my local area and maybe a coffee or two with friends finding out who did what last night. I like an afternoon park session with a good conversation, cards and a long neck. Then a pub near my place the Berkley (or as its changed to The Eveleigh Hotel) has a free Comedy night every Sunday, which is excellent!

What do you get up to outside of Volcom?
Outside of Volcom I pretty much do things like my ideal Sunday activities from previous question! I love Sydney we are so lucky. I also travelled to Melbourne a few times recently for hangs with some good friends there. I try to be cultured and catch the odd art show, band and good restaurant but the scrappy side of me often wins and has me hanging at the dive bars. That’s where the best stories are.

What’s playing in your headphones right now?
I don’t really use headphones but my car is tiny and the sound system is boss so it’s basically like driving in a headphone bubble. I just came out of a huge rap phase, GZA and a recent fave Andre Nickatina. I always enjoy Psych Rock & kinda mild metal but I’ve been cultivating the ultimate playlist for a while now. Its called ‘Mum n Dad Getting Freaky’. It’s meant to be the music your folks were playing that night you rocked home a little early and Dad was on the reds and Mum was looking flushed. Lots of Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Dire Straits, Icehouse, Roxy Music and Simple Minds. It’s actually the best. It was meant to be a joke but I love it and it’s a solid fave at work.

The last place you travelled?
Last place I travelled was America. LA & Costa Mesa for the Volcom International Design & Marketing meeting. It’s a really inspiring meeting that I am lucky enough to attend a few times a year. I always come back so buzzed on Volcom and the global team, we added on a few days research (where we check out stores, galleries, bands or anything that gets creative inspiration going) in NYC. I think next trip I’m going to head to Austin, Texas. I’ve been so lucky to travel so much in my job!

Next stop?
Next stop is Auckland, New Zealand in two weeks for our Volcom Women’s ‘School Of Cool’.

Favourite watering hole?
It’ll have to be a top few, in no particular order. Shakespeare Hotel, Cricketers Arms, The Dock & Arcadia.

What’s the next big thing to come out of Volcom?
We have some really huge projects in the works at the moment. Something very real coming up in Men’s Denim, an incredibly exciting collaboration with a truly unique musician in Women’s, some very big surf & skate films being produced at the moment and for me personally the most exiting is a capsule collection with an artist that I have admired for a long time that I can’t think of a better fit for than with Volcom. Stay tuned peepers!