Jimmy Gorecki, or Jimmy Sweatpants as you may know him, has quite the list of accomplishments. To recap: as a sponsored skateboarder he rode for Aesthetics, Zoo York and ICECREAM. He has held down Director level marketing roles at numerous brands. He’s got a Marketing degree from Temple, he’s consulted for Disney, he’s a Street League judge and, in 2013, he launched his own brand, JSP.
Read below to hear how he juggles it all, in comfort.
Ultimate sweatpant skater: Welsh or Kalis?
Too hard to say. Let’s give Welsh sweats, and Kalis swishes.
Deal. How often do you wear sweatpants these days?
Two to three full days a week. Definitely mornings, nights, and football Sundays.
How did the idea of starting your own brand come about?
It was honestly just a novelty thing. Nothing too serious. Just a random attempt to get an idea across.
What was that idea?
Pay homage to this article of clothing that had such a huge impact on fashion during that era of skateboarding. But has also transcended eras and been the staple piece of being comfortable.
Was it hard to get it going?
It was. I don’t have an ounce of design background. No idea about production: pretty much all of the essential tools to building clothing. Anyone can get some shirts printed, but to actually build some cut and sew pieces from scratch? That’s a different story.
Do you have a partner(s)?
I partnered with my friend Jarod Lee and put a little bit of bread up together.
How did you get the bread?
My partner and I both came out of pocket. We had investment opportunities, but we both wanted the capital to be ours out the gate. I’d rather build relationships and terms with manufactures on our own than paying back an investor.
How did you get connect with the manufactures?
Jarod brought all of those facilities to the table for me.
Who designs the product?
I take an idea to people that can lay it out for me and help conceptualize it through the tech packs and renderings.
What about sales? How do you get the brand in stores and new accounts?
That’s pretty much me. Just building with the shops I have real relationships with. Those are the places I wanted the product to land out the gate.
What types of shops do you want the product in?
I don’t think I have a particular type. I’m big on relationships. I’d rather build with people that are close to me rather than just a “look”.
Is there a skate team?
No skate, but I do have friends that skate that are sponsored I seed product to. I want to get it to people that understand and appreciate the idea.
Has that been hard to find?
No, I feel like the majority of people get the idea and appreciate it and enjoy it. Some people have just looked at it as a brand called JSP that’s no different than any other clothing brand. Both are cool to me. Occasionally, you get the complaint on the price point for sweatpants. I think those are folks that don’t understand I’m not just printing on blanks and everything is produced from scratch in downtown Los Angeles.
What are some of the projects and collabs you’ve done with the brand?
LRG, ANON, my friend Najeeb Sheikh in Philly.
How did the LRG collab come about?
Tyrone Romero and Kevin Delaney are good friends of mine. They’ve been putting in work there for years. Their skate program is top notch. They gave me the chance to come in and work with their design team and helped me build something I am really proud of.
How about A Number of Names?
Craig Ford of ANON was introduced to me through Greg Lucci at Gourmet. Craig is the man that brought Bape to the UK. His brand has so much respect from a global perspective. That one was a no brainer for me.
Do you have a favorite moment in skateboard sweatpants history?
Hmmm. Naw, I think everything pre 2004 and just any footage of guys still hold down the idea of being comfy.
What about some of your favorite tricks that have been done in sweats?
Kalis’ tre flip over the can at Love is by far the top.
I can’t argue with that. Take us back a bit. How did you get into skating?
It was just something I took to as a kid and I thrived on it. I loved it. No matter what, I could never stop thinking about it. No matter what sports I was playing or school, skateboarding was always on my mind. I really lucked out being born close to Philly and being able to skate such an incredible city. Great spots and personalities.
Talk about getting on Aesthetics.
Aesthetics was everything to me. It was the only brand I ever wanted to skate for. Being around Love, I met Kevin Taylor and he took me under his wing. It was a dream come true. The team, graphics, the products: it was everything I embodied.
How and when did that transition to Zoo York?
Zoo was, I want to say, 2003 or 2004. Unfortunately, the business at Aesthetics took a turn and Sal Barbier had to make a move. That move involved bringing all of us to Zoo. It was awesome to continue on the dream of being able to skate and travel the world, but definitely a huge part inside of me was bummed that Aesthetics was coming to an end.
You attended Tempe University. What did you take? Was it hard to balance school and skating?
I studied marketing and advertising. It was tough balancing, but I think that structure and organization was important and something I carried on with me til this day. When skating would get super busy with travel, I’d take semesters off. It took me a little more time to finish than I would’ve liked, but it allowed me to do both things simultaneously.
How did the ICECREAM opportunity come up? What was that experience like?
When the Brand Manager, at the time, Nino Scalia had initially asked me, I was hesitant. I respected the vision and what the brand message was, but I just wanted to hear some more first. After some time talking with Nino and my personal relationship with Terry Kennedy, I came on as the vet to the program. It was an opportunity I’m so thankful I took on because I wouldn’t be here doing this interview hadn’t I been part of it. It opened up doors to me that I wouldn’t ever of walked through. For that alone, I’m always thankful for Nino, Terry, and Pharrell.
When ICECREAM ended, did you have to make a decision if you were going to try and continue to be a sponsored skateboarder?
That was a tough period. It was a crucial couple of months. Then the phone rang.
Who was it?
Fred Savage, actor and director, and his producing partner Matt Dearborn. Jeff Termaine and Shana Zablow from Dickhouse productions referred me to them. Just prior to the end of the initial ICECREAM skate team, we had shot a pilot with DH. They felt like I was a good fit and could translate the idea of fitting skate culture into a kids comedy television program.
What did they offer you?
A job consulting on a Disney TV show called Zeke and Luther. The skateboard heavy show tested super well and Disney moved me out to LA to work on the show for the next three years. If I’m not mistaken, it had one of the highest ratings in the network’s history.
How did that end?
TV has a way of doing things. After so many seasons, you have to double the crew’s pay. So to avoid that kind of thing, they cancel the show and just recreate it with a spin off.
How did you end up at Gourment Footwear and what was your role there?
I was Director of Marketing. Greg Lucci threw me into the mix there and it was a great learning experience. Certain aspects I was way under-qualified for, but I did my homework and got up to speed. The footwear industry is the gnarliest and hardest to survive in when you’re competing against so many other awesome brands.
You just took on a job at Pink Dolphin? What is your role there? What do you hope to accomplish there?
I am the Director of Marketing. I hope to connect the dots between their product, customers, and retailers even better. I also want to help continue the narrative of the brand. Everyone at the company from marketing, sales, and design, work their asses off and the product is really well made. I just want to tell that story from a technical and visual standpoint. We have some great initiatives for the remainder of the year, and next year I think we are going to really “wow” people with the projects and collections that are coming out.
Do you think you would have ended up working in fashion if it weren’t for skateboarding?
Absolutely not. Skateboarding dictates so much. Our ideas inspire so many different communities.
You’re currently a judge for Street League. When did you start with them?
It started in 2010. Rob and Brian Atlas reached out to me. I was honored.
Is it a tough role? Seems like one of those things where no matter what people will be upset about something. Has a skater ever confronted you pissed off?
It’s pretty mellow. I can only call it how I see it. The team of judges knows their shit, so can’t really pull their card. I’ve never heard anything from any of the pros personally. Just their hype men.
You’re a huge sports fan. Who are your teams?
Traditionally, all the Philly teams. Now that my daughter was born in LA we incorporate them into games we watch and root for because this is where she’ll grow up at.
Do sports and athletic trends influence JSP?
They absolutely do. They’re meant to be worn with your favorite jersey any day of the year, not just game day.
It seems like everyone has their own brand today. What do brands need to do to differentiate themselves?
It’s so hard to say because they’re each pretty unique. Authenticity reigns supreme. As long as their brand message is real, they’ll survive just fine.
But your brand is built around a very specific idea and a very specific item. Do you think it’s important for a brand to have a distinct point of view and attempt to fill a certain niche?
I think that definitely helps. Any time there’s a void in some space or general thinking and something and or someone fills it, there has to be some level of success or attraction. I think that’s what helped me with JSP out of the jump. At the time that I released the first couple of pieces, there were only a couple of brands in this space really doing sweats.
What is a small, independent brand that you think is doing it right today?
For skate, I think Fucking Awesome. Dill built the branding of the name for years and when him and Ave decided to go skate, they brought in the kids that have the most juice. Perfect storm for them with the future only looking brighter.
From menswear, I think Fear of God. The way Jerry Lorenzo has been able to put out collection after collection at his pace, having built the brand slowly. It’s something else to see the reception it gets.
It seems like a lot of your success has come from relationships. How important are relationships and how can people build their own?
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, relationships are everything. However, you have to build a rapport with people. That does take time and when called upon, step up. Nobody likes the dude that jumps from one thing to another. If you’re working with a brand or project, stick with it, work hard. Be consistent. I’m older now and will tinker with my resume and Linkedin page, and to me, it means something that all of the brands I’ve listed on there, my tenures have been for a substantial amount of time. I’d hope that would translate to people that I would or could potentially work with or for.
What has been a big challenge for you in running your own brand?
I think time and funding. I got mouths to feed, so it’s tough to put the amount of time and focus into it that it deserves. It’s definitely double your work load. Checking separate emails, taking additional calls. Once you punch out of your regular gig, doing the additional work at night. It’s something you’ll lose sleep over. For me, the potential in knowing what something can be is frustrating. Timing is everything though, so for me it’s getting things to a point where it can operate on its own, rather than putting out sporadic pieces here and there. Definitely stressful, but comes with the territory.
What’s next for your brand?
I’m working on that right now. Want to pull it back to the place it started for me, which is Philly. I’m working on a project that ties the brand back to the city.
What would you tell someone that wants to start their own brand?
Be authentic. Be passionate. Don’t let trends dictate your product.