Getting To Know Pistol Lake: Ryan Light, CEO
Over the past few years, we've tried our best to get to know you all – to hear your ideas on new products, styles, colors – and you've given us a world of inspiration. But it's come to our attention that you might not know all that much about us!
And in order to love a community, you've got to know them first. So, we went around the horn with our entire team. For those that have wished to learn more about the ones behind the curtain, here's your chance.
Of course, we're kicking things off with Ryan Light, the company's ever-fearless CEO.
Q: Who are you and what do you do at Pistol Lake?
A: I’m Ryan Light, and I run Pistol Lake along with some of my best friends in the world. It’s an absolute honor to get to work with such cool folks, and make great clothing.
Q: Where are you from? How’d you end up with Pistol Lake?
A: I’ve moved around quite a bit, Southern California to rural North Texas to Austin to Boston and now, back full circle to Venice, CA.
My time in Boston, oddly enough, ultimately led to my joining Pistol Lake. I met the founder William there. We were both participating in a tech accelerator called Techstars, and working for separate companies. We became fast friends over our shared interest in basketball, dive bars, and entrepreneurship. That friendship turned into being roommates in a funky, drafty apartment in East Cambridge together.
After we had a zillion enthusiastic conversations about the clothing company he wanted to build, Will moved from that apartment to LA to start Pistol Lake. I was an early advisor, investor, and a huge fan of the product. So when William decided that he wanted to just focus on the fabrics, production, and styles, he reached out to me to take over the marketing and day-to-day operations.
I packed up my apartment in Boston and moved out to Venice. It’s proven to be one of the best and most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made.
Q: What’s your top-to-bottom favorite Pistol Lake look?
A: I’m a big shorts guy and I love our All-Around Shorts – so I’d say Gargoyle AAS. I love our boxer briefs, so I’d rock those underneath (I’ll spare you the details on the color) and up top: a Minimalist Short Sleeve Henley in either Black or Navy depending on which kicks I pull out of my closet.
Q: If you were a PL product, which one would you be?
A: I think I’d be a Minimalist Tee – I’d like to think I’m simple but with a touch of class, and I try to be easy-goin and fit in anywhere.
Q: What’s the best/worst purchase you’ve ever made?
A: Best: I bought an Arbor Pilsner skateboard that I’ve put literally thousands of miles on and it feels just as great as the day I got it.
Worst: Years ago, I bought an infomercial car washing system called the Shamzami. It connects to your hose and spins and looks all awesome on TV – like it would make washing your car super easy/fast.
Turns out, it just got me soaked and didn’t work at all… I should have noted that the name itself started with “sham” and been skeptical.
Q: What’s your favorite sports moment?
A: I went to the University of Texas in Austin and I was at the UT vs USC National Championship in 2006 at the Rose Bowl – which many pundits consider the best college football game of all-time.
That game was absolutely bonkers throughout… but the moment where Vince Young, facing 4th & 5 and down 5 points with 26 seconds left, scrambled to his right, got the corner, and scored what would be the winning touchdown.
I lost my voice that night from elated yelling and my hands were sore from the high-fives my buddy gave me.
Bonus Q: You’ve now lived in Austin, Boston, and Los Angeles – rank them in terms of best overall food options/experience.
A: Man, this is a tough one because I get really prideful of anywhere I’m currently living, and have lived… that’s just kinda how I’m wired, to love where I’m at and be appreciative of my spot.
Food is an easy one for me, but a bit unfair to Boston.
1A: LA – mainly because of the availability of styles of food from around the world
1B: Austin - I love their BBQ, Mex-Mex, and Tex-Mex, but they don’t quite have the variety of LA so they are slightly edged out.
3: Boston - the Italian food and Chinatown there are AMAZING - and Boston is a great food city, but the Mexican food there always left something to be desired, and that’s what I grew up eating - so I have to put it in 3rd here.
As far as experience – I legit have to make this a three-way tie. All three of these places have amazing cultures and places where I made lifelong friends and memories. Plus they all have their own unique things that make them badass… so, sadly, I gotta go the diplomatic (but honest) route and say that I love all three places equally.
For more astute takes from Ryan, you can find him tweeting memes at @Ry0n or taking pictures of his dog on the beach at @snazzymustache on Instagram.