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Jerry Hsu’s Sci-Fi Fantasy

Back in the day, when someone would start a company, the M.O. was like: get some cash together, some investors or whatever, go to a distribution company or a place that already does this thing, then they put up half, and basically you’re a little bit in debt to a larger entity that is a part of the system. And a lot of people were taken advantage of because of that system. Like Ed Templeton, for example, he doesn’t really own Toy Machine, which is a tragedy. That system is antiquated now.

With Sci-Fi, of course I used my notoriety as a skateboarder, but I just spent like $300 and started an Instagram. People online were starting to notice it, and then people on the street would be like, what is that? That’s how I marketed it. I see a lot of companies are like, “Ok, dropping spring 2025!” and all this dramatic preparation, and I wanted to do the opposite. Just make a few things and sneak it into photos.

Anyways, to answer your question, it’s really about accessibility and the internet and how much people want new stuff. It’s insane. This company has made me realize how much shit people wanna buy. Its fucking crazy. But yeah, the old platform, those gatekeepers are dead. You don’t have to fuck with them anymore. You can just create an instagram and you have a company. It’s pretty awesome. It also creates a lot of crap, because everyone’s trying to do something and theres a lot of static out there. But if you have a good idea and you have taste and kinda know what you’re doing, just a little bit, you can do pretty good.

Another result of those old gatekeepers being gone or no longer relevant is that brands like yours and some others can now be found in places like Dover Street Market and Opening Ceremony, and it doesn’t seem like that would have happened under the old model.

Skating and that type of fashion has always had a relationship, whether skating likes it or not. Those types of stores like Dover Street and Opening Ceremony, they’re just really ears-to-the-ground type places. They just want to support it, so that’s great. Skating cannot be contained in a tiny little bubble forever. And I’m not really advocating for it one way or another because I’m really more of a traditionalist when it comes to skating. But once you put your brand on the Internet, it’s just out there, and you can choose where your stuff goes. But I don’t have a problem with it at all. They’re very selective, so why not? I sell to skate shops, too. I have nothing against it.

What are your feelings about growing and expanding? Any interest in making boards and putting together a team?

I do have plans for Sci-Fi, but at the same time, I like how much freedom there is. I decide when growth happens or doesn’t happen. I like that it’s small and I like that it’s rare. I’m not trying to blow it out, because that’s always been something at companies that really bugs me. Like every company I’ve ever skated for, they answer to this higher corporate power, so there’s just this constant demand from people who only see numbers. All that forced expansion creates an environment and culture where creativity and pushing any kind of limits comes second to the dollar. Which is very annoying to me because my ideas were rejected because of this system. And I don’t have that anymore. I can literally put anything on anything and I can do small numbers. That was another thing that was annoying—I’d say, “Can we just make 50 of these?” and it was like, “No, we have to make 50 billion of em.” I don’t want to do that. I just want to make something that’s special. So I’m kinda cagey to the idea of making Sci-fi this huge thing. I like that it’s personal. But that’s not to say I won’t do more. I have a lot of ideas for the future. It’s just going at its own pace.

What do you think?

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