January 2nd, 2023

Customer Feature: Boneyard Surf Co.

"If you could have your own shop, what kind of shop would it be?”
For sixteen-year-old Jamie Kiersted, answering this question was easy: a surf shop. Twenty years later, this life dream of owning a surf store has become Jamie’s day-to-day reality with Boneyard Surf Co.

As a kid, Jamie was exposed to the retail landscape from a young age, as his mother owned several establishments in Edgartown, MA. Growing up on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Jamie and his buddies were immersed in surf life early in their childhood. Surfing was not only a common hobby but an innate tie between Jamie and his friendships and relationships.  


In 2002, this life passion united Jamie Kiersted and his crew of four local surfers together in their shared vision to create a surf brand of their very own, 'Boneyard Surf Co.'


“The word 'boneyard' is actually surf slang - it's the spot where the waves are breaking. Best to avoid it or you’re going to get held under.” 

For those who are familiar with the mantra and surf lingo, this catchy name stuck. The Boneyard brand offers everything from edgy apparel and accessories to swimwear and surf, boogie, and skateboards. 


Starting out, the target market demographic for the Boneyard brand was geared towards other surfers around the age of sixteen, along with “their parents and people that still considered themselves to be a kid.” Initially, the Boneyard team was striving to have a modest shop in Edgartown.

For many local surfers on the island, the Boneyard brand instantly appealed to their unique, niche lifestyle within Edgarstown. As described by Jamie, their store has always been a bit of a ‘black sheep’ in the retail landscape of Martha’s Vineyard. On the island, many people fall within Boneyard’s target demo, however,

“The reality - there are a lot of people that are not subscribing to that aesthetic.  That’s why our shop has always been able to thrive.”


In their quest for a new screen-printing company to partner with, the Boneyard team discovered Threadbird organically simply by searching online back in 2020. 

“I could tell that Threadbird was a company run by a bunch of young, like-minded people from the way they presented themselves in photography & on their website. Details and quality were obviously important to the Threadbird brand.”

- Jamie Kiersted
(Owner/ Creative Director of Boneyard)

The Boneyard team decided to trust their guts and put their faith in the potential partnership with Threadbird. Starting in January 2021, Boneyard embarked on its screen-printing journey with our Threadbird team. Since then, Threadbird has had the pleasure of witnessing all of the awesome ways the Boneyard brand has continued to grow over time. 

The first design which sparked the brand’s logo image was a geometric approach to a skull drawn by Jamie with a sharpie marker on Xerox paper. This skull logo quickly became the pinnacle symbol for the Boneyard brand, as many people are “die-hard for it.”


Boneyard Skull patch attachment on right sleeve of ‘Surf MV’ tee (AS Colour 5026),
and on left chest of ‘Small Skull’ sweatshirt
(Comfort Colors 1566).

The most popular, fan-favorite Boneyard design is ‘Sign’. This design on their hoodie and
t-shirts has been consistent in being the brand’s best-seller over the years. 


(Left) ‘Sign’ tee is screen-printed in waterbase ink, on 100% ring-spun cotton t-shirt (Comfort Colors 1717). Boneyard ‘Sign’ printed via digital heat transfer on the left chest of waterproof zip jacket (AS Colour 5508).

Since the conception of the Boneyard brand back in 2002, Jamie and his team have continued to learn valuable business lessons throughout the years. In the early stages of building their brand,

“We used to only buy for one season (summer) and then just try to sell out."

Given that the high season for Boneyards business falls within a short window from June through August, the brand owners have realized that they need to have as much product on hand as possible in order to make a profit.

All of our garments used to be more cheaply made and MUCH LESS expensive, and we sold way less of them when this was the case.”


Waterbase Ink print on a garment-dyed heavyweight tee (Comfort Colors 1717). 

Over time, Boneyard reaped the repercussions of this ineffective strategy, with the slow progression of customer growth. 

“The most important lesson we’ve learned is QUALITY COUNTS. If you want to make a big leap, you need to invest in yourself."

The first step in doing this was to rethink their overall sales strategy for the Boneyard brand. This shift in mindset led the Boneyard team to start gearing their focus towards improving the quality of their products, by spending more to get them. 

“I continue to learn with every batch of garments. If you want to deliver a good product you need to put the time in.” 

For apparel brands, and especially surf apparel, comfort and quality are two extremely valuable characteristics to have.  With these fresh intentions in mind, Threadbird worked with Boneyard to source better, higher-quality garments for them to screen print their designs. In hopes to improve the reputation of their products, Boneyard started investing more to screen print on premium quality garments from brands like AS Colour, Independent Trading Co. and Comfort Colors to screen print on.


(Left & Right) Surf MV Sweatpants’ in black & ‘Surf Club Sweats’ in Ecru, both are printed with plastisol ink on (AS Colour 5921). (Middle) ‘Circle Skull’ tee in violet, printed with a waterbase ink (Comfort Colors 1717).

For someone who is considering starting an apparel brand i.e printing with Threadbird, Jamie advised,

“Design and the rest will follow.”


By making this investment to improve the quality of their products, it ultimately enabled Boneyard to

“Double the price of our t-shirts and hoodies. Now we are moving nearly 4x the product that we used to (out of the same brick and mortar).”


Customers have taken notice of Boneyard’s efforts to revamp their apparel materials and enhance the overall value of their product offerings. As a result of this, customer demands for their products have continued to increase from their original summer long season to now being year-round.

Knowing that we have a baked audience and devout following on the island has given me the courage to try things that I might not have elsewhere.” 


By testing the waters for their market, Boneyard Surf Co. has been able to significantly expand the variety of products they offer, from the initial 2-3 shirts to now selling over 50 unique products in the last few years.

“We will always continue to introduce new apparel styles, but it’s also important for us to keep things interesting, by peppering in something unexpected each season (for example, we tried making our own air fresheners).”


(Left) Digital heat transfer print on the sleeve of ‘Sign Rain Jacket’ (AS Colour 5508).
(Right) ‘
Boneyard Tote’ printed in plastisol ink on an X-Large tote (Liberty Bags 8872). 

This past season, the Boneyard crew 

“Ordered 4,000 sweatshirts to start the season and took out a storage unit to house stock while making room in the store. I’m happy to say that we were able to sell 98% of our sweatshirts by the first week of September.”


Looking into the future, the Boneyard team is focused on several core goals for their brand moving forward.  

“Expansion into another local market with a longer retail season is what we have our sights set on.  I would also like to dip my toe into more cut and sew.”

Along with this, the Boneyard is aiming to grow their e-commerce by 100 percent in this next year. When asked how they hope to achieve these goals, Jamie answered,

“Through great partnerships. and continuing to expand and differentiate our offerings.” 


Success is largely rooted in ambition, and Boneyard Surf Co. is willing to take such risks. Threadbird is very excited about all that is to come for the Boneyard brand on this road ahead!

Check out the range of rad products from the Boneyard brand by following them on Instagram! @boneyardmv


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