Coping Block Skateboarding Magazine looks into Micro Skateboard Companies

Micro Skate Companies vs. the Giants

The growth of the Skateboarding Industry can sometimes be measured by the success or failure of the many micro skateboarding related companies that make up the industry.
Many of today's industry giants were once garage operations.

By Cleo Coney Jr.

Murder Ride / Charles Crank

Murder Ride, what was your inspiration to kick it off?

It was easy, I had been watching so many horror films as a kid and with my babies momma and thought a Murder themed skateboard company would be a hit. Wes Humpston and Skip Engblom are the guys that inspired me the most to start a skateboard company though. I wanted to have my very own Zepher Team and bring some riders up by putting the illest custom painted boards under there feet just like Dogtown Skates did.  I thought if I custom painted my own boards and picked up some diversified riders that I could kickstart my own revolution based on the Dogtown Chronicles.

Micro Skate companies seem to generate more grassroots buzz than the larger entities, how has Murder Ride been accepted in your area?
The local shops have been real supportive in the growth of the company, people in the Bay Area are really into what we are doing, the parents like it as much as the kids do. Many locals tell me that Murder Ride boards look better than any other boards on the racks in the skate shops.
What's your biggest obstacle in the growth of Murder Ride?

I’ll say troubleshooting with the many different types of paints and other secret products that we use has been the biggest obstacle so far. I can’t count the hours we spend trying to perfect the recipe.

How quickly can you make graphic changes?
On the fly we can put a hot new five board series together in one day and produce prototypes within 3 days.

What's been your most proud moment so far in the development of Murder Ride?

Seeing the faces of these kids light up when I offer them a spot on the team is the best, It instantly builds their confidence and opens more doors to get them more sponsors and support.

Demon Seed / Wade Ulrich

How did Demon Seed come about?
Demon Seed was started in 2009 with a vision to product the highest quality boards with the sickest graphics on the market and sponsor some of the best skaters out there.

Collectively who decides what the graphics are going to look like?

 Myself and the artists, I try and let each artist design graphics with their own style while keeping with the brand image for Demon Seed. My Brewery riders did have input on their models though, especially Steve Workman with his model.

Skateboarding Micro companies are all the rage, how big do you want Demon Seed to grow?

Don’t plan on taking over the world…hahaha, but you never know.

 What do you think is the coolest thing about having input into your own skateboard company?

  Not having to settle for second best and having creative freedom.

 What has been the biggest challenge so far?

  The biggest challenge was to find a manufacturer that could produce boards that met my high quality standards. I'm a little OCD when it comes to quality and the Demon Seed brand.

What part of Florida is Demon Seed in?

 Demon Seed is from Cocoa Florida.

 What's the fastest way a person can get their hands on one of your decks?

 At their local skate shop or online at

 When I think of micro skate companies Paul, some of the first ones that come to mind are from back in the day, Markel, Flite, Schmitt Stix, Little, etc., all.
Why is this industry filled with so many micro skate companies?

 Don’t forget products like the Clyde Slide and Fish Stix. Skateboarding has always had a very do it yourself attitude, that means a lot of people want to try their hand at being a skateboard company. Now days it usually means having someone else make it for you and your company designs the graphics and images and sometimes the shape.

 You used to be a micro company back in the day, what was your biggest obstacle back then?

 Things were very different back then, as the skateboard had not been accepted by society yet. For me as a young company the obstacle was potential market.  That means I did things to promote skateboarding like build ramps, run contest, document them etc. Now days its the fact that a skateboard is a commodity product that sells price and not the merits of the product.

Creatively, do you think micro companies have a better handle on what's going on at the grassroots level?

 Young companies have the advantage of understanding their local marketplace. The problem is, to be successful you have to sell everywhere and that means you need to market well enough to get the consumers attention and create excitement about the product.

What advice do you have for all those start up and current micro skateboard companies on the scene today?

 When I was young the skateboard was unrefined. I was able to refine it and that is how I got people to pay attention to what I was doing. As a new company how are you going to get the consumers attention? Start your brand as a hobby and see if you can get someone’s attention locally and far away. If you can, then you need to figure out design, marketing, production, distribution & finance. If you do not have those 5 areas of your business in place, it’s going to be hard to compete in today's marketplace where the skateboard has become a commodity.

Find out what Paul Schmitt is up to @

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