NEWS

Skateboard, surf and snowboard apparel company quietly grows from a home-based operation in Quincy

Sara Castellanos

Shaun Cheney and Shea McKinney used to wish they were snowboarding down a mountain or surfing in the ocean instead of being at work. The Quincy residents don’t feel that way anymore.

Cheney and McKinney started their own skateboard, surf and snowboard apparel company called Vecta in 2008, and now they say they are “living the dream.”

“I’ve done so many different jobs and I’ve worked for so many different people, and I never want to go back to that,” said Cheney, 28. “I love what we’re doing.”

They operate from their home in Quincy, where they design and sell men’s T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats. The apparel is sold online at vectablend.com, and in the Nor’Easter Surf Shop in Scituate and the Ocean Frog board sports and apparel shop in Malden.

They said the Vecta brand has become popular at college campuses and mountain resorts and among the local athletes the company sponsors.

“A year ago, nobody knew the Vecta name at all,” Cheney said. “We went from zero hits on our Web site to a couple hundred a week now. It’s already growing fast.”

They’ve promoted their company in trade shows and advertised their products to nearby mountain resorts by setting up the “Vecta Lounge” where people can simulate snowboarding, while browsing Vecta clothing.

Although sports apparel is a saturated industry, they said they have found their niche market.

“We’re very New England-based, and ... we want to represent that,” said McKinney, 29.

McKinney, who is originally from Marblehead, graduated in 2003 from the Savannah College of Art and Design where she studied fashion, and was a graphic designer for several companies throughout Boston and in California.

Cheney held several jobs before becoming an entrepreneur: He was a snowboard instructor, a promoter for local bars and a mortgage broker.

One of their biggest challenges, they said, was deciding on a name for their company.

‘Vecta’ is their own twist on the word ‘vector,’ a mathematical term for magnitude and direction. McKinney said Vecta represents movement, which is the common thread between skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing.

By the end of 2011, they hope to hire employees, open a retail store in the South Shore, launch a women’s apparel line, and start designing boards and selling performance gear such as snowboard pants, jackets and wetsuits.

The couple, who have been dating for more than four years, also own Burnt Graphics, where they build Web sites for small businesses in order to fund the development of Vecta.

“We are working so hard with everything that we have – blood, sweat and tears – to get Vecta on the right path,” McKinney said.

Sara Castellanos may be reached atscastell@ledger.com.