Welcome Skateboards was started by Jason Celaya, Minister of Magic, and has managed to build up a pretty good following with their unique shapes and artwork. Jason's the skater behind it all. We're carrying Welcome in The Boardr Store, so I hit him up with a few bid'niss questions on his experience and thoughts regarding Welcome Skateboards.
Did you have any business experience prior to starting Welcome?
I am well versed in magic, so that is definitely an advantage over other guys trying to do it with business and marketing skills!
When did you start it
I started it at the end of 2009 with $2,000. We have no investors or loans...truly independent. It's funny because people sometimes are so used to pros starting companies, which a lot of the time means there is some distro or business guy funding it and doing most of the work. Day one they have advertising in magazines and are in all the shops around the world (which is awesome for them). However, that’s not how it is for us. We had to wait until people asked shops to bring us in. People get mad at us sometimes thinking we just won't sell to their local shop or country, when really it's just their shop has never heard of us and haven't called us yet.
Why did you start it?
Ultimately it was started because there wasn't a single company that either had boards how I wanted them or had a team I related to. But, it wasn't planned out at all. I drew an owl with a Sharpie marker and really wanted to make it a functional non-popsicle board (not a cruiser or old school board). My friend Nolan was into the idea and my goal was to sell enough boards to provide free boards for my friend Shane, Nolan, and I. We had a blog going and would post our friends and whatever on that. As it got going, I started figuring out how to make shapes work as good as popsicles. A lot of trial and error goes into getting it right. Now it has developed almost into this movement of rejecting mainstream skateboarding. However, we really just live in a bubble and don't pay attention to what everyone else is doing. I just want to be great at what we do.
Who is on the team?
Definitely more of a big group of friends than an actual team that was assembled to promote some brand. In no particular order:
- Nolan Johnson (Noly)
- Chris Milic (Mango)
- Logan Devlin (Loggie)
- Logan Lara (Loglar)
- Daniel Vargas (Dvargs)
- Ryan Lay (Punchy)
- Erick Winkowski
- Mark McCoy (Marky Numbers)
- Kody Karnahan
- Brandon Perelson
- Nora Vasconcellos
- Sam Cole
- Lukas Miller
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give a younger and less experienced version of you who was just starting Welcome back in 2009?
Hi Jason. Don't start a skateboard company. It’s too much work. Just skate and draw your pictures to show your friends.
If you could change something about the skateboard industry today, what would it be?
Nothing! I think it's awesome. There is something for everyone now. I guess it would be rad if the media was controlled less by advertising, but websites like Jenkem and others seem to be doing some organic editorial now. Then again, we were created by the media's reluctance to cover any skaters that don't fit their formula, so I should thank them, really.
What do you think is the best way to market a skateboarding company these days? Social media? Traditional ads? A ripping (and expensive) team? Stand out/different product? Or a combination of all of those?
Be truly different, but what is that now? I think it's funny that the criteria for different skateboard company is just a logo and a video. Everything is covered at this point. Everyone is super good at skating now so no one is really.
Thanks Jason and thanks for letting us carry your boards. We're hyped to have them.
So stoked that you are willing to carry them! You guys have such a great skateboard history. I am excited to see what you do with The Boardr.
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