“We travel a lot together, skate together, but it’s pretty exciting to go into a business venture together as well,” said 30-year-old professional skateboarder Sean Malto. “…It’s always been a dream of mine to do one with a good friend.”
That friend is fellow pro-skater Curren Caples, who, along with his father Evan Caples, Malto and professional surfers Jack Freestone and Mikey February founded Kelsen, a line of clean, unisex, personal-care products that launches in mid-October.
“I’ve been hit up by a few companies to do things for them,” said 23-year-old Curren. “But none of the companies really did [it] in a way that felt right…and then me and my dad had the thought of doing our own.”
A former pro-surfer himself, Evan — owner of Momentum Ride Shop, a skate, surf and bike store in Port Hueneme, Calif. — has been immersed in surf and skate culture for years. After Malto came on, the father-son duo recruited Freestone and February.
“This is a space new to a lot of us, but it all seemed right,” said Curren, who’s based in California. Malto grew up in Kansas City, while Freestone, 27, is from Australia, and February is from South Africa. Together, the four athletes have almost two million Instagram followers (close to a million of them are Malto’s alone). “…The way that we got Jack and Mikey, we were trying to figure out who would fit the mold of the brand and play a role, not just as a co-owner but actually take interest in it. Jack is an amazing surfer and stylish dude. Mikey is an amazing surfer and has a super rad vibe all around. When we approached them, they were super psyched to be part of it…it all came together in the last six months.”
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The guys are cofounders alongside Kim Walls, a skin-care veteran with years of experience in the industry. Walls, who joined the team early on, was able to share her expertise in formulating the products — a range that’s clean and features sustainable packaging made of organic and natural ingredients.
The line, expected to launch on kelsenproducts.com as they seek retailers, features a pomade for $28.50; a hair conditioner, as well as a two-in-one shampoo and body wash, both for $26. Ingredients include sea kelp, sea fennel and green tea, which are responsibly sourced and certified safe by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that specializes in environmental research and advocacy.
“[Kelsen’s] mantra is ‘Digging in at Every Turn,’ a nod to both sports and a brand promise to do our very best,” shared Greg Adams, chief marketing officer and general manager of the brand. Adams, who took on the role after meeting Walls, has more than 15 years of experience across consumer categories that include action sports and personal care. “We applied this concept to everything, from the ingredients to the packaging. We want to do more than just make good products. We want to make products you can feel good about. We want to fuel creativity, to inspire potential, to stand with you in respecting and protecting the environment.”
Kelsen, which is cruelty-free and micro-plastic free, is working with 1% for the Planet, an organization with members that pledges to contribute at least 1 percent of its annual sales to environmental causes. The brand’s sustainable endeavors are of great importance, said Curren: “I’m pretty stoked when I can tell people that.”