Interviews are something that we really enjoy doing here at ORYY. Back in October, we had the privilege of chatting with Wayne from YoYoWorkshop, and we feel that went really well. Now we’re back at it again, however, this time we’re not entirely certain who we’re speaking with. Normally this would be a bit odd, but those who are familiar with SF Yoyos will understand what we mean. For those who aren’t yet familiar with SF, well…you actually now know as much as the rest of us do. The people behind SF are a mystery, as is their location, history, and even whatever it is that “SF” stands for. This is fine, though, because their yo-yos really speak for themselves, and the secrecy actually makes things kind of fun. Attempting to dig in and reveal their identity would really only ruin things for the person doing so.
SF debuted on July 21st, 2016, so they are still a fairly new company. They made a hell of an entrance, though, as they unleashed upon the world their SF SF and SF 36 model yo-yos. Both throws are fantastic fun, and they possess a certain aesthetic which is both simple and beautiful. This aesthetic persisted through their next releases as well, which has consisted of their bimetal SFSS, their plastic SF DLRN, and their brand new collaboration project, the BFF. The BFF is a team effort between SF and CoreCo, which is a very exciting combination. CoreCo has a knack for making fun and creative yo-yos, including the Tako, Standard, and Alleycat. The BFF drops tomorrow, Sunday, December 3, 2017, on their respective websites. Refer to the droplist on the right in case you forget, because you won’t want to miss out on it.
Our questions for SF, along with their responses, are below.
Interview With SF Yoyos
First things first: this is really exciting for me. The SF SF was my very first unresponsive metal yo-yo, and I bought it way earlier than I should have. I was new to the community and I didn’t understand anything, but the hype around an upcoming release from the company “SF” was pretty clear. In addition, the cobalt blue and stone fruit fade colors looked amazing. The last fine point was this nebulous rumor/comment that this would be the last run of the yo-yo. This all amounted to a guy having no idea what he was doing, but he was damn sure that he was going to lock one of these down. My first bind ever was done on the stone fruit and it felt incredible. Thus began the love (re: obsession) with yo-yos, and our fanaticism with SF in particular.
Thanks for that.
I know this wasn’t a question but that’s awesome to hear. We’re happy that we could play a cool part in your yoyo experience.
Now as tempting as it may be, I am going to try and not just fill this entire thing up with seemingly clever questions about who y’all are. We’ll see how well I do.
Thanks for that.
As a newbie to the yo-yo world, the “SF experience” was something else. The anonymity, the price point, the quality of the product, and the post-it note all combined into this super charming experience. Was this all part of the plan? Or are there more boring and practical reasons behind these ideas that just sort of happened to create this experience?
Like most things in life the answer would be “a little of both.”
The “SF experience” in total is a very planned thing and that’s a part of the reason we haven’t really taken the full dive into retail… totally controlling the customer experience and forging personal bonds based on that has been important to us so giving up the ability to make those connections seems like a big loss. That’s not to say all of yoyo’s many retailers don’t provide an equally great experience, it’s just different.
We figured in the absence of a name and face, stuff like indivdual notes could really help personalize things and balance out the anonymity. Like “Man, I don’t know about this anonymous company thing…” can become “Did they really write that guy a note about his dog?”
Plus the juxtaposition of anonymity and familiarity is very funny to us.
Funny story, the Post-It notes started as a convenient way to say mean things to each other when sending around the internal testers. Then we realized it could be a really fun way to create a personal connection with someone who doesn’t have any clue who we are…. without the mean stuff of course. That becoming a big part of our brand is a happy accident.
Is it hard to stay anonymous? Do y’all ever just want to post “THIS IS WHO WE ARE HELLO WORLD!” on Instagram and be done with it?
Yes, but not out of a desire for credit. Just because it can be hard to maintain it all. The amount of misdirection employed is sometimes ridiculous. We have also had a few close calls trying to juggle our personas. Social media applications aren’t exactly focused on trying to protect your secret identity so we have to be pretty vigilant online.
There are also like, urban-legend sorts of stories around your company. There is the story of a guy in a hat personally delivering an SF to one of your customers. Is this a true story?
It is a true story, but the funny part is that it’s happened way more times than people have written on the internet about.
I’ve also heard stories from people who have been to contests and realized later in the day that, at some point, they were close to SF (they found stickers or notes stuffed into their backpack, for example). Do you have any fun/funny stories from your perspective about any of these encounters?
This kind of stuff happens. That sort of impish fun is a big part of our brand.
Sometimes it’s stickers. It’s been a yoyo before in the lowest of lowkey giveaways. Everyone is always trying each others yoyos at contests so why not just leave an extra yoyo with a note when you put something back? Making someone happy is never bad.
The amount of conversations about SF we’ve directly overhead in person is so great… or accusations. We’ve been in earshot of people accusing other people of being SF before. Not laughing takes some self control.
2017 has been a big year for y’all. The SF SF got put on the bench, the SF SS has gone gangbusters, the DLRN was another quick-selling hit, your team has grown, two (more?) collaborations are in the works, and your website got a facelift. I’m not even sure what the question is, now that I think of it, but…maybe congratulations? Are you happy with how things are going?
2017 has been good to us but… maybe thanks? I had to google gangbusters. We’re really happy with how things are going right now and the response we have gotten to what we put out there. We’re going to close out the year with a bang I don’t think many people are expecting. It should be cool to watch. Also the (more?) is kind of funny and insightful. *hint hint*
Speaking of the DLRN, how do you like cranking out plastic versus metal? Any real difference? Preference? Speaking only for myself here, I don’t play a lot of plastics but I find the DLRN really hard to put down. Awesome, awesome work on that one.
Thank you. The foray into plastic was interesting. The DLRN was nice because we really wanted to get a more affordable yoyo out there to people and hitting the 35 USD price point was cool. In the future we’d like to step that up a notch and try and offer an injection molded plastic for less… but, you know, baby steps.
There is a marked difference in design approach with plastics, so that was a fun undertaking and a definite learning experience. Hopefully we can apply a few of those lessons to the DLRN+ and the aforementioned injection molded plastic when (if?) they happen.
One of the big differences with the actual implementation of it was that it was comparatively kind of… tiresome? Packing way more stock for way less payout doesn’t feel as immediately rewarding. But much of the reward with something like the DLRN is happy kids who didn’t have to spend a bunch and increased accessibility.
Ok, tell me about the CoreCo Collaboration that is about to drop. How did this come to be a thing? Did you wear a mask and use one of those cool-ass voice scrambler things every time you spoke to them?
It’s a yoyo. Honestly, it came to be a thing because at the time, we seemed to share very little of the same fanbase and both thought it would be an advantageous partnership for our two growing brands. Pretty boring explanation there. Sorry. Good thing they’re so cool to balance us out, right?
Honestly, how fun was it to see the internet blow up into an accusatory rage when the first teaser photo was released by CoreCo, but the news of it being a collab hadn’t been announced yet? People are fun.
We may have had a giggle or two. Had to post our picture pretty soon after we noticed it happening. Don’t want people mad at those nice people from CoreCo.
Except Uri. It’s okay if people are mad at him.
There’s also a One Drop Collab in the works, if I’m not mistaken. That is also exciting. Same question as above, how did this come to be a thing? Any juicy details you can tell us about it?
There is a collaboration with One Drop. It came about because Shawn solved the mystery. Don’t message him asking how, he’s a steel vault full of secrets. One Drop actually sent an email to one of our personal accounts out of the blue that said “Nice Job on the SF thing :)” Obviously the first reaction was to freak out. Somehow the end result of all that was making a yoyo with some dope people.
Juicy details…. huh. We plan on it being 45 dollars.
With 2017 being as big of a year as it was, do you plan to top it in 2018? Any vague hints as to what we might expect? Will we see any of your players on the stage at Nats in Chicago?
Who knows? Our plan is to keep doing what we do and maybe people will dig that.
Vague hints… hmm. Cereal Bar. WBU. Playing Catch With Your Friends. Yoyoist. Werner Herzog.
Of course you’ll see some of our players on stage at Nats in Chicago. Probably even a few new ones. Not Paul Harness though, because he didn’t introduce me to his adorable dog Happy and I am so upset at him.
Ah, seems I didn’t write it down earlier, what did you say your real name was again?
Oh, sorry for being so rude, it’s SF yoyos.
That’s A Wrap
Having the chance to do this with SF is something we’re still tingling about. We are very thankful for their time spent answering our questions, and for the details that they shared with us. If you haven’t yet tried an SF yo-yo yet, you owe it to yourself to do so. You can find SF on social media via the links below.
We’ll include CoreCo’s information as well, given that their collaboration project is dropping tomorrow.