Professional Musician / Surfer, Donavon Frankenreiter, Visits The Philippines With Sanuk Founder, Jeff Kelley, For Some Waves, Sun And Two Private Concerts
For Immediate Release: October 25, 2011 – You’ll often hear people quote the phrase, “you can’t mix business with pleasure.” However Sanuk founder, Jeff Kelley, and long time brand ambassador, internationally acclaimed musician / professional surfer, Donavon Frankenreiter, did just that. Both super successful, Jeff and Donavon (as they insisted they be called), each managed to combine their passion for the water with their strong business acumen to become two of the most well respected figures in their respective industries.
A longtime surfer from San Clemente California, Donavon Frankenreiter, started riding waves at the tender age of 10 and went pro at the age of 15. From there, he picked up music and started playing and singing when he was 18. Excelling at both, Donavon was signed to a sponsorship deal with international swimwear brand Billabong, which allowed him to travel the world surfing. It was when he was surfing in Hawaii where he met now longtime friend, Jack Johnson, who in 2002, signed Donavon to his record label. Since the debut of his self-titled album in 2004, Donavon Frankenreiter has enjoyed an extremely prolific musical career recording another six albums with his eighth one expected to release at the end of 2011.
Similarly, Jeff Kelley built his empire by combining his passion for surfing with his innate curiosity to invent. Realizing one day how much more effective it is walking barefoot as opposed to in cushioned sneakers, Jeff combined a deconstructed shoe upper with a sandal footbed. The new product, which he named the Sidewalk Surfer, signified the launch of Sanuk and till this day, is still the brands most iconic shoe. To say Jeff “thinks outside the box” is an understatement. His creative juices have led him to make footwear from just about every material, texture and pattern, including: indoor-outdoor carpet, bamboo, leopard prints, rain ponchos, yoga mats and wire mesh. “Our yoga mat sandals are currently the best selling female sandals in the US… across all brands,” boasts Jeff. Since its inception in 1997, Jeff has managed to transform Sanuk into one of the leading outdoor footwear brands in the world. Currently available in over 54 countries, Jeff’s success recently paid off when he sold Sanuk to publicly listed footwear conglomerate, Decker Outdoor Corporation, for a reported US120 Million dollars cash.
Donavon and Jeff recently took the time out of their busy schedules to travel to the Philippines to promote the brand through a series of mini-concerts and fun outdoor events. First stop was a private concert for VIPs and invited members for the nation’s leading media outlets in Gweilos Bar, Makati City on the 20 of October. The following day, the group headed to La Union where Donavon would be performing again over the weekend, this time on the beach, in a show aptly called “Opening Act,” intended to kickoff the surf break season.
All guests arrived in the La Union on Saturday morning, 22 of October and enjoyed a relaxing day on the beach filled with volleyball, 5-on-5 Zorb football, surfing, Ultimate Frisbee and henna tattoos. In the afternoon, members from the Manila Surfers Association competed in a wacky surf costume competition judged by Jeff, Donavon and Sanuk Head of International Sales, Rob Chase. In the end, 7-year-old Terese Lumundang, dressed as a superhero from “The Incredibles,” took home top honors, a badass trophy and PhP10,000.00 worth of gift checks courtesy of Sanuk.
At night, people on the beach gathered around as Donavon serenaded the them for over two hours playing hit songs across all of his albums including: Free, It Don’t Matter, On My Mind, Life Love and Laughter, and It Makes No Difference. The night was capped off when Jeff and Donavon along with Rob Chase and lead guitarist, Matt Grundy, were each given the Filipino delicacy, Balut, to try. To no surprise, all four ate the half developed eggs, further exemplifying why the brand has become so successful. Still with the aftertaste of Balut in his mouth, Jeff told us, “Never say no… we’ll try anything at least once.”
In the morning, guests were treated to surf lessons by Sanuk’s own local ambassador, professional surfer, Luke Landrigan, before departing back to Manila.
When asked how Donavon became an ambassador for the brand, Jeff replied, “Donavon represents what I wanted Sanuk to be about. He’s actually been with us from the start, even before I had the name Sanuk officially registered. Most surf brands are extremely exclusive and target really competitive athletes to wear their products. Sanuk is the opposite where we want everyone to join our club.” He goes on to say, “that’s where Donavon fits in. He’s what many would call a ‘soul surfer.’ He surfs not for the competition aspect but because it’s fun. He makes a living traveling the world surfing and singing. Isn’t that awesome and inspirational?”
Future plans look bright for Sanuk in the Philippines, which outside of the United States and Canada, is the biggest market for the brand. “There’s still huge growth for Sanuk,” explains Jeff. “At the moment, people like our product but once everyone realizes how much better Sanuks are for you and how they actually strengthen your feet, that’s when it’ll just click.”
Despite the sale of the company, Jeff still remains with Sanuk heading product development and overall creatives for the brand. With so much potential, the lingering question remaining was, “Why did Jeff Kelley decide to sell the brand?”
In his typical humor and levity, Jeff replies with a small snicker, “It’s hard to say no when someone offers you 120 million dollars.”
Sanuk is exclusively distributed by the Primer Group of Companies since 2007. For store listings, please visit: www.primergrp.com.
About Primer Group of Companies
The Primer Group’s network of companies is multiplying at a pace never achieved before. The company is now realizing its vision to become the LEADER in the global distribution and innovation of premium goods and services across the Asian region namely Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. After 25 years of continuous and steady growth, its retail authority has grown to over 50 premium brands, 100 freestanding concept stores and over 600 consignment doors in the Asian region. The company is set to reach greater heights through its numerous milestones and marketing commendations locally and abroad. The Primer Group of Companies is also proud to have expanded its business portfolio in the area of industrial products and services. Most recently, the company also opened its first professional retail and merchandising academy. For more information about Primer Group, visit www.primergrp.com.
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