the LA based designer nikosey spencer is obvs changing the game
Everything that lasts longer stays relevant for years & years to come, even ideas 💡.
KILLSPENCER was founded in 2009 and it all started with Spencer Nikosey — a Los Angeles-based industrial designer. His inspiration for performance, functionality and quality are inherent to everything he touches.
We had already fallen in love w/ KILLSPENCER's months ago: their design and premium artifacts reflect their passion for materials and timeless craftsmanship, all based on the principle that every handmade product is engineered for performance and utility. Headquartered in Cali, in a place where design, passion, sports, great ideas & attempts come together, all u want to do is create even more. & better.
As soon as we got to the City of Angels, we knew we had to see it IRL and def talk w/ Nikosey Spencer face 2 face.
You guys have a quote saying, “DREAM IT, BUILD IT”. How did the KILLSPENCER dream start?
Well, I always wanted to make things and build stuff. It all started off with skateboarding, where I was always building ramps and jumps and making t-shirts. I also played a lot of music growing up and was in a lot of bands making the flyers and all the artwork. Then I realized I really liked branding and making things, so, “dream it, build it” is more about us being able to know that it's OK to come up with any idea and build anything that we want. It's like you're following your passion. And when you're passionate about it, it's not work. It's a pleasure.
And what inspired its name?
Somebody wrote "kill Spencer" on a wall when I was a student in school. At first, that was really alarming to me and it was a very powerful statement and kind of shocking. But there's something unique about it, u know ? I looked up "what is KILLSPENCER?" And there was nothing. So I bought KILLSPENCER.COM and that became my moniker. It's kind of this tireless pursuit to become better, this pursuit of perfection. I'm so dedicated to becoming better at everything that I do, and that's what KILLSPENCER is: “don't stop me”. Giving a relentless effort in order to always improve — even if it kills me. That unwavering drive to succeed is what the KILLSPENCER name stands for. It’s a nod to ingenuity in construction and the constant pursuit of excellence in craftsmanship.
Your brand makes everything for tennis, baseball & football... Do sports play a part on your personal life, too?
Yeah. I play tennis frequently & I also play golf n baseball in local leagues. Even tho I don't play football, I sure can throw a fuck** perfect spiral really hard and fast, at the center of your chest. Every time. When my friends in the NFL come over, just being able to play sports with someone at that level is kind of – "I’m obviously not a pro, but I'm athletic enough to hang." I try to go hard with it 🏈💥. My friend Joc Pederson came over here and I was just: "how do we make this baseball bat better?", and now I'm learning from him how to make our products even better.
What KILLSPENCER pieces you actually use in your free time? You know, just 4 playing around.
I use this leather phone case every day, it's like our card carrier. I use my leather wallet. Then I made my belt. I mean, I use my pen. It's a really good pen. And so I use a sketchbook cover every day📝. Also, my backpack: & R-22 rucksack and so they use every day, a camera bag, a leather camera strap. You know, we were just playing with the soccer ball.
Do you think leather is a *thing* for sports?
Yeah. We mean by all its functionality and durability... Actually, that's how it first started. I think the reason why leather isn't used anymore is obviously because it's more expensive, and maybe it's not as consistent as synthetic material. Actually, leather is still used in baseball and it's gloves. A certain type of leather’s used for volleyballs, in football... For me, there's a lot of to make a leather basketball, that's what all the pros use. Also, I just want to be making stuff at that level eventually. Obviously, we're only 10 years in. But imagine what happens when we're fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years: how we're gonna just be sooo much better.
What are you working on lately?
So we just finished AirPod cases, a simple item, but I use it every day. But literally, it's just one of those things that's "why didn't someone solve this problem?" So.. I solved it. It's a great product, so..I'm working on that. It just dropped and it's available right here.We're working on a new Basketball Rim, one that's better and more improved. Where It's more figured out and more structural. We are working on a project with music, like making leather for music. But then...also making music, making a looot of music here. I absolutely love it.
Sustainability & leather: tell us your vision about this future.
One thing about leather that is amazing is that it is a byproduct of the food industry. So because people are eating meat, they're taking the leather (and more) in there. Nothing goes to waste. Another thing that's good about leather is that because it's so durable and so resilient, it will last forever. When we make something, the life of our product is 10 years, 20 years, 30 years.
How do u go for your creative process, designing and drawing?
I carry a sketchbook around with me. And I'm always thinking about what I can do to make something better. What can I do to solve a problem? What can I use our factory for? Then I open my sketchbook and I start drawing. So being able to see, to visualize the result. Then we build a prototype, then test it. After that, we make it better and do that thing again and again until it's perfect. That's what is amazing about design and in the process, don’t you think? 😌 Just to have a team of amazing talent here, helping me come up and make ideas happen. That's the most powerful thing. The better we are as a team, the faster the ideas come out and the better they are, the more pure they are.
Quick question: your fave L.A. places.
I mean, L.A. is amaaazing. There's so much here. I do a lot of studio visits and I go and visit a lot of artists and check out their studios or check out their founder, or their factories. Going and being inspired by people and their creative environments, that's really inspiring for me.
You said you produced some music here, too. Tell us more about that.
I grew up playing drums and since I was eleven I studied jazz. Music is art, and sports are like all one and the same thing. And over the years, I'd be buying instruments and they'd all be at my house, but I moved all the musical equipment here.
Because of the company & what we make, there's an automatic respect w/ a lot of cool artists. And back and forth. So I'm learning music through a lot of amazing talents.
We can def say that all your team is amazing. A S/O to them:
Our team is absolutely amazing. We have 14 people here. My sister, Danielle, is my business partner and is in charge of a lot of behind the scenes. And I've been working with Mauricio since day one. He trains everyone else under him. So everyone is at his level, and they don't even know like how good they are, you know? Because we're all *THAT* good. It’s like we're constantly making each other better.
Well, we're def buying ourselves everything, HBU?