In the 40 years since founding Burton, Jake Burton has taken snowboarding from a hobby amongst friends to a crazed culture and Olympic-level sport. As much as the brand is his, there are plenty of people involved in the process—largely because of its astonishing growth, but more recently because Jake’s battles with cancer and a rare nervous disorder reduced his focus on the business for awhile.
After stints of considering suicide, recovering from paralysis, enduring chemotherapy and much more than the average person could ever conceive of handling, he needed to tackle what he loves most—product, snowboarding, servicing his friends and family—on his own; to prove he can and because he wants to. The new collection, called “Mine77,” references his reclamation and the year Burton, the brand, was founded.
I really feel like I’ve got license to do whatever I want to do. I’ve earned that the hard way.
“I can only do so much damage,” he says. “I really feel like I’ve got license to do whatever I want to do. I’ve earned that the hard way. I’m deserving of it. And, it’s a good way to spend some of the money I’ve earned to just get deeper into some products.”
Speaking about the line at a recent preview he’s reflective and self-aware, in a way that only his experiences could make him. The project, nudged along by his wife and co-CEO Donna Carpenter, was the most sensible way for him to turn back time, and to push Burton a step further. Jake designed the product, chose the packaging, tested it all, tweaked it, wrote the copy and then direct the photoshoot for the lookbook. “Mine77” is literally his as much as it is a collection under the brand’s bigger umbrella.
“Some products Burton is going to take from ‘Mine’ and put them into the main line, and that’s a victory,” he explains. The collection is full of his desires, and they push back on the consumer at times. It’s not a collection for everyone. “If you don’t want a pair of pants with eight pockets, then buy something else,” he laughs.
“There is a process Burton is built on; showing stuff to riders and getting their feedback. And I went through the same thing [with this line]. I show them everything and it’s part of me now—it’s part of Burton, part of the line. The origins of it, and the creativity—I’ve never been that guy. I’ve never designed the product. I always had ideas and said, ‘Let’s do this, let’s do that. But this… this is really MINE,” he says with gleeful passion and clear assertion.
It is mine. And, at the same time, it’s a gold mine, a diamond mine.
Within the corporate setting of Burton (a company at the top of this billion dollar industry), it was important for Jake to bring himself, and a handful of employees who were also assigned to this project, back to the beginning, the raw origins of the business they built.
“It is mine,” he says. “It’s my shit. And nobody is telling me, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ It is mine. And, at the same time, it’s a gold mine, a diamond mine. And the 77 is so on point. It’s got that same, raw feeling. Especially within this big corporate company, this is a really cool opportunity; I use everything; my family feels it. It’s so cool the way the people in the company have embraced it.”
In total, there are 17 products in the first Mine77 collection—ranging from high-tech outerwear and layering to a rawhide board bag. The limited edition collection is available now on the Burton website and exclusively in the Burlington, Vermont flagship store.
Images courtesy of Burton