Garth and Matthew are the duo behind the creation and success of their Perth-based store Lo-Fi and Perth-based clothing label Butter Goods, globally-renowned with deep roots in skateboarding and good times. Through a passion for both, they’ve created a stellar and internationally-respected label of comfortable and quality wares.
Upon admiration for the duo’s accomplishment of Butter and Lo-Fi, which also stocks Champ Magazine -
we asked them a few questions to demystify their thoughts of skate, style & keeping it all together.
All Photos: James Whineray
For Champ, 2015
Tell us about the name! How’d you come up with Butter Goods?
When we had decided that we wanted go from just printing tees for fun to actually starting a brand, we sat down and wrote down a stack of potential names. For some reason Butter just stuck. I think we were listening to Diamond D at the time, and he dropped it in one of his tracks. There’s not much more to it than that. I’ve always thought that the brand name itself is secondary to what the brand represents anyway.
Garth and Matthew, you met in highschool and both worked at the same skate shop in Perth as teens.
How did this shape your perspective in your own business / brand?
Yeah, we met in art class during high school. Matt told me about a new skatepark that had just been built in Bassendean close to where he lived. That weekend we both went down there and since then have pretty much done everything together. We would skate every weekend without fail. We were right in to making videos, drawing, and obsessing over skate product in the stores and magazines that we couldn’t afford. I guess unknowingly, those years really helped shape us for starting our own brand. Skateboarding taught us that style and simplicity is key.
There’s something special about skating. You can’t fake it. You can tell if someone has skated for years or not straight away. Skateboarders are really good at weeding out the bullshit.
Fast forward a few years and we were both working at Beyond whilst studying Graphic Arts at Tafe. That was a really helpful launching pad for both how to get design ideas from our heads on to a t-shirts, and the basic knowledge of how the skate industry worked and other brands went about business.
The brand and store are both heavily influenced by those early years. Skateboarding exposes you to good music, good style, and breeds a fuck it / DIY attitude. If we didn’t skate growing up, I really doubt I would have done any of this. I’d probably would be working in an office.
What were the biggest challenges in opening your own store?
Time! Having a store eats up a lot of time. Someones gotta be there 7 days a week. The day to day running of it is endless. Before we had the store, we could come and go as we please. If we wanted to finish early, or start late, you could. But the having a bricks and mortar location requires a huge level of commitment. Lo-Fi will be 1 year old next month, which is insane. It’s gone crazy fast. We’ve recently got crew helping us out in the store which has been awesome. Prior to that, Matt & I did everything. We ran the brand in between serving customers at the store every day.
Challenges in starting your own Skate brand?
We started before the world of Instagram. So getting your name out there was hard work. Getting stores to take notice and carry your brand when they’ve never heard of you was tough. We were pretty lucky that we worked at Beyond at the time, so getting the first shop on board was pretty simple. But cold calling and emailing stores around the place in the first couple years wasn’t always fun. Now it’s a lot easier. After a while you cross that point of you approaching stores, to them approaching you.
The links between skate and fashion…
Skateboarding and fashion have strong links for sure. Over the years skateboarding has usually lead so many trends, and that’s still prevalent now. In my opinion, clothing, style and spot choice are more important than the trick itself. Some people might disagree, but there’s no denying it.
Other influences / strong inspirations for you personally, and also Butter Goods?
Music is a heavy source of inspiration. The artwork as well as the music from my record collection influences a lot of the designs we run. We’re also super in to a lot of early skate brands from the 80s and 90s, as well as classic brands like Ralph Lauren, Polo Sport, Tommy Hilfiger. They serve as good source of inspiration for sure.
How is the skate scene in Perth, and Australia – compared to Europe or US?
Small. The scene and industry is much smaller in Australia, and even smaller here in Perth. With the internet these days I think there’s very little differences in skateboarding across other countries. When travelling you notice that skateboarders are pretty much the same no matter where you go. But that’s what’s rad. If you rock up in another city with a skateboard, you’re pretty likely to find some crew that will show you around as if they’ve known you for years.
Future projects / plans for Buttergoods?
We’re working on a new video project with Ben Gore & Alex Campbell, that’ll have a good montage of all the other team guys too. We just got back from filming in Sydney which was sick. That should be out in a couple of months. We’ve got a few collaborations in the works with both Butter & Lo-Fi which is exciting. We’ll also be launching the Lo-Fi webstore just in time for our 1 year anniversary late next month.