The Upside of Adversity with Brian Smith: The Birth of a Brand

Updated: November 19th, 2023

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Brian Smith is an Australian-born entrepreneur and founder of the UGG brand. He started his career as a public accountant, but left to pursue a business idea that aligned with his passion for surfing.

He moved to California and recognized the market gap for sheepskin boots in the area, and shipped 6 pairs from Australia to showcase around the surf shops. Although initially rejected, he gained endorsements and support from the surf community, and eventually sold the company to Decker's Outdoor Corporation after 17 years.

Brian Smith is now a sought-after speaker and business leader who shares his experiences and business acumen in various topics, including team building, company culture, and growth challenges. He authored the book "The Birth of a Brand," which details his journey in building the UGG brand into a global icon and provides guidance for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses.

Smith emphasizes the importance of perseverance and authenticity in pursuing business passions and using a spiritual approach towards the future of business. Despite his success, Smith continues to surf when not on tour.

About Ugg

  • UGG is a global lifestyle brand that offers footwear, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and children.
  • The brand is known for its iconic sheepskin boots, which were originally designed to keep surfers' feet warm after cold water sessions.
  • UGG has expanded its product line to include a variety of fashion and lifestyle items, including sandals, sneakers, slippers, outerwear, and handbags.
  • The brand has a strong presence in the fashion industry, with collaborations with designers such as Jeremy Scott and Phillip Lim.
  • UGG is committed to sustainability and has implemented initiatives such as reducing waste, using eco-friendly materials, and partnering with organizations to promote environmental awareness.