Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Core Shops Support Core Brands

This is from Transworld business from our friend AJ over at One Skateboards. If you are a shop or interested party definately take a look at this it has some good information in it about how the two (Core Shop and core companies) can work together. Nanu

What does this “core” word mean? Just like me, I’m sure that you hear it all the time. But, just like any other word, it can be translated, used, and even abused in various ways. Does it even mean anything anymore? Or, like so many other industry “buzz” words, has it been over used to the point that it’s true meaning has been diminished to the point of nothingness?

Being an avid skateboarder of close to 20 years- as well as being a small company owner, community activist, and grass roots skateboard advocate- this is a word that resonates deep within me. To me, it means strength through adversity, creatively rising above it all, while simultaneously staying true to ones’ values and principles. Stuff that we commonly call our “roots”.

In recent times, many core shops have been finding themselves in competition with retail outlets that are not “core,” but have the buying power and advertising dollars to attract “core” customers, as well as major ["core"] brands. Both of which used to be found exclusively in core retailers.

I talk to shops all the time. And they constantly tell me sad, sad stories of how they are getting a severe beating from the hands of these “core,” corporate retail chains. But, comparatively few can articulate to me what they’re actually doing to combat the problem. In many cases, I can see that they’re actually enabling the problem by doing nothing at all.

Let’s face some cold, hard truths here: Many of the brands that shops currently carry have turned their back on the core retailer. To make matters worse, they then actively sell their wares to all of the same, un-core retailers that are killing the core shops! Perhaps it’s the masochistic nature of skateboarding to keep coming back for more, or maybe it’s the misplaced idolization of these brands, but - for whatever reason - these shops still think that they need to have these brands on their skate shop wall.

Here’s my counterpoint: Shops don’t need every brand that their competitors carry- or even, the most popular brands in the marketplace - to be successful. Indeed, there’s still a strong case to be made for the timeless concepts of diversification and differentiation. Ask any cut-rate stock market investor what they do when 20th century economy turns sour, and the markets head downhill. The two most common (and successful) strategies are to look for new markets, and new opportunities within those markets. This is why diversification and differentiation are so important, now more than ever.

One of our best core customers is State of Confusion Skate Shop in Maryland. They only sell 4-5 brands at any time, One Skateboard Co. being one of them. They regularly sell out of our boards. Why, you ask? Because they believe in what our brand, and the people running it, stand for. They believe in the product. But most importantly, they view One as a means to achieve a balance between differentiation, and diversification. The kids get psyched on it (kids thrive on anything new and different), and the shop reaps the benefits. Another customer, Ambler Skate Shop (Right outside of Philadelphia, PA) is home of the legendary Toxic Skateboards. They’ve been in business for over 25 years, and they are doing the same things, with similar results. Both of these shops are always trying new things, and in return, giving back to the community that supports them. Without support from shops like this, One Skateboards would cease to exist. We appreciate their continued support, because it’s that very support that allows us to offer cutting edge products and philosophies to even more truly core skate shops.

The shops that are the most successful have a good sense of themselves, constantly pushing what they can do. They are truly innovators: always studying, tweaking, and re-adjusting their business models to reflect the constant changes in fashion and function that skateboarding fosters. They also tend to give back to their local communities, and generally have a really solid private label program. The ones that have been complacent don’t give back, and are trying always to “keep up with the Joneses” (I.e.: Zumiez, Active, etc.) all seem to suffer, to a greater or lesser degree. Look around you: the suffering is everywhere these days.

Just because you have a fully stocked skate shop, doesn’t mean that people will come. It has to represent more, and be more, then what they can get conveniently at a mall. Remember: they can always buy the most popular brands at the mall. Or online. Or at that other shop up the street. So why should those customers come to you? What are you doing, that everyone else in the world isn’t?

True core brands rely heavily on the road as their medium of communication and promotion. And they make very real and lasting impressions on the communities, and the shops that they visit. They are closer to what makes skateboarding great, than the mega-dollar corporate brands. And most, if not all of us, are out there, skating with the kids on a daily basis. This boots-in-the-trenches perspective gives us a finger on the pulse of what is working, and what’s not. This flexibility and ability to change helps produce better quality products, and helps us better service our shops. For my part, I consider the shops that we work with true friends, as opposed to merely being purchasers of a product. I take their successes - or their failures - personally. Of course, I want to see them succeed, because their success is my success. I am sure many other smaller companies would agree with that sentiment.

Core shops have always been, and should continue to be, “destination stations” if you will. Places where a comfortable and exciting atmosphere prevails. A place where all types of skaters from different backgrounds converge, to check out new products that can’t be found anywhere else. A place where they can identify with, and meet up with other skaters. A place that helps them to do what they all love doing: skateboarding.

Of course, there are other core brands that I would highly recommend to any truly core skate shop. The list includes brands like 5Boro, Substance, Affiliate, Null, Hoodlum, Character, Cleveland, and Funhouse, to name a few. There are many other companies (besides us) that have been doing “all the right things” by supporting true skateboarding, and truly core skate shops. Support the people who support you. Support core brands, and they will support you!

One Skateboards Co. is based out of Philadelphia, PA. For more information, visit their official Web site,, or on myspace:

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Great Skate Shoe "Debate"

It is amazing to me the debate about what one puts on their feet becomes such a fevered discussion for many skateboarders. When a lot of us here at the Movement started (early 90's) it was easy: Vans, Airwalk, Vision,Entines (just started) where the only "skate" brands available. However Converse(All Stars), Nike (Jordans and other Basketball shoes), Adidias (Shell toes Fo' Sho)
,Pumas(over dyed w/fat laces son!) or something that resembled what we where looking for in a skate shoe from a discount shoe store where also the norm, it basically depended on availability of product and what you could afford.

Nothing much has changed since then in many respects except for how huge skateboarding as an activity(argue about if its a sport or art form on your own time!) and how its wears became globaly fashionable.
So whats the big debate?
There are definately more players (companies) involved but there are more people who want to have that "Skateboarder / Surfer" look so demand is relatively high. Style as with anything and what skateboarding is based, having an original style is important not only on how you do your tricks but how you look doing them.

So why is it that I see posts and even advertising campaigns against "corporate companies" coming in and trying to cash in on skateboarding as an issue? Do you own a shoe company? If you are supporting your preferred brand what does it matter what someone else chooses to skate in or in some cases skate for (Koston/Lutzka/Stevie etc. get paid my friends you deserve it!)? To illustrate my point further take another look at the opening paragraph, any of those brands look familiar? They should, and another thing that makes them similar is that they all run by corporations who ventured into new markets!

The difference and what I feel where all the debating is coming from is that the ones mentioned as "skate brands" are what todays skaters feel belong and are unique to them so supporting anything but those brands makes others sell outs or not as"core". It is not surprising as the "skate brands" spend a lot of there marketing budgets on getting kids to believe this subliminally or directly. In the end that tacked on attitude towards these brands that did not start as a just skateboard market is short sighted and bullshit! A perfect example was the anti brand slogan that one company (Osiris) said about a bigger more successful company (Nike). Personally I owned many pairs of both brands (since the Smolick days for Osiris and since the Jordans from Nike) and although apart of me always wants to support skate germinated brands but the reality is their marketing campaign against Nike was bogus on so many levels, besides that who wants a shiny Banana on a shoe?! I know what they are trying to say / do but there actions are a bit contradictory as they to have expanded into areas that have nothing to do with skateboarding except in respect to the fashion.Nike SB can say they are only found in core brick and mortar skate shops (with the exception of select mail order) and have been responsible for keeping many a shop open, bringing in not only quantity but differing groups of people to the shop. As far as I know no other brand in skateboarding can say that. In addition they bring new innovation in materials and how skate shoes are made (wow concept! A shoe company doing more then just a color way or a classic rip off!)

Now before you all come at me with this or that think about it, all shoe companies are in business to make money / gain market share on what they produce period. Cashing in on a trend or whatever is considered good business and if you do it properly (quality product / good advertising) you get a cross over market that now is more willing to purchase other things you produce.
With that said and understood as it is a fact, if your is blood boiling because you believe skateboard shoes should be made by and for skateboarders talk to all the companies that sold "skateboarding" fashion to everyone else. Most (not all, well not yet) of the "core" skate germinated brands are being sold everywhere these days right along side most of the biggest brands in the shoe industry. The days of identifying another skater based on seeing what shoe brand they wore is gone, finding skate shoes only at a skate shop is over, supporting companies because they are skate germinated companies is an understandable sentiment(I experience this to) but in the end is the product quality, cost and availability.
There is a lot of product available out there, it is up to you as a consumer to decide. Personally I look for quality / value and what does the company do to support what I do (my skating) as well as how they support local specialty retailers (mini skate culture centers). So no matter what your favorite brand is, be sure you are getting the quality and the "look" you want and be sure to support your local specialty shop when you can as they most likely owned operated by and or support local skateboarding. Support the people who support skateboarding but more importantly get out there and skateboard!

In my many years of skateboarding I have skated many different brands of shoes and these stand out in regards to quality and value in no particular order.

Nike SB Zoom Tre-I would have to say one of the best shoes ever produced for skateboarding.

Adidias Shell Toes (great board feel, durability, value, various versions)

Entines Senix (great board feel /look and rubber under the leather)

Entines Sal 23 (original ones not the ones with the little rubber strip)

Airwalk (NTS, 540's etc. great look, durability)

Vans Caballeros (most of the versions, and everyone copies the Half Cab to a degree)

There are a few brands I have not tried yet so this list maybe added to in the future.


The Movement is about constant motion and change.

There are many things in this industry that have grown stale, mundane, played out and dare we say bitch ass, words should not be associated with skateboarding or the industry that is behind it but here we are in a time that our culture needs saving before it is entirely sold off, compartmentalized and watered down to the point of evaporation.

We are just one part of the movement and gladly will say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done and show what needs to be shown. You may dig it or you may hate it but either way you will react to it and if anything perhaps make you think of things differently or reinforce what you know to be true. This is a magazine for everyone who skates, no matter what discipline / style / offshoot etc. it is all relevant and related.

We hope you will visit often and once we get things rolling I think you will find something here at Movement!