What started out as a side hustle while pursuing a future in skateboarding, Benny Gold has been churning out his signature graphics since the early ’90s. From designing party flyers, sticker bombing the streets of SF, and producing T-shirts for himself and friends, a younger Benny would have never guessed that years later his eponymous brand would grow into what it is today.
From numerous collaborations and brick and mortar stores, Benny Gold has become a fixture in the San Francisco community, offering season-after-season of casual, skate-driven soft-goods, neighborly conversation with each visit, and a decent cup of coffee.
In his earlier-published heartfelt letter to San Francisco, before the tech boom, Benny’s sentiments could be felt towards the changing landscape of retail and consumption habits. In a show of character, rather than have his cherished brand morph into something he no longer recognizes or feels connected to, Benny will be closing down his namesake brand to begin a new chapter of his life.
We wish Benny Gold and his team the best of luck for all future endeavors.
Below you can find Benny’s exclusive farewell letter:
With the new year, I am making a big change. I am bringing the Benny Gold brand back to its original roots as a personal design project. The brand was never meant to get as big as it did. I am thankful for the journey that it took me on but it is time to make a change.
A new year brings new beginnings. We’ve all heard some version of this, but it never rang so true to me until now. For the past few years, I’ve been toiling over what direction to take the Benny Gold brand in. It started as a personal design project with the sole purpose of allowing myself more creative expression than I was getting at my day job -— an exercise of virtues. But over the years it has become so much more than that. Each time I would decide to take a step back, a fan would come into the shop sporting a brand-related tattoo, or tell me that they pursued their dreams because of the work I was doing. It was moments like these that inspired me to keep pushing and growing the brand. Benny Gold is now an internationally distributed brand with a fan base that spans all corners of the globe. We have a beautiful flagship location in San Francisco and an outstanding staff that has helped me realize my full potential. The brand has become bigger than myself and I am forever grateful for this.
But with this success comes it’s own set of challenges. I now find myself growing less creatively as my days are spent managing people, budgets, and production issues. I am feeling increasing pressure to follow trends and go more “urban” in the attempt to capture more market share. A brand becomes a living, breathing thing and every brand has a life cycle -— well it’s become increasingly clear to me that the Benny Gold brand is nearing its end. I would rather bring it to a close and celebrate it’s life with integrity rather than push it to become something I no longer believe in.
It’s no secret that I got my start in streetwear designing for the esteemed Huf brand created by pro skater Keith Hufnagel. Keith was integral in helping me find the confidence to start my own brand. Huf closed their SF retail store right around the time I was opening the doors to my first storefront. Life has a funny way of coming full circle and I now have the honor of helping them come back to San Francisco. After the month of January we will be handing over the keys to our Valencia storefront to Huf and I can’t think of a better brand to inhabit the space.
The recently released Fall/Holiday collection will be the last full collection from the Benny Gold brand. I am a graphic artist at heart and all I’ve ever wanted to do is create meaningful things. Therefore, I will continue to put specialty products out into the world in very limited quantities, so stay tuned. Please stop in through the month of January to shop our remaining inventory, and stick around to celebrate, reminisce, and wish everyone here at Benny Gold the best in their new ventures.
Learn more about Benny’s accomplished career by tuning into episode 28 of Business of HYPE.