There’s a saying in Hollywood that goes something like, “It takes ten years to make an overnight star.” The further you dig into other industries, the more that sounds like a universal truth. Someone, or something, might appear to blow up from out of nowhere, but trust that years of blood, sweat, and tears led up to that moment.
Nick Tershay, better known as Nick Diamond, is no exception. His company Diamond Supply Co. has been insanely popular for the last half-decade. Their products include everything from skate hardware to a Dunk collab with Nike, and everyone from Kanye West to Ryan Sheckler reps Diamond. And that wasn’t an accident. Tershay started Diamond in 1998, taking over a decade to build the massively successful brand he now helms.
What is Diamond Supply Co.?
Diamond Supply Company was started as a skateboard hardware brand, making nuts and bolts, which later expanded into bearings and grip tape, and obviously t-shirts and hats and other accessories to go along with it.
Diamond’s been around from ’98 till now, so 15 years. How has streetwear changed from then to today?
I don’t really know how to define streetwear, especially growing up as a skateboarder and just paying attention to skate brands and other brands that I might’ve liked, like Polo. I didn’t really pay attention to what was going on. I knew of brands like X-Large. I used to like Stüssy, but you could buy that at Macy’s. I didn’t really think of that as a street brand.
How have smaller, independent skate brands changed?
Things changed a lot because skateboarding and streetwear grew together. In the ’80s skateboarding was really big, but in the ’90s—the time that I was coming up—it was like the Dark Ages of skateboarding. Everyone was just street skating and companies were barely doing any business. And then the late ’90s, maybe early 2000s, it started picking up with the X-Games. All that stuff blew skateboarding up. I feel like street brands grew with it because they were independent and people would buy skate stuff, but there was nothing else cool to buy, so they were buying streetwear. It’s another edgier thing for kids to wear, with skateboarding clothes and streetwear gear.
On the other side of streetwear, it’s crazy how “urban” plays into the whole thing.
Yeah. It is different, because urban wear, most of the brands were built by big corporations. Or they started as small brands but big corporations took them over right away. So they became these gigantic, multi-million-dollar companies almost overnight, some of ’em making hundreds of millions of dollars. As a skate or streetwear brand you wouldn’t even know where to sell your stuff to be able to do that kind of business. That’s why the urban brands are everywhere.
Is there good money to be made in streetwear?
There’s great money in clothes and skateboarding. Clothing, obviously, more people are going to wear it than just skaters, so you’re reaching a lot further than just the skate market. The sky’s the limit when it comes to clothes, because with a brand like Diamond, we’ve reached out to all different types of people: we’ve got skaters, we’ve got rappers, we’ve got graffiti kids, we’ve got rocker kids, bikers…anyone you can think of you can see wearing Diamond now. It’s crazy.
When you were starting Diamond, were you thinking anywhere near that?
No. But I always wanted Diamond to succeed. I wanted it to be a little more than just skate. Ever since I started I had all the rappers in the Bay—’cause that’s where I was from, San Francisco. They would all wear it. I was giving clothes to DJs. So people other than skaters were wearing it from the start. I wanted it to be known all around the world from the beginning.
How helpful is celebrities wearing Diamond to the growth of the brand?
I think celebrities wearing Diamond is great. It’s something that happened organically, and people see that. It’s not like at the beginning we were trying to give product to every celebrity so they’d be rocking it. It wasn’t like they were just rocking it in a video; they were wearing it in their regular day-to-day. People noticed that. Obviously kids—a lot of kids, not everyone, ’cause a lot of the kids out there are the trendsetters—but a lot of kids follow celebrities, so it helped us a lot having people that they look up to rocking the brand.