I found this page on Facebook just now, and I was shocked to read what I did.
Make of it what you will, but this all looks hectic! Here I was thinking TOYS was a really great company and have more than once considered buying product. But I doubt I will until all of this shit is sorted out!
Exposing Will George and bringing down Toys Body boards.
You all should know by now what has transpired between Aka and Will George. If not, please take the time to read the excerpt below. The world NEEDS to know what kind of person Will is and stop him from going forward with Toys Body boards. Mahalo for your time! Shawnee
Okay people, this is the DL on what happened.......I will try to keep it short and sweet.
14 or so years ago, Aka tried to start up Toys body boards. Our investor at the time had bad credit and no money, so it fell to the wayside.
10 or so years ago, we became friends with Will George. He stayed at our house every time he visited Hawaii, our family took him in. We've had many a good time together in the course of this friendship.
About 6 years ago, Aka and Will decided to try to make a go of Toys again. They were to be 50/50 partners. Aka's part was to be himself and use his name and image to market the brand. Will was to do all the business stuff. All of this was mutually agreed upon at the time.
From the beginning, we wanted to be able to have equal access to all company records for transparency sake (ie: contracts, sales numbers, accounting, taxes, etc.....) We asked Will on numerous occasions, over the 6 years, if he could please make these things available to us. He'd always say that he would, but NEVER did.
There were signs, right from the start, that things were going to be "rocky" in this business relationship. Will made the first board insert poster with his OWN photo the largest and in the center, with Aka and other team riders much smaller, surrounding his own. Will made himself a signature board model (that was bigger than Aka's......WTF? last time I checked, Aka is way bigger than Will) that didn't sell well at all, so he eventually took it off the market. Getting a board for Aka was like pulling teeth. There was always some "reason" he wasn't getting boards when he should. Whatever.
2 years ago, we had asked Will for a board for Pono, but he told me that he couldn't spend the money on Pono because he needed to give boards to other guys (Aussies) who were getting photos in mags. The lame thing about that is that we (Makana, Pono, and I) are all an extension of Aka. We are at Sandys at least 3-5 days out of the week. It doesn't look right if any of us are riding anything BUT a Toys board. Okay, so then Jeff Hubbard gave Pono a BZ board and ironically, Pono got a shot on it at Sandys and the photographer happened to post it on FB. Will saw it and had a cow. He wrote us this scathing email going on and on about how we don't care about the company and how could we let that happen....He did admit to it being his fault that Pono didn't have a Toys board, BUT he was pissed that we didn't sand off the BZ logo. Well, that's when we explained to him that Jeff was very generous in giving Pono a board and we thought it would be disrespectful and a slap in the face to do so. That's not how we do things here in Hawaii. Something that he miserably fails to understand. Well, we managed to "make up" and move forward, but things began to get more strained. At least from this end.
Aka last got a board back in November or so. Will was supposed to get him a couple of new boards no later than Feb., at least that's what he kept telling Aka. Will was coming to stay in Feb. Now I understand that he was just trying to feed us some bullshit so that we wouldn't be upset because he needed to stay at our house. Of course this visit wouldn't go without incident. He told Aka that he needed to take Aka's ONLY board out to the North shore because this guy from England (The Toys rep) needed to take photos of it. He was acting kind of weird about it, but Aka being Aka, he said, whatever. A few days later, Aka wanted to surf at Makapu'u, but they still had his board. So he called Will to meet us there with his board. When we got there, the guy was out surfing on it. That wasn't a big deal. BUT, Aka is standing on the beach with his fins, waiting for the guy to come in and bring him HIS board, the guy catches a wave, looks at Aka standing there, and then paddles back out to the line up. I was like, WTF? Finally, the guy brings in the board. He had punched a hole in it for a leash and put his own stickers on the bottom. That's when we realized that Will GAVE him the board. Why else would the guy not come right in when he sees Aka waiting on the beach with just his fins? He had no idea that it was STILL Aka's board. Of course, me being me, I snapped at Will about him giving Aka's board away without asking. Will denied it. Aka was going through some of his old text messages a couple of weeks ago and found a text from Will a few months ago asking if Aka had an extra board to give this guy when he came to Hawaii because he was doing some free work for Toys and Will promised him a board. If this doesn't prove dishonesty on his part, I don't know what else to say.
Finally, I have been putting more pressure on him lately to show us business records. He got defensive. I contacted the manufacturer and asked for sales records. I let Will know that I was doing so. That's when he deleted me from his FB and Toys FB as well as deleted Aka's fan page. Then he sent us ANOTHER scathing email stating that we called him a thief (never did), that all we want is money from him (we've NEVER asked him for any money, ever), that HE built the company (yes, Will has worked very hard on building the company, BUT Aka's identity attached to the brand has helped it from the get go and he has forgotten that), and he also said that we have no right to see any business information, that it's privileged information, and it is ludicrous that we demand to see it (I have never heard of only one person in a partnership having sole access to such information). He also said, and I quote, "That is like me walking in to a Wal-mart and asking to see their company records". Okay, I don't recall when Will has ever sat down with Sam Walton and formed a partnership. Aka has every right to know what is happening with Toys on a business level. Will's reaction to our requests has made it very apparent that he must have something to hide. Will opened a Toys bank account to which only he has access. HE has a company card. He refuses to show what and where the money has come from and gone to. Why? Aka has never been about the money. He just wants to know what is going on and how it is going. But Will doesn't seem to think it's his business. So of course I emailed him back. It wasn't a nice email. Then the manufacturer emailed us all, saying that he would be stopping production of Toys until we could sort things out, just to protect himself from legal issues. That was fine with us (me and Aka). This must have really pissed Will off though, because that's when he decided to remove Aka from the Toys web site and sever all ties with him. Of course, as you can imagine, this really pissed me off so that's when I decided to expose it all on FB. I actually held back for a couple of weeks. I didn't want to have a knee jerk reaction to what Will was doing. I wanted us (Aka and me) to think about this before we made a move. But Will's actions spoke loud and clear. After I emailed him, he sent me a short email apologizing for deleting me (which I still am), and he wanted to meet on his layover here from Oz. He canceled that meeting (guess he had to fly home....but he was on a buddy pass and flying standby), said he'd call Aka, but never did. Aka called him, left him messages. Aka is super irritated that he couldn't just wait til he got to Hawaii (3 or 4 days after his initial email) to talk to him face to face. Instead, he emailed his displeasure and then got the hell out of Dodge. Pretty chicken shit. They have yet to speak to each other since all of this has transpired. It should be interesting.
Will has taken quite a few trips lately, to Oz, Indo, Hawaii, and Europe. Whether or not Toys paid for it, we don't know, and really, we don't even care. We know that he is doing business, but at the same time, having a grand time. Problem is, he should just say so. Stop trying to hide shit.
This is just me talking now........Aka has told Will from the start that he wasn't going to change the way he does things. He has a family and a job that take top priority. Will knew and understood all of this. Will agreed to do the work. Heck, Will was the one who said he was going to do this and give it all to Aka, which of course Aka would never agree to. That is why it was to be 50/50. Will feels frustrated because he is doing a lot of work and feels that Aka is doing nothing. I guess from a certain perspective, that is true. BUT, Aka had ALREADY made a name for himself in the industry. He has sacrificed getting paid for the past 6 years to stay attached to Toys to help it go. Aka has since gotten some new photos, but Will has yet to use any of them for Toys. He runs ads of other people. Almost as if he's trying to suppress Aka in a weird and sneaky way. Actually, I recall Will once wrote me an email trying to tell me that the new generation of kids don't really know who Aka is anymore, that Aka is old school and that's why it was important for him to push the new kids. Whatever. Aka has not even received a royalty for any of the Aka boards that have sold. And I can't be sure, because Will won't show me sales records, but I am fairly certain that Aka's boards are the major sellers in the line. Funny thing is, Aka doesn't have a problem with all the monies going back in to the company, if need be in order to make it go. We don't believe Will is "stealing", but I think he is misappropriating funds. Shit, at this point, I really don't know what to think. Because he won't give us any answers or show us any proof, I don't believe ANYTHING he has said in the past. He has finally shown his true colors. Will is mainland haole style. Self serving. I believe that he has USED Aka to launch himself in to the spot light. No one ever really knew who Will George was until he was attached to Toys. If you look at the web site, it's the "Will George show", and HE is the one who manages the site. Speaking of which, over time, Will has changed in style. Personally, not a problem at all, but this change has leeched in to the image of Toys. It has gone from a goofy, fun loving theme, to sex drugs and rock & roll. An image that Aka neither likes or supports. Aka never spoke up about his dislikes because he knew that Will worked hard on those things and he was always excited about his own ideas and Aka didn't ever want to "burst his bubble". But this latest "Black & Blue campaign" has hit a raw nerve. It is way over the top. What the hell does S&M have to do with bodyboarding? Aka told Will that he totally disagrees with this marketing campaign and didn't want him to use it. Will is still going ahead with it. We don't support it.
A lot of companies have taken advantage of Aka and his good nature in the past. But this has been, by far, the WORST sponsorship he has ever had. Mainly because Will did it all in the guise of friendship. Will is having the time of his life in the BB industry, all riding on Aka's coat tails. Well, that's about to end. Aka is done. He said he feels like Will stole his identity. Not possible, I say. Aka is moving on and leaving Will behind. Will has finally burned this bridge to the ground and he is no longer welcome here. Period. Maybe some day, time will heal, but it'll take a while. Again, Aka has done nothing wrong to warrant the barrage that Will has bestowed on him. All he did was ask to see company business records. And as a partner, rightfully so. But Will refused and chastised Aka for asking. THAT was the beginning of the end. No love loss here. Toys didn't really do anything for Aka that he didn't already have. He never got paid, and he could barely get boards. Time to move on to something better and brighter. We still get plenty REAL friends. And if you are reading this, you must be one of them. MAHALO! Shawnee
I've headed over to the TOYS website to check out some of the stuff, and it's hard to believe the stuff you read now. I've always been skeptical about companies sales pitches' but now after reading that I really do question our worlds integrity. This is from the 'ABOUT' section:
“We’re not businessmen or bored trust funders. We’re ugly mutts who wouldn’t look out of place behind bars or begging for change in the gutter. We’re an unholy melding of metal, denim, leather, hairspray, spandex and booze. But most of all, we’re body boarders.
It’s in our blood. It’s why we save every damn cent we got for a plane ticket that’ll take us halfway across the world to get barreled out of our minds. It’s why we said no to pin-stripe suits, nine-to-five office jobs, and mortgages for suburban tract homes. We just wanna have fun and we do. It’s why we started Toys.
And at Toys everything we do we do with a passion for body boarding. We do this cause we love it. We do this cause it’s who we are. Hell if I could rip my heart out and package it with each board I would.
We sold our souls to rock n roll but we gave our hearts to Toys.”