I Am Relevant: Robbie Jeffers

Name: Robbie Jeffers

Age: 32

Birthplace: Carson, California

Occupation: Sales/Marketing for Stussy, Nike

Sometimes the most incredible individuals and events in life aren’t front-page stories. Robbie Jeffers’ wonder years as a “chillin’ white middle class kid from Huntington Beach” doesn’t score as a made-for-TV drama, and at fifteen, his painless conversion to Christianity at an Altar Boys concert doesn’t come off as a mind-numbing testimony. These days, his job entails managing and directing professional skateboarders, wallowing in free gear, and caring for his wife and two-year-old daughter, Selah.

However, Robbie’s Orange County life digs much deeper. “I’m known in the industry as that Christian team manager or that Christian guy at Stussy,” Jeffers says. Proud of the association but all too aware of his momentous undertaking, he says, “A lot of big skaters ask me for advice sometimes. God uses my position to reach a lot of these high-profile skaters and lead by example. I’m the only Bible these guys will ever read,” pausing a moment, before replying, “I know they watch.”

His phone rings again. Throughout the course of the interview, Jeffers’ phone has been ringing like Miss Cleo’s, and as I gaze around the room, I’m in style wonderland. Rasheed Wallace Nikes (one of five pairs made), Mark Gonzales’ art, wall-to-wall shoes and skateboard decks. How did this guy get here?

In true American Dream tradition, yes, he started out as a janitor. “I started out sweeping the warehouse here,” he relates without hesitation. That’s when the skateboarding and urban clothing market began to reconfigure, and that’s when Stussy’s owner approached him to man the wheel of their skate department.

“I basically put a face to Stussy’s name,” Jeffers says, not the easiest task when you’re talking about a twenty-year-old company that took the surf/skate world by storm, transformed youth fashion in America and the world over, and is still alive and kicking. After directing the corporation back into the open arms of the skate industry, some company named Nike gave him a holler.

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“Nike has always been a big admirer of Stussy, saw how Stussy got into skateboarding and as far as presence in Japan,” he explains, “they appreciated what I had done and they asked me to do the same for them.”

So what exactly is Jeffers doing? “Just trying to invent new looks with keeping in touch with who we are,” he simplifies, “Basically, Nike’s a nine billion dollar major corporation that I’m trying to take underground, and I’m accomplishing that with the riders I picked up. I didn’t go after the superstars, I went after the ‘skater’ skater –riders who were respected amongst their peers, not the flavor of the month skater but someone with longevity.”

That doesn’t mean he hasn’t attracted the attention of big-namers. The A-list of the industry has been riding him like a merry-go-round to get sponsored, yet Jeffers’ heart shows through as he remarks, “I didn’t do anything, I don’t have any accomplishments, I’m just being truthful. Other people might see otherwise, but I think God just orchestrated it all and used Balam’s donkey here.”

[Excerpted from I AM RELEVANT, available from the Relevant store.]

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