Chad Hurley, the founder of YouTube, sold his company to Google for $1.65 million in 2006, and is now throwing himself into a full-time gig working on his new menswear label, Hlaska (the name is a mash-up of Hawaii and Alaska).
Why move away from an executive-level position in the tech industry to enter the fashion world? As Hurley explains to Forbes:
If something excites you, go for it. Anthony and I also don't believe that for Hlaska to exist we need to be as "dialed-in" as others believe. We make stuff we want to use. We make wallets, bags and shirts we'd want to see sold in stores. In that sense it's exactly like YouTube. We wanted something that wasn't available, so we built it ourselves.
Hurley's new line consists of sporty wallets and bags, as well as colorful cotton tees and hoodies, and he currently has stores in a slew of Silicon Valley hotspots -- Palo Alto, San Francisco, and San Jose. For 2011, however, Hlaska has set its sights on New York and LA.
When asked about Hlaska's potential competition, Hurley insists: "We're trying to do something here at Hlaska that hasn't been done maybe since Levi Strauss filled a void and remained true to his roots." The brand's main focus, says Hurley, is to "bring back American production, which -- jokes about tech folk joining the fashion fold aside -- is rather difficult to fault.