Before he was 20, Keith Hufnagel had achieved a skateboarding fantasy: getting paid to skate via sponsorship deals and prize money from competitions.
Years of working as a pro, including overseas travel and endless photo shoots, persuaded him he needed a second career. In 2002, Mr. Hufnagel and his wife at the time, Anne Freeman, pooled their savings of $30,000, created a clothing brand, HUF, and opened a store in San Francisco, featuring hard-to-find fashion items he had spotted while wandering the globe.
“We didn’t have a business plan or anything,” he said in a 2019 interview with the online retailer Goat. “We just made it happen.” HUF Worldwide Inc. now has its own stores in New York, Los Angeles and Japan, and the brand is also sold by other retailers.
Since 2017, TSI Holdings Co. of Japan has owned HUF.
Mr. Hufnagel, who had been under treatment for brain