Eddie Wearn – Mint’s Q&A with ShedNine mastermind

Eddie-Wearne-4Eddie Wearne, the Owner and operator of ShedNine Core Store has been running his local Surf, Skate, Snow shop tucked away in a quiet strip of shops near the Rye Ocean Beach for going on Ten years. Bricks and Mortar retail vs the Internet in the modern world is no easy challenge. Eddie is a hardworking, community supportive man always busy helping promote and support local youth, musicians sports clubs, his shop team and running events. Somehow, Eddie still seems to find more surfing time than most people could dream of.

MINT: Can you enlighten us on how you find the balance between working and surfing and tell us about the upcoming Indifference gig at Baha? We are familiar of ShedNine as the store and label but what do “FTW” and “Vagrant” Stand for?

WEARNE: Yeah for sure. I generally work seven days, sixty to seventy hours per week instore at ShedNine. Thats retail, you know – to make it work, you really have gotta be there.

During daylight savings, I get to surf most days either dawn or dusk and for that I am blessed. Without that, I would have given up years ago. We are the closest surf store to the ocean, so we really rely on distinct markets, the hard core surfers, the locals, the tourists and holiday makers. Like many coastal businesses, we are generally busy during school holidays and mostly fairly quiet in between, although a good run of quality surf or snow and a bit of luck can bring in good business on any given day.

Some days I’ll sit in the shop from nine am till seven pm and sell nothing. Those are the days where I need to keep busy, to maintain a positive mindset. So yeah, I’m always tapping away at other interests and side projects.

My main passion is unearthing and promoting the wave of local talent, whether it’s in the form of the athletes we sponsor, musicians, photographers, film makers, artists or whomever. There is a huge pool of talent on the Peninsula, and plenty that, on a global scale, goes relatively unnoticed.

I foresee change. The time is now, the kids of the Peninsula are surfing, skating, snowboarding, bodyboarding and riding dirtbikes and pushing their skill level higher than ever before. I’m proud and stoked to be a part of that, a member of both the local Peninsula Surf Riders Club and the Peninsula Bodyboarders Club and a friend of The Moss Skate Crew.

These groups do so much to inspire the Groms coming up. I have personally driven over a thousand people, to the snow and back safely over the past decade. It is a lot of work but I’m stoked to be involved. There’s a pile of talented musicians, artists, photographers and filmmakers, coming through. The digital age is now, it’s exciting.

Even going on forty years of age next year, deep down I still feel like I’m a seventeen year old running around in a broken, fifty-year-old body. I wake up and think about going surfing, skateboarding or snowboarding. That is never gonna change.

It’s been a natural progression and a dream come true to be able to help others build their profiles, particularly helping the young groms getting their first sponsors. That’s the catch, nowadays with online shopping, it’s kind of like driving the wrong way down a one way street. You might find some items cheaper on eBay, but are they gonna sponsor your kid, or the kid next door for skateboarding? Are they gonna give prizes to the local surf comp, or footy club, or Lions Club raffle, or clothes to the Friday Club for the hungry or whatever charity it is knocking on the door on any given day of the week? No, they’re not.

You can’t door-knock eBay and ask for some giveaways for the girl scout raffle or for the basketball team. Are they going to raise funds for suicide prevention or for a dying man to fly overseas, to visit his wife for the last time? No, they’re not. People need to support small businesses over the big chains, shop local and think global. Period.

In a perfect world, there would be no darkness – only joy. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect and the reality is that there is huge pressure on the next generation just to survive. The cost of living has risen, unemployment, homelessness, mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, theft, violence, crime and suicide are at an all-time high. Anyone willing to open up has tales of losing friends to suicide. The numbers are rising and show no sign of slowing down.

Many people can’t even afford their rent, let alone fees to take their rubbish to the tip. The streets are a dumping ground. The world is choking by our vicious cycle of pollution and abuse. Australia is no longer the land of the free. Melbourne is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world.

Australia still is the the lucky country, the Peninsula is so beautiful with her seasons and changes, but as locals we need to work together to support each other and look after each other more, so that the next generation can learn from us. It really is one of the best places to live in the world. We are blessed.

Running ShedNine has been very rewarding, supporting a team of athletes, especially connecting them with various sponsors through our store. Some of these athletes have gone on to be international stars in their own right, while some have just had a whole lot of fun. We help promote and support them as much as possible, and as long as we are in business, that will never change, but it’s really all up to them as individuals to see how far they can take it.

Vagrant Apparel is our new side project.It’s a fresh venture – a grass roots, premium quality, boutique label.

Our philosophy with Vagrant is different – there is no team. Instead, the customers are the faces of our social media and a percentage of profits of all Vagrant Apparel go directly to various charities, supporting homeless youth, beach cleans and recycling programs. We want to keep the quality as high as possible and keep things simple, humble, grow slowly and shape boards on the side, out the back of the shop, one by one.

At the moment the only way to buy Vagrant Apparrel is in store, over the counter at ShedNine. It’s not available online but over the years that may change. We don’t aspire to make this a huge brand at all, quite the opposite, but it is for a genuine cause where every little bit helps.

When Matt Dee, the founder of FTW revolution rang me from Sydney and asked me if I wanted to be a Victorian representative for FTW, I was a little anxious. He had already recruited infamous big wave hellmen, Sydney’s Koby Abberton, and Tasmania’s Marti Paradisis and even though Marti is a close friend and rides for our ShedNine store, to be honest I felt a little undergunned next to those guys.

As per usual I suggested he hook up one of our up-n-coming grommets from the ShedNine team. After all, I’m nearly forty and supposed to be winding down. “Brother, I want you man!” Matt said in his deep, rough, but strong and persuasive voice. “I want someone older who’s been through the ups and downs, some one who can talk to the kids in need. As a label we need someone who can ride any kind a board, surf, skate, snow and that is you brother. You got the shop, we put the clothes in there, that’s the only shop in Vicco for now, when the kids come in lost and need to talk I know they are in good hands with you man.”

Matt Dee, the founder of FTW grew up in poverty, often hungry, surfing the windswept, bay waves of Aspendale as a child in the ’80s, he later moved to Sydney. When Matt lost his brother John to suicide, he bottomed out, his best friend, his rock and his brother was now gone.

If that wasn’t hard enough, not long after his schizophrenic sister took her own life too. He faced extremely hard times but pushed on through and past the suicidal thoughts and nightmares that were his every day.

Matt was down, but he was strong, he came through from ground up and the label that he had started with his brother John was became his outlet. Years later, FTW revolution is a solid and professional movement, a full crew on a mission to reduce and break down the stigma behind mental illness and help reduce the alarming statistics of suicide.

They appeal to the youth, the battlers and the demographic that are not going to sit on hold waiting for a five to ten minutes on the phone to someone like Lifeline. They have raised over $340,000 toward suicide prevention, through events and their clothing line alone. They have almost finished creating an app which will be free to download on all mobile phones worldwide. This free app will appeal to the modern day youth, help minimise the number of suicides, not just in Australia but on a global scale.

So I’ve been repping FTW revolution, for a year or so now, it’s available instore at ShedNine. Some of the kids ask me “do they pay you to surf?” Of course not, we pay them, ShedNine pay them, they need and deserve every cent to keep their wheels turning.

The most common question is, “what does it mean?” FTW, Free the weirdos? Find the way? For the weekend? Forget that weekend? Full tilt wow? For the water? Free trade world? Fear the worst? Fortunately there’s wasabi? Fortune this way? Fake tatt warfare? Free the whales? Forever the winter? Forget the web? What the F backwards? Whatever you want.

The reason it works is because everyone asks what FTW means, then when you explain to that the person it’s more than a label, it’s a movement who raise funds for mental health and suicide prevention, that there is where the magic happens. People start to open up about their problems and once that conversation has started, the stigma around talking about one’s mental health vanishes. Once people are open and can talk freely about it the chances of self harm are reduced.

As a Vic rep, with many people opening up to me these days, that’s not always easy to deal with – I’m a people person, but I’m no shrink. But all those that have opened up to me are still here and alive, and to me that’s what’s important!

On a more cheerful note, come along to our huge, cheerful celebration of life, “#Inddifference”, the FTW / ShedNine collaboration Friday Fest Fundraiser gig at Baha Tacos in Rye on 15th April, from 7.30pm sharp.

First published in Mint Magazine – April 2016

Author: Anne-Marie Tunks

Share This Post On
468 ad