A lot of folks last year asked us why we relaunched the look of the HELM brand. It seemed to make so much sense to us on the inside but I suppose we take for granted that other people may not be as intimate with HELM’s history as we are. HELM started in 2009 as a whim when our owner Joshua Bingaman made contact with a group of shoemakers in Istanbul, Turkey. Joshua had them make a few styles in a few sizes, sold out of them and did it again. Joshua suddenly had a business on his hands so he had his brother in law whip together a logo, he ordered some packaging, and he rented a small office. Things bumped along until 2012 when the distance, the increasing quantities, the language barrier stress, the customs and import process all reached critical mass and it was quite obvious that we needed to move the whole operation closer to home and take things more seriously. People liked these crazy boots and we needed to find a more efficient and easier way to produce them. In Fall of 2012 we moved all production to the US, specifically Maine, and learned an entirely new way to produce. The new factory had a lot of advice for us to minimize risk while restarting production in a new facility. This meant our designs were very conservative and took the factory’s strengths into consideration as well as our more fashion-forward design elements. These last three years have been wonderful. We love our factory and the relationships we have there. We continue to learn more and communicate regularly. Our design process is getting more focused and defined and we are making the boots we want and growing the company the way we wish. When we look back at the company that was born in 2009, it is an entirely different company than the one we have today. The core community values are still there and our guiding principle is still to make a timeless boot in the highest quality materials we can find but the growth and maturity and education we have now makes us worlds apart from the beginning. Our long time graphic designer, Chris Bilheimer, recognized that change and approached us about a rebrand that launched concurrent to our Spring 2014 collection which was also the first time the HELM Boots visual aesthetic was visible across the entire seasonal offering.
“I could see that HELM was evolving beyond just a heritage brand and they needed a look to match their vision for the future,” said Bilheimer. “HELM will always have a classic and timeless foundation, but they never rest on cliches or follow trends. As proud as they are of their American manufacturing, there is more to the brand and their vision than the Americana aesthetic that has saturated the marketplace. I wanted to give them an identity that doesn’t look like anything out there now, but still feels familiar and comfortable.”
We love what he came up with. We feel like we finally found our footing. Pun fully intended.