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June 16, 2021 34 min

In our 10th episode Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome designer and apparel designer, the one and only Bob Smith to the Mt. Freelance podcast. 

Like so many designers, Bob went to the Kinko’s school of design, getting his start making band posters and fliers for the deli he worked at. This landed him a short stint at the Wieden+Kennedy studio before getting a job designing t-shirts at Nike in the late 1990s. He couldn’t help but notice Nike was exclusively focused on performance. 

So, he found an empty office, transformed it into a coach’s office with the help of the Home Depot and filled it with vintage Nike apparel and his own designs. While his immediate superiors were annoyed he wasn’t cranking out enough t-shirt designs, he eventually convinced the company to launch Nike Sportswear, an instant success that landed Nike on fashion runways and in stores like Barney’s. 

He shares that story with us! As well as how we came up with the idea of a Nike + Pendleton collaboration to benefit the American Indian College Fund, and why he left New Balance to create his own brand, Ore-Cal Sportswear


Not only is Bob a great designer and storyteller, he’s got loads of advice and insight into the creative process. Hear him explain why “a good idea is a good idea is a good idea”, how his rule of “complain for 10 minutes then shut up or do something” about changed his life, and why freelance is a series of micro-decisions. 

But our favorite might be “just because you like making pies doesn’t mean you should open a bakery.” That’s exactly why Aaron and Andrew are freelance and started Mt. Freelance and aren’t running our own agency.

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