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Nilton Clothing – Ambition Over Adversity

We Are Jam Jar was granted the opportunity to sit down with the Jonathan Cheseaux, the founder of Nilton Clothing, which specializes in limited series of winter wear. Nilton’s immense emphasis on style and exclusiveness makes ever customer feel a part of the Nilton experience. Nilton’s onset motivation came from the lack of diversity and style of fellow riders up on the Swiss Alps. Some variety in the culture needed so they did it themselves.

Nilton Clothing launched its beginning in 2006 with the goal of creating Nilton’s own freeski crew and high quality stylish apparel. Jonathan and close friend took on the task wholeheartedly. They both believed that they had the skill and ambition to make Nilton’s goals a reality. With much of the work coming in house, such as the graphic designing and marketing done by the two, it made the process seem feasible. Much of the process seemed pretty amateur to Jonathan looking back, starting with 3 t-shirts and throwing a launch party back in 2009 that ultimately lacked success. But due to a few people interested in the brand, Jonathan saw an avenue for real success and an opportunity to dedicate himself to Nilton.

Then, a rough patch hit. Nilton began to lose money. Jonathan saw it as a learning curve that many brands have to experience in order make that jump to the next level. Jonathan eventually took over full responsibility for Nilton after him and his partner parted ways. Jonathan made it a point to never proceed with Nilton if he was only in it for the money. He made the promise to himself that he will do it for the love of having riders rockin’ his line up on the mountains and around the world.

Pushing forward, Jonathan went out on a limb to reach out to Professional Skiers, Phil Casabon & JF Houle to see if they would be willing to wear Nilton Clothing. To Jonathan’s surprise, the two were stoked about the offer. This gave Jonathan the motivation and confidence to build a crew that could have some serious credentials in the skiing/snowboard culture. There was no stopping Nilton. Nilton’s crew now consists of 15+ and is growing.

Understanding that there is a lot of fluff and brands that don’t care about riders in the industry, Nilton wanted to make sure that every customer was valued and taken care of. Nilton Clothing only offers limited edition series that will never be recreated, giving Nilton the strength of exclusiveness.

We sat down with Jonathan and Nilton to ask a few question about himself and the brand that he has created:

What does the Nilton brand mean to you?

“I do have a special relation with Nilton Clothing. This is the project I always dreamed about and suddenly I can start to live my dream and right now my dream has become a reality. If Nilton Clothing is where it is right now it’s thanks to me and I’m where I’m now thanks to Nilton Clothing. It has taught me so much about the business world, people and life in general. It’s been kind of a school for me.

Of course Nilton is a means of earning money, but this isn’t my goal. If I lose money it doesn’t matter that much because I know that there is always something to learn from those mistakes and next time it will work and be even better than expected. In fact I could compare Nilton Clothing to a Guru that keeps taking me to school on life. Hahaha.”

What has been your biggest fear/struggle thus far with the brand?

“Even if I said losing money wasn’t a big deal, I also have to be honest; I’m scared to lose money… But I’m able to say that it doesn’t matter because if that is the case I did my best to avoid it. My pride will still be intact and I will know I gave my all to Nilton.”

What has been Nilton’s best moment thus far?

“There has been a lot of good time. I guess if I have to choose between the satisfaction of watching kids wearing my clothes or the joy of getting an email asking when new products will be available…I would have to take the first one. I’m someone with a lot of modesty. I don’t like to yell on every roof what I did and what not. So being able to go riding somewhere and see some kids wearing your clothes and hearing them talking about the brand without knowing that I’m standing 1m from them and that I’m the one behind the brand is a great feeling.”

Why should people wear Nilton?

“If you wear Nilton Clothing, you can wear a brand which is focused on style and limited series. Because Nilton Clothing is a small brand which means that every client is someone important for us. We aren’t imposing the next style/colors of the products. I’m working with the team riders and also asking people around to help make decisions on colors and style. Nilton Clothing is what it is thanks to all the people on the outside. We aren’t working like a normal brand who creates their products for the next season already one or two years before. If people want a new crew neck, then Nilton Clothing will design some. If people want to get some neck warmers, well we’ll do it. We are listening to the wishes of our clients and trying to satisfy everyone. Sometimes it’s hard when you know you can’t satisfy everyone. But I try to do my best, because Nilton Clothing isn’t trying to earn a lot of money on their back. The satisfaction of selling a hoody isn’t due to the fact that I get more money in the bank, but because I know I’m sending a good product, in which I invested my time, my energy, my love and that the clients will more than likely love.”

Where do you see Nilton clothing in 5-10 years?

“It would be insane if I could live and afford a decent life working full time on Nilton. I don’t need to earn thousands of Swiss Francs and be a huge company. Just want to keep the real spirit and continue to do what I love and what people love as well. The glory and the fame isn’t our goal. That’s all water under the bridge.”

Any shoutouts?

“Well the first person I want to thank for supporting me since day one is my girlfriend. Without her it wouldn’t have been the same. Also want to thank the members of her family who offered me a great support system and possibilities! To my family who helped me as well! Shoutout to all the riders who represent Nilton Clothing all season long and keep the real spirit of the brand. I’m stoked for them and all the stuffs they do to help Nilton Clothing expand. Shoutout to all the people who supported me and even to the one who didn’t cause thanks to them I push Nilton harder to reach that next level. Shoutout to everyone who supports the brand all around the world and ride with our products!”

Anything to add?

“To all the people out there trying to live your dream, just keep going and give your best. I hope you will be able to do it for yourself. If not, then you know at least that you gave your best and know that you can’t live with any regrets.”

“Nilton grows with every collection and every hoody”.

Nilton Clothing stays on its grind and looks to continue to push its principals to capture the attention of the freeski culture. Hard work and attention to detail partnered with a good product with always speak for itself.

Check out more about Nilton Clothing here:


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