The threads from the girls-only Icelandic shred brand have had pride of place in our wardrobe for over a decade, and now for the first time ever Nikita are making snowboards to match. Big news huh. So last issue we caught up with co-founder Heida Birgisdottir to get the skinny
Interview by Sam Haddad
How long have you wanted to make Nikita snowboards for?
It’s been in the back of our heads for a long time, but we also wanted to keep the focus on the clothing. There’s a lot of competition in the snowboard market so we didn’t want to rush into it and there’s a lower margin profit than clothing, but we just felt like this season was good timing.
What kind of snowboards did you want to make?
We wanted to offer a jib/park board and an all-mountain freestyle board and for them to be quite affordable. We made them at the Elan factory and chose from two moulds that we thought would work well for Nikita.
What country do you expect them to sell the most in?
That’s a tough question… Germany, Austria, the countries around the Alps, but we’re trying to get the American market a bit stronger now, though we want to sell to the right shops obviously.
How did you decide upon the graphics?
The Nikita Chickita has the graphic I designed for a jacket last year and the Sideways Sista was done by an Icelandic artist AC Bananas for a tee and we thought it could work for a snowboard. It’s so fun to make your own snowboard and be in control of stuff like that. 15 years ago I would never have imagined that I’d make my own snowboard one day. It’s intended to compliment our outerwear, we tried to use the similar colours, and it’s nice for the shops to display them together. It’s an exciting project and it’s exciting to see how it will do. It’s hard to know how it will go as there are lot of boards out there but there aren’t many specific girls boards.
How should brands specifically target women?
I don’t know. Girls are always a little bit stressed in front of guys in stores, and as a lot of the boardsports stores are run by guys, and often there might not even be a girl working there, so I think they’re stressed to go in and ask about the snowboards as they feel they don’t know anything about it and they’ll look really stupid. It would be nice if there were more girl-specific stores or if shops divided their stores more and had girls working there.
If I look at Iceland, a lot of teenage girls who get into snowboarding don’t last. They might find it interesting at first but they’re not patient enough to get good and then they just drop out and focus on like dressing up and being around boys. I don’t know, you have to have quite a strong personality to really stick to snowboarding. I don’t know what the best method to keep the girls would be but one thing would be the stores, they need to be more friendly for the girls to go in there, not that the guys aren’t friendly, but you know what girls are like, they make a problem before they even go there, like, “What am I going to ask? I’m going to feel like an idiot…" It’s something we all need to think about. We need to keep the girls in the sport from the start.
I think that’s why so many girls like Nikita. And I know more girls like Nikita than buy it as lots of girls maybe can’t afford to buy it or they buy one piece each winter, as like most brands in the industry it’s not cheap. But we get so many emails from girls thanking me for creating Nikita as they finally found themselves in something you know, like someone is focusing on the girls, they really appreciate that. It makes them really feel a part of something and that they’re welcome in the sport. We try to support the girls as much as we can, giving them a chance to be a part of what we do and with all our contests.