Albert Rosario and Kevin Delaney work in marketing at LRG and have both been there over seven years. They have seen LRG rise from a niche skate brand to a global lifestyle phenomenon. Since interviewing them, I’ve spent a lot of time with Kevin in L.A., Vegas and New Orleans, and I can say that these guys grind hard. They are passionate about what they do and it translates into results; LRG did over $150 million in revenue in 2007 and are set to top that this year. Say what you want about LRG, they may not be the cool guys brand on the block, but they probably own that block.
â€œWe are the number five fastest growing company in Entrepreneur Magazine.â€
Format: How long have you be working at LRG?
KD: We’ve both been her seven and a half years, almost since the beginning.
Format: And before LRG?
KD: We were students at San Diego State. I met Albert in class and linked up with him.
AR: I was at a tradeshow and I had been a skateboarder in high school and college. I followed LRG and thought they were an interesting brand with their ads and their riders. Their graphics were very different from the skate world, at the time. I met one of the employees randomly and the next day I met Jonas, the owner. He asked me to help with guerilla marketing in San Diego. Then I met Kevin in class, he asked me for a sticker. Kevin was doing promotion for Cornerstone. We started promoting for LRG. They said once we graduated we could have a job.
Format: No marketing or clothing experience?
KD: Pretty much. I think Albert had a little.
AR: I had some friends that had some smaller companies, but that was pretty much it.
Format: You guys ever designed anything?
KD: I changed a color here and there, but nothing major.
AR: I’ve designed windows, MAGIC booths, point of purchase stuff, but no clothes.
Format: How did LRG build such strong relationships with artists and professional athletes?
AR: Networking. Being such a grassroots brand allows us to be eye to eye with the people.
KD: Solid design. People want our shit `cause it’s hot. The money has never been an issue. We’ve never had people sign contracts or anything. It’s more of a friend and peer relationship.
Format: As the marketing guys, when you do reach out and are trying to network, what do you look for in the celebrity, athlete and musician?
AR: First and foremost, do they want to rock the clothes? I want to make sure they feel the brand.
KD: They have to be tight and I have to be feeling their whole movement. They have to project a good image and fit the LRG mold. There’s no real mold though â€“ if they are a rock stars or skimboarders. We just did an LRG x Victoria skimboard.
Format: On a personal level, what relationship did you feel great about developing?
AR: I remember when Kevin and I were on the street team. I was a huge DJ Shadow fan. He was playing at some college radio station. We went all the way up there just to give him a few shirts. He said, “Thank you.” And like a month later, he was rocking it in Rolling Stone. Then I got a hold of him a year later and we did an ad campaign. And now we did a limited edition shirt for his website, we also did a parka and a New Era. We also did a shirt for his Outsider album. It feels great to be a part of his movement. I’ve also built with Jazzy Jeff and Masters at Work; I’m a huge fan of both.
KD: The two biggest ones would be Just Blaze and Clinton Portis. Just Blaze has been like our mascot. He was one of the first major producers we reached out to and we are going on our third season with him. People are always looking at him for the next shit. He’s been a very integral part of this machine. In the sports world, Clinton Portis, he’s been a major supporter since the beginning. Clinton is one of the top five running backs of our time. Both those relationships have been five years in the making. T.I. is a big one as well. We’ve done three collaborations with Grand Hustle. He wore our stuff on the Urban Legend album and in the â€˜Front Back Side to Sideâ€™ video, too.
Format: What sort of category of apparel is LRG?
KD: We are an American lifestyle brand.
Format: What are some other brands LRG fucks with?
KD: I like what Creative Rec is doing.
Albert: I don’t. I mean, I like them, but I’m just not really feeling the shoes.
KD: I like what G-Shock is doing. I like the website BigNaturals.com. Although, I guess Bang Bros is the brand.
Albert: I like RealityKings.com especially on Tuesdays and Fridays, those are the update days.
Format: What about OxPass or NaughtyAmerica?
KD: Yeah. Brazzers is dope, too.
AR: But nah, LRG loves people who do anything with passion.
KD: We haven’t gone to work in seven years. Anyone who is doing what they love and don’t feel like they are going to work in the morning or afternoon â€“ that’s who weâ€™re feeling.
Format: What brands aren’t you feeling?
KD: Bang Bus, not feeling that.
AR: Not feeling Pepsi Cola.
KD: I don’t want shit on anyone.
AR: The fashion business is fun. But I’m not feeling Pepsi.
KD: I’m feeling Pepsi.
AR: Actually, I am feeling Pepsi.
Format: Any firsts for LRG in `08?
AR: Not anything we can share.
KD: Some major collaborations. We are the number five fastest growing company in Entrepreneur Magazine.
AR: We just did a Suzuki Hayabusa customized by LRG. We just did an iPhone case with Monster that’s exclusively at Apple stores. We have a G-Shock dropping. We have another Grand Hustle hoodie.
KD: Two EA sports collaborations.
AR: There’s one thing we can’t share in the technology department that people are going to be like, wow!
Format: Any LRG flagship stores?
AR: There’s been talk, but nothing concrete. Not sure we are there yet.