Back to Butta basics - the interview

Posted on Thursday 28th June, 2012 Times Viewed: 5138
Butta is the latest brand to be sweeping the feet off the UK snowboard scene - a British-born, ethical, inspirational, innovative, environmentally-friendly and (quite frankly) totally rad snowsports wax company, who first seduced us with the awesome scent of their warm wax on the Austrian slopes of Kaunertal.

Interview - Kaz Willmer
So we hit up the Butta workshop in Bracknell on the day of the Southern Freestyle Series, to catch up with Jim Stewart - the man, the legend behind the brand. Coincidentally, someone had left the doors of their pimping VW Campervan open, so we chilled down inside, cracked open a few beverages and had a chat about what makes Butta so awesome, and why you should be getting your mitts on some too.

Kaz: What is Butta?
Jim: Butta is one of the most surreal things that has happened to me! Butta started as a product which was created purely to use myself as a technician and a snowboarder, but it seems that what was created was something that the UK was crying out for!

Kaz: Who are the faces behind Butta?
Jim: There are 2 of us that own the company, myself (Jim Stewart) and my business partner Dan Soane (Burns). We are both keen snowboarders who have big love for the mountains.

Kaz: Where are you based?
Jim: Here in the UK! Our offices are in Leatherhead, and we have our workshop at Bracknell ski slope.

Kaz: What involvement do you have in Bracknell?
Jim: I was approached by the Southern Freestyle Club to come down and see them at Bracknell. As soon as I got there I could see the enthusiasm these guys and girls had for freestyle, but something was lacking, there didn’t seem to be a strong vibe kicking off. So we got involved!
We now rent the workshop at Bracknell where we hold masterclass workshops for people to learn how to look after their equipment.
We maintain the kickers and rails down there, and have plastered them with our logo!
And we attend all the Freestyle meets to help encourage the kids to progress with their riding.
I think having a UK brand behind them has really helped them to have a buzz about what they are doing, and attendance is increasing every week,

Kaz: What made you get involved with wax?
Jim: A while back whilst working as a technician I was handed a medical press release from the DHS (dept of health services) in California. It shocked me. I never knew what a flouro carbon was, let alone the damage it was doing to the environment, and my body! I asked my employer for an eco wax to use, and we didn’t have any! So…. Butta began!

Kaz: What makes Butta different from other wax?
Jim: Other than what I have already mentioned I think the main difference I see is the process, every block of Butta is hand-made and packaged by myself and Burns. So everytime you pick up a block, you know the quality is there. We carry the ethical way throughout Butta, you only have to come to our office to see that everything gets recycled, from our paper to our desks and furniture !!

Kaz: How do you get your wax smelling so good?
Jim: That secret will die with me….!!

Kaz: How do you go about testing your waxes?
Jim: I am lucky enough to have met people from all over the world whilst on my travels and seasons, so Butta is sent to many destinations for testing. We also test vigorously here in the UK indoor slopes, and of course we HAVE to go to the mountains at least 2-3 times a season for testing!

Kaz:What different waxes do you have?
Jim: We now have 4 waxes in the range: The Original, the rub-on, the ECO, and the DRY slope wax. Go check our website for details.

Kaz: Where did the name come from?
Jim: I will take credit for that one!

Kaz: Tell us what Butta was up to at the Snowboard Test...
Jim: We were lucky enough to be offered a last minute spot at the test… thankyou Ian Samson!
We basically set up a waxing tent for people to come and test out all our products, I think I must have waxed at least 300 boards in the few days we were there. It was great exposure for us, and we signed some new UK riders to the team too, so combine this with the epic parties, it was a top week!

Kaz: What feedback from the industry did you get on the wax?
Jim: Everyone was buzzing on it. It was great to convert people who don’t wax boards, to come test Butta and realise the difference it makes! And having all the brands there support us was unreal.

Kaz: Do you get involved in any ski/board events?
Jim: We will get involved in as many events as possible! I’m in this game because I love it. You meet so many great people in this industry and the only times we get to catch up is at events. So if anyone out there is holding an event, competition or anything, let me know and we’ll hook you up some gear!

Kaz: You sponsor a lot of UK riders... who are they?
Jim: The team has grown A LOT in the last few months but we have some amazing riders on there. Being on the Butta team is not just about how good you are on the slope, but off too! These guys and girls are out there representing Butta 24 hours a day!
Here they are: Josh Ainger, Liam Beardsmore, Katie Blundell, Simon Cudlip, Tom Farrow, Cody Hierons, Emily Keen, Seb Kern, Angus Leith, Becky Menday, Scott Penman, Marty Roberston, , Tom Saunders, Anna Vincenti, James Webb, Ross Welch and Connor Welch. We also support the Blitz Freestyle team, various UK University Teams and SuperRad summer camps.

Kaz: What criteria do you look for when looking for a skier/rider to sponsor?
Jim: I’m not sure what it is, I just get this feeling about someone. I look at them and think “I want you on the Butta team!”
I always say its not just about how good you are at riding, its about how you carry yourself on and off the slopes, and having a lot of support behind you is great, especially a strong family influence.

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Kaz: What tunes do you shred to?
Jim: I never let anyone listen to my Ipod, its too embarrassing! I have everything on there from 2 step garage to Dolly Parton!

Kaz: Powder day/Park sessions?
Jim: Its all about a park day with ya mates, buzzing of each other, throwing new tricks. But you will see me on those big dump days with my Burton fish in hand!

Kaz: Domes/dry slope?
Jim: Either as long as I’m riding….

Kaz: Favourite place to ride?
Jim: Gotta be Val d’Isere, its where I seasoned myself!

Kaz: Favourite park feature?
Jim:I love scaring myself on huge kickers, but I shuld prob stick to rails!

Kaz: Favourite people to ride with?
Jim: My brothers, they are the ones that got me riding, and there’s nothing better than riding with them, whether that’s on a mountain, or in the sea!

Kaz: Tell us about your workshop...
Jim: Its more of a promo building really! Its does function as a workshop, but during the summer we are using it more as a base! Come see us down there on a Tues night or Sunday morning. We prefer to teach people how to take care of their equipment, but yeah we can do servicing and repairs. Look out for the Willy Wonka style tickets in the bars, and at comps to win a workshop evening with Butta!

Kaz: How important is being an ethical/environmentally friendly company to you?
Jim: Massively important! It’s the whole reason Butta started! We try our best in everyway to be environmentally friendly. You’ve only got to see the way we furnished our office to believe that!

Kaz: How important is it in your view that consumers support local shops and independent brands?
Jim: Theres nothing I used to love more than hanging out at my old local surf/skate snow shop, Low Pressure We used to go down there, chill out and play hackysac! That’s whats shops are meant to be about! So support your local shops for sure!!! And the more you support independant brands and shops, the more we give back!

Kaz: Why is getting your board serviced so important?
Jim: The base of board or skis comes to you immaculate when new, it needs to stay that way! Overtime they will slow down, and at a rate you probably wont notice, until one day it stops!!
Show me a car that hasn’t been serviced regularly that still runs nice, the principal is the same!
If not a service, then at least treat yaself to a wax!
Where do you hope to take the company in the futures? Is there designs to branch out into other areas?
That’s for me to know, and you guys to find out…….. but watch out for us, we got big plans!

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Kaz:The look of the wax (a block of butter) is rather inventive. Did this come after the company name or before?
Jim: Kinda at the same time.

Kaz: Is your wax better for the environment than the other wax companies on the market?
Jim: Theres other Eco friendly waxes out there that are also doing a grand job. But I believe in Butta! It rides better than any wax I know!

Kaz:Are there any exciting developments in the works for Butta we should be looking forward to?
Jim: Come see us at Ski Show London for the release of our new PRO wax!

Kaz:Do you think people look after their boards properly?
Jim: Nope! There are people out there that do, but if we are all honest, we could all do more!

Kaz:Any tips for storing a board over the summer?
Jim: Get a storage wax on it, the oils that are contained within the structure of the wax will slowly impregnate the base, then come winter your board will ride awesome! Also get it prepped ready, the first thing you wanna do when you get to the mountains is ride, not mess around getting you gashes filled, edges sharpened!

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Kaz:If we can’t get to Bracknell, where can we get hold of Butta?
Jim: Check out our website for our distributor list! www.butta.co.uk
And we’d love to hear from ya, whether you wanna stock Butta, or just have a question about servicing and waxing, get in touch!

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