Nitro Circus veteran Brandon Schmidt is known for World Firsts on the Giganta Ramp and being one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. The multi-threat athlete rides BMX and snowboard, as well as contraptions like trikes, but now he’s embarking on a new venture, starting an action sports lifestyle brand that’s all about doing what he does best: going big on whatever you like to ride, and having an awesome time while doing it. Hellphy.com is open for business, and we caught up with Schmidty to find out more about what it means to live the Hellphylife.
The Kicker: Tell us how this all got started.
Brandon Schmidt: Back in February on the Australia Cap City tour, I was all about the phrase “Esketit,” and it was starting to catch on with fans. Granted, that was not my phrase — Micah [Kranz] told me I had to come up with my own thing. We spent hours on the thesaurus trying to come up with something new, but nothing that worked. A few nights later all the boys were hanging out and Jed [Mildon] used the term “friendly” to describe a cool situation. Everyone asked what that was about, and Jed explained that in New Zealand they use the term “mean” like we would use the term “cool.” Jed then said that he was trying to throw a positive twist in and say “friendly” instead of “mean.” I chimed in and said, “Ahhhh it’s like saying ‘that’s sick,’ and ‘that’s healthy.’ I freaked because it worked so well. We aren’t very healthy, we put our boys through hell — we are hellthy! At that moment I knew that I found my new thing, but it wasn’t quite there. The next day when I was trying it out on tour I told Vicki Golden and she said, “Naaah, you need to make it ‘hellphy’ with the ph, make it gangster.” That’s how the whole phrase hellphy came to be. After looking it up and finding almost zero results that had to do with the term hellphy, with no definition anywhere, I decided to snag it up, buy the domain, and run with this new term to describe the lifestyle we live. None of this would have happened without Micah constantly pushing on tour, and all the boys’ support!
The Kicker: What was the moment you realized that the Hellphylife had momentum beyond just a fun inside joke with friends?
Brandon: We started the Hellphylife Instagram account on February 12th, and within five days we had broken over 1,000 followers. I would say at about Day 2 or 3 I realized that I might have something potentially really awesome. It was about then that I decided that I was going to go full force with this all and make a lifestyle/brand. The website finally released at just over seven months from start day, but we hit the ground running. This is only just the start, big plans for where this company is going to go.
The Kicker: Is this a one-man show, or are you working on it with anyone else?
Brandon: This originally started as myself on tour with all of the Nitro boys helping me out to make it a thing. As things started ramping up, I ended up taking on my sister, who is an accountant, to deal with all finances, and my mom and dad handling shipping and everything that’s needed to be done at home while I’m away gathering content for the new YouTube channel and website. Micah is helping with blog posts for the website. None of this would have been possible without the help of Ryan Unchurch and Edge Design Agency — they helped me out from Day 1! Logo design, product sourcing, product design, animations, the website build — they literally have been there every step of the way. I believe we are sitting down soon because they would like to be a part of the company and help grow this huge.
The Kicker: The new website is slick, and you’ve already got merch up. What’s next for this brand?
Brandon: What’s next for the brand is content! I’m going to be focusing on gathering as many blog post stories and film blogs for the new YouTube channel. Now that the website is up and live I can take a step back from that and focus on what I really want to do with this all: To have a place for everything crazy action sports related where you can go and find out about everything that’s happening in the world of the Hellphylife!
The Kicker: What are some of your longer term goals?
Brandon: The biggest goal would be to bring the action sports community closer together. To give kids a lifestyle they can fall under instead of just the object they ride. I want skaters and scooter riders to look at motocross riders and to all see themselves as living the Hellphylife and less of breaking them down into just a skater or a scooter rider or moto rider. There is too much unnecessary hate towards each other, when in reality we are all the same: adrenaline addicts who like to go fast, high, and send it big. We are one. We are hellphy.
The Kicker: We see you take user submissions on the site. Tell us about that. What type of submissions are you looking for?
Brandon: I’m looking for content of spectacular feats, things that blow people’s minds. I’m looking for edits of you and all your friends getting crazy and sending it. I’m looking for the craziest crash clip that you have ever gotten. I’m looking for anything that you think is hellphy!