Siblings’ surf brand on a mission

November 13, 2021 BY

A shared passion for surfing was the seed that grew into a flourishing business for brother and sister duo Sarah Quinney and Dan O’Connell.

As with many of the best start-ups, their venture came about through identifying a need for a surf board cover that worked better and lasted longer than the traditional offering.

And so BoardSox was born.

“My sister and I have been surfers all my life, she was actually the one who taught me how to surf when I was about seven years old down at Ocean Grove beach,” Dan says.

“Being surfers we were always getting in and out of the car between checking surf spots and putting our boards in old polyester socks on and off.

“Sarah had this idea of creating canvas covers so wax didn’t stick to them and they were much more durable and practical – and we decided to commit to the concept and build a brand around it.”

The best-selling Bombora model with artwork by Zac Bennett (aka Salt Water Dreamtime) and 10 per cent of proceeds going to Juraki Surf organisation.

 

When they started out four years ago the brand was based in Torquay but Sarah has since relocated to Ocean Grove where she operates from her garage, working alongside the company’s local staff to cut, sew and package their product.

BoardSox are made from canvas to ensure they are more durable than their polyester counterparts which usually rip and tear, ending up in landfill.

“We also put a resistant coating on our covers which keeps the water off leaving them from becoming damp and stinking out your car, we also find this coating helps covers to slip boards in and out with greater ease,” Dan explains.

The BoardSox offering has grown to include travel covers, recycled towel hoodies, surf hats, foil covers and wax pockets made from offcuts.

Their products are sold around Australia – both online and through independent retailers – and overseas in New Zealand, the USA and Japan.

“We have been growing so steadily and we’re super proud of the inroads we have made in the surfing community,” Dan says.

“It’s pretty cool to see our brands stickers on cars and covers on cars all the time.

“We have definitely had some curve balls thrown at us through the pandemics and lockdowns, but we are making powerful steps forward.

“We are just about to release our third charity collaboration … we are also getting our website redesigned and have some exciting new ambassadors to announce in the coming weeks.”

The pair says while there were hiccups in the beginning, patience and their complementary skills was a key to their success.

“We have completely different roles and I think this one of our biggest strengths in the company,” Dan says.

 

“My sister is the e-commerce expert as her other job is she also runs a coaching business called The E-Commerce Business Coach.

“She handles all our Facebook, Instagram ads and the online store component, as well as being in charge of our wholesale, operations and dispatch.

“My other job is an independent surf coach so I have good connections within the surf scene.

“I handle our team ambassador and partnership program, wholesale accounts, content creation for Instagram and Facebook, creating blog posts and customer service handling returns and all online communication.

“We call it the dream team and it just works so perfectly for our brand.”

The use of social media advertising was crucial during lockdowns and BoardSox was able to increase sales by 413 per cent.

“We knew people would be spending more time shopping online and this really paid off, we think this will be a big trend going forward as well as people love the convenience and health and safety benefits,” Dan says.

“However, we are still pretty passionate about teaming up with independent surf shops to stock our products and support local retailers to getting back on their feet too!”

BoardSox is also committed to the environment and Patagonia is a brand the siblings look up to.

“To us leaving a legacy is more important than making millions of dollars – people respect and remember the brands who leave these legacies we believe,” Dan says.

The BoardSox offering has grown to include travel covers, recycled towel hoodies, surf hats, foil covers and wax pockets made from offcuts.

“In a sea of brands that are all about profits we feel we take our customers on a journey of giving back too. They really align with that!

“We also are creatives so that was a big part of the idea to be more creatively expressive but also socially conscious, this is where our artist/charity collaborations came from.

“We partner with an artist and a charity to create connection and give back where we can.”

Those collaborations include the best-selling Bombora model with artwork by Zac Bennett (aka Salt Water Dreamtime) and 10 per cent of proceeds going to Juraki Surf organisation.

The second is the Alien Flower with artwork by surfer, musician and artist Ozzie Wright and 10 per cent of proceeds going to One Wave.

The next collaboration with Jake Ross and Surfers for Climate is about to drop.

“Surfing has basically shaped both our lives so much, being so close to nature we just want to help protect what we have and we’re both passionate surfers and want to continue doing that,” Dan says.

“Creating BoardSox has surpassed what we thought possible and it’s growing and growing now so we just hope we can make even bigger inroads in 2022 in our charity work and spreading our message far and wide across Australia and internationally as an independent surf brand that all started in Torquay.”

Discover more on the BoardSox website and @boardsox on Instagram.

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