One weekend vacation in 2006 at the Hadley Estate outside of Guerneville, California, Chiva came into our lives. Chiva was a goat that felt most comfortable on her surfboard, in her tree, overlooking highway 116. Before her surfboard was installed, Chiva's spirit was undeniable. Each morning she would manage to climb her 200 pound body and balance her four legs onto a small notch halfway up the tree. Her balance and bouldering skills were admirable, but it was her stubborn demeanor and grit that inspired the brand Chivaz.
There is no better representative of this company than Chiva the goat. Goats by nature are humble, resourceful, adaptable, surprisingly balanced, yet often misunderstood by the general public. They are given a bad rap for eating tin cans, being a nuisance, and for their uncleanliness. In fact, the way we saw it, most of our friends were a lot like goats. People on skateboards, surfboards and bikes that often live on the fringes of society, yet tend to produce results no matter what environment they are put in.
So back to 2006, and back in the heart of Silicon Valley...
Bay Area weather gives people the opportunity to wear shorts far into what most people consider fall or early winter. Given the right socks, people can basically get away with wearing shorts or knickers the whole year round. The problem is that finding tall socks that look and feel right was impossible to do. Believe us, we tried!
Then one morning, on a surf excursion before our day jobs in the tech industry, it all came together. We could make the socks we wanted and, with the right tools, we could bring this product to a niche society. The Chivaz product would combine streetwear style designs with a goat’s attitude and skill-set to make a statement. Chivaz would give people the style and sure-footedness that make it easier to get through any day that they were unsure of what to wear.
So knee-high socks can continue to be knee-high socks. What we are selling here are Chivaz. They stand tall and they stand out. They are not just something you hide under your pants, they are an expression of you and the choice you are making with your lifestyle.
It has taken quite a while to get from point A to point B, but that is sometimes just what life gives you. Trying to work a day job and raise a family tends to slow down any entrepreneur, even the ones with the best intentions.
So in early 2012, it had been almost six years in the making and all we had were a few prototypes and a million ideas. At this point, we made a few tough decisions and cut out almost everything else in life to focus on making Chivaz a reality. We raised $20,000 on Kickstarter in June of 2012 and started shipping Chivaz around the world.
2013 - Late 2015 "Worn on Purpose"
Chivaz has continued to be a part-time passion driven company completely run by Matt Gilman. In Sept of 2015, Matt moved from Silicon Valley (a.k.a. the place with ridiculous rent) to Redmond, Oregon where he's hard at work re-tooling the product line, coming up with new designs and figuring out a way to get new product on the website. He even got to spend a few months full time working on Chivaz!
2016..."Stop Sheepin' Get Goatin'"
New product is currently being prototyped. New offerings (like subscriptions) now exist. The trip is growing. The word is spreading.
Product designs should be out in April.
I am working about 75% on Chivaz and 25% on side projects to pay the bills.
Here is a little bit more about Chivaz the product:
These are the four main differences of Chivaz when compared to regular “socks:”
1. Chivaz are comfortable, durable and well made. We have anguished over the materials and fit for more hours than you can believe.
2. Chivaz are not only designed to look good, but to look different than what you normally see. Bold colors, strong lines, and understated images. To maintain their original appearance, we plan to keep the manufacturing to small orders, so that you are always sporting a pair that is "limited edition."
3. Chivaz are tall socks that never fall down. We can't stand "quitters" that you constantly have to keep pulling up.
4. You can spot Chivaz from a block away. Each one has a hoof print on the bottom and a diamond logo stitched into the back.
Socks should be something you love to put on each morning and give you a reason to do laundry more than once a month. Whether you wear them with jeans or a pair of shorts, Chivaz will give you that extra bit of expression your wardrobe sometimes lacks. The whole idea is that socks are important; you wear them everyday, so it is time to stop making them an afterthought.