Exclusive Interview: Insight President Jesse Faen


Insight U.S. President Jesse Faen

Insight won Breakthrough Brand Of The Year and secured its second consecutive Men’s Marketing Campaign Of The Year at the SIMA Image Awards this year. If that’s not enough to have the brand on your radar, retailers—especially on the West Coast—are reporting strong sell-through with Insight’s product, which tends to be fashion forward with designs driven by its roots in Australia, where it makes both apparel and surfboards. In the U.S. the brand is strictly softgoods, and President Jesse Faen runs Insight’s headquarters in Venice Beach, California. Transworld Business caught up with Faen for a quick Q&A session. Here’s what he had to say.


A couple of looks from Insight’s Summer '08 collection.

What does it mean for your brand to win a second consecutive image award in the marketing category?

It’s amazing. Such a huge encouragement for everyone who works really hard at ::Insight. Especially our creative team, who are up against the biggest brands in the industry, whose marketing budgets look more like our sales figures. When we won last year for our ‘Dead Modern’ campaign, it really helped everyone back in Australia grasp the potential here, and know we were positioning ourselves well within the USA market, and gaining incredible support and attention. Plus, it definitely made it easier to convince management ideas for the ‘ZOUP’ campaign were on track, and worthy of the money required. Both campaigns were designed to put some fun back into the industry, and hopefully create timeless pieces of art, so beyond any awards, we’re stoked to know people respond so positively to what our brand is doing.

What do you think sets Insight apart from the other brands in the category?

Our creative team is incredible. No disrespect to any other company or
what they are doing, but I am simply a fan of the clothing, designs,
and campaigns ::Insight constantly dream up. Always seems to come out
of left field, and makes you smile and feel more inspired.

Same question, but for breakthrough brand…and which one means more?

::Insight have gained so many friends and support, by simply having
fun and being passionate about what we do. It’s an infectious
mentality, and in three short years we have really captured the
imaginations of a lot of people in the USA, and I think the awards
reflect this. All the brands in our industry share a special spirit,
but I guess ::Insight is portraying this in a way people can relate to.

All support is welcomed and the awards are massive encouragement. For
the creative team, winning the ‘Marketing Campaign’ is clearly a huge
pat on their backs. The ‘Breakthrough Brand’ recognition is for the
entire team though, as we couldn’t have gotten even this far without
all the help everyone provides. From the designers, marketing team,
athletes, warehouse crew, our sales department and reps, to the
financial controllers, etc… a brand really is only as good as the
people involved, and we are so fortunate to have attracted such an
eclectic mix of talent and passion.

How can the brand capitalize on a win like this?

The added attention definitely helps spread the word. ::Insight will
continue to focus on the things we do well, from our clothing to
marketing, and wherever opportunities arise to create new partnerships
with retailers, we’ll have open ears to what we can do for them. It’s
all about growing from what you know, and building upon that foundation.

Did winning last year help grow the business? How?

Yes. Winning an award is a great talking point, and a good
conversation always leads to something positive. The buzz from the
industry and media reaches the beaches, skateparks, streets, and once
the people are thinking about you, it’s amazing how fast the momentum
accelerates. We are still a small brand in the USA, but
thankfully ::Insight is becoming important to a lot of people, and
they are telling their friends, who are telling theirs…

How much weight do you think winning an award like this has?

Externally, that all depends on how well the awards and winners are
promoted. Hopefully this year we see an explosion of interest from the
surf media towards SIMA’s Image Awards, and this spills over into
other, more mainstream media outlets! Within our brand, and I suspect
most others too, it’s a helpful yardstick to see if you’re on point.
Definitely not the only one, but important for sure, given the
industry and retailers are the ones voting. They have the experience
to see through fads, and recognize real shifts when they appear.


Do you think it can translate into increasing sales? How?
Definitely. For the same reasons