We've packed quite a bit into a decade here at HELM, and some of you may have been along for the ride since the beginning, but some of you may be new friends. That's why we want to celebrate turning ten by telling you six things you may not have known about the brand in this weeks edition of the Saturday Six.
I. Humble Beginnings
After countless hours of travel, many months of research and design, and endless work days and nights in Istanbul, we had 700 pair of boots (that’s 7 styles, 100 pairs each) shipped to Austin, TX. Thanks to a group of devoted, committed, and loving friends and family, the brand was officially launched in October of 2009. Aaron Franklin and his wife Stacy catered out of their trailer at the private party at a coffee roaster in East Austin, and HELM was officially started.
II. What's in a Name
The brand was named after the founder’s son who was named after his dear friend, Dave Helm. Joshua spent multiple summers in Guatemala and Honduras with Dave, and also learned much of his work ethic in the process. There are very few people as kind, selfless, generous, and hard working as Dave Helm. Wondering about the photo? It's from when Joshua and Dave were doing a complete custom build-out of his first shoe store in the Mission District, San Francisco in 2000.
III. On the Inside
There have been over 20 different quotes on the insoles of our boots and shoes since the beginning of HELM, primarily from authors and poets and listed by initials only - a guessing game of "Who said it?"
Stay tuned for new quotes every season, but a couple of our past favorites are:
“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – T.R.
“Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right or better.” - J.U.
So tell us, what’s in your HELM?
IV. Historical Design
Did you know that the Railroad Boot was originally designed and produced for The Railroad Revival Tour, one that featured some of our favorite bands (i.e. Willie Nelson and Band of Horses) Even cooler, the whole tour took place on a train that made stops throughout the U.S. Read more about it here in a writeup from Rolling Stone!
V. Party On
HELM has always been about the community and creativity, and we love to put on events to support artists and charities. In our East Austin store alone we’ve had over 40 art openings and parties, always with a super bartender serving complimentary local beers, and splendid mixed drinks using whiskey, brandy and mezcal. A couple of our favorites have been Abi Daniel, Will Bryant, Hallie Brewer, Geoff Peveto, Thomas Hooper, and Will Johnson.
VI. Cross Country
The HELM Van has toured and featured pop-ups with our friends all across the country. From Brooklyn to LA, Raleigh to Little Rock, San Antonio to Santa Barbara, San Francisco to Portland, and many more. Of course we love Austin and the awesome pop-ups we've had across our home town, but who doesn't love traveling to new places? Added perk - we get to come meet and see all of you, our extended HELM Family! Haven't come to your town yet? Give us a shout and let us know where we should head next!
Cheers to a decade of growing together - we wouldn’t be here without you.
A heartfelt thank you for coming along for this crazy ride. Here’s to another 10!