Ivan Jimenez embodies a combination of the creative spirit and the entrepreneurial spirit. As such, he’s perfect subject matter for our 8 Questions With endeavor. He was at Nike Europe for something like seven years, as their trusted Brand Manager for Action Sports, Iberian market (Spain & Portugal). Around 2010, he was able to capitalize on his skate, streetwear & fashion industry networks, in order to open his first retail space in Barcelona called SKULLS. This effort soon spun off into the SKULLS magazine, and then the SKULLS clothing label. In 2011, Ivan closed up shop in Barcelona, and relocated to NYC. While he pushes his SKULLS hat label to higher heights, and launched his Downtown NYC label, he’s also studying for his MBA. Read on to find out more about what drives and what inspires this industrious individual.
What are you currently working on?
I´m currently working on setting up my life, basically. It might sound kind of weird, but that´s what I´m doing. Besides that, I´m working on designing hats and things I like. I´m working on three collections right now for the two brands I’m designing for; SKULLS and DOWNTOWN NY. I´m also working on my education, as I´m doing an MBA. I have no clue if I will finish…I love what I do now, and might have to decide what route to take!
How would you describe your job?
I´d say “my job” is a quest. In addition to that, it’s dot-connecting. I think that connecting dots is a great description for my “job;” connecting things that I like and turning them into products, websites, colorways, or ideas. The creation of something from something else.
What does your average work day look like?
I usually spend a long part of my day thinking, reading, and looking around. I try to create this mental image of something, which might take days. If I have to create a collection, I try to do all the hats at once. I don’t usually make one colorway, and then do another one another day. I go all out and spend hours in front of the computer with fabric swatches and colorways and make the whole thing at once. The last thing I worked on was the second Collection for “Downtown NY”. One day, I decided I would put all the ideas into tech packs. Woke up at 8, went to get a good breakfast (bagel with pesto, cream cheese, tomato and avocado and a soy latte), went to the office, stayed there until 7 or 8 pm, and left when everything was finished. I just left to get some air and went home. Other than days like that, I just do whatever needs to be done like shipping and stuff.
What are your long-term goals for SKULLS?
I have never thought about the long-term in my life, but I begin to do so now. My idea is to make a great brand, and of course to have fun with it. As more people get interested in the brand, I don’t want stress and pressure to come with the “success,” so I just aspire to have fun. I don´t want diamonds or gold or money, just to have fun, have a good life, to be happy, and SKULLS helps with that. The idea is to put out more T-shirts, some accessories, and keep doing fun, exciting stuff. That´s it.
Where do you find inspiration?
On everything. More and more, I have been looking at stuff that has nothing to do with music, or streetwear or anything else. I’m turning those ideas, colors and patterns into hats and tees. That´s why I keep storing ideas in my mind, and then on a particular day, everything explodes and gets translated into tech packs to manufacture. I don’t look at certain magazines or blogs to find inspiration. I have always tried to think outside of the box for anything I have done in my professional life, whether marketing plans, products, photos or videos.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?
I traveled around Europe when I turned 18, and I found out I wanted to be a graphic designer. I got my degree and have always maintained the designer spirit, that’s what I have always wanted to be, a designer.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading Steve Jobs’ biography and the Virgin guy [Richard Branson] book Screw Business As Usual. The Jobs bio is pretty interesting. It explains why the computers we are using are the way they are made. The Virgin guy book is kind of boring, but good to help understand how a company can be successful while still having an eye on helping people.
What’s your favorite post-work destination?
The gym and the cinema. I love training jiujitsu and I love watching movies. I would say those are my two passions.