Posts Tagged ‘hard goods’

Shorty’s Cooper Draper Pryce

March 29, 2012

Necessity is the mother of invention, goes the old saying. You can put lipstick on a pig, but you can’t stop him from eating the whole tube, goes another. Deceased Macho Man Randy Savage repeatedly shouted “oh yeah.” All of these phrases are different ways of expressing the idea that ever since the days when cavemen urinated on cave walls, mankind has yearned and urinated to express himself and develop a personal branding motif.

So it is with mounting hardware, that little-loved backwater of hardgoods commerce usually relegated to some lowly corner of the scratched-up glass merchandise case, forgotten between professionally colored trucks and expensive Black Label stickers autographed by Jub. Or is it? A detailed analysis of history reveals that hardware purveyours rank among the creamiest in skateboarding’s would-be crop of self-styled marketing necromancers.

The original baron of bolts must be known as Shorty’s Tony Buyalos, who swept aside faddish concerns such as “Bridgebolts” to zero in on an increasingly truthful fact of the world in the early 1990s, which was that mounting hardwares generally were too long and got sort of wavy from street skating*. At the height of its power, the Shorty’s empire commanded consumer loyalty not only to its nuts and bolts but to an array of multicolored bushings, bearings and even riser pads, a shocking twist of fate since the declining popularity of riser pads was what first helped to develop a thirst for Shorty’s bolts that were shorter. An unrelated line of snowboards came to be sold, Rosa became the industry’s diva of the 1990s** and the Muska was signed as an employee, skateboarding but also innovating new objects like the “short stacks.”

Today the hardware kingpin with the wealthiest fame must be Nick Tershay who built a profitable clothes company by starting with some difficult to use but heavily endorsed mounting hardwares bearing the Diamond brand. I never did see many people ever use Diamond hardware, but a knack for color schemes and a knowing of the right people bolstered Diamond’s standing to the point where one of its premium t-shirts may fetch near $100 in an open auction format. The company separately has Mike Carroll signature hardware currently on offer.

The expansive market share and well-loved logos nurtured in our time by hardware companies raises queries as to why bolt-makers have been able to capture valuable soft dollars while companies competing to sell “sexier” products such as footwear and boards have struggled to stay afloat in recent years. Seven-ply maple decks and minimalist suede shoes have steadily marched toward commoditization but selling nuts and bolts, basically a commodity to begin with, has birthed lucrative empires that have helped clothe rappers and introduced the world to the multifaceted talents of Peter Smolik. Are hardware sellers forced to hustle harder than the next outfit because they are starting with a humdrum product? Does a major corporate superpower like Nike or K-Mart or BNSF Railways possess the credibility to jump into the hardware fray? Could Torey Pudwill launch the next great mounting hardware dynasty? Is mounting hardware a right or a privilege?

*Not good wavy like “Coke Wave 2,” bad wavy like going to prison for 75 years
**Runner-up, Ricca Gentry?

How Many Months Do Yall Give Nick Trapasso’s Company With The Misspelled Name?

February 21, 2012

Probably it’s yet another sign that I’m getting older and higher strung and less cool with kids on the proverbial lawn that I look at the newly launched Life Extention Skateboard Group LLC and wonder not so much at its lifespan as much as the fact that it came together in the first place — when bros ten years older than I no doubt mumbled and grumbled the same thing about a decade back, around the unsteady unveiling of Baker. Say what you will about the various and sundry looks pursued by Jim Greco in the years since, but the Baker Bootleg boys bottled and guzzled the lightning of a very particular aesthetic that proved a lot longer-lived than even I would’ve thought, and I was a fan, although it seems like their vices/demons have plumbed greater depths than than this foglit new guard.

I’m not sure what they got together for the trade show, but they did approve a canned quote for a press release last month:
“The Life Extention Skateboard Group looks forward to working together with Blitz, to create an essential skateboard brand. Extend it,” said Trapasso.

As a card-carrying fan of the recently rejailed Lennie Kirk and respecter of risk-taking, I am compelled to acknowledge sheer balls, and the life-extenters look to be packing church bells — spearheaded by one of the industry’s spaciest cadets, sporting a misspelled name*, co-signed by malcontent recluse J Strickland, formed in the middle of an economic slow patch that’s steadily separating the old and infirm from the pack. Not that I’d begrudge the existence of a Tom Cruise-inspired company backed by some of the finer fuckups to fumble a tattoo gun in recent years, with the laid-back gumption to make good on the vow to deal decks out of their garage. If anything more of these kinds of shots oughtta be taken, even if the target’s invisible through a cloud of smoke and barrier of beer cans, to balance out the Business Plans For Dummies 2nd Edition strategizing and and paint-by-number logo decks pumped out each season. And what if they do blow it? Those early Big Brothers command classic status, and it was all those dudes could do to get issues out every couple months back then.

*I don’t believe that shit that they did it on purpose