After getting a lot of feed back on the post I made about the Consolidated Don’t Do it campaign. Birdo, the owner of Consolidated Skateboards got in touch with me to explain his side of the story. You can read the entire letter below.
I read your article about the Don’t do it campaign. The Don’t do it campaign isn’t anti big business and its not anti making money. The premise behind it is that the large sporting goods companies are trying to cash in on something that they didn’t build. Lets go back in time a bit. If you think about the existence of skate shops or specialty stores, they exist because whatever existing channel of distribution there was, didn’t want these products. So what I am saying is that when skaters made good “performance” skateboards, they took them to the sporting goods stores and tried to sell them. The sporting goods stores didn’t want them. So the long hard skateboard struggle/journey begins. Skateboard shops slowly started popping up to supply the demand and to help spread the enjoyment of skateboarding. The skateboard manufacturers would have sold to anyone who would have bought their products, but only the core shops would. Same thing in surfing and snowboarding. The industry, after a lot of hard work, now had its own distribution channel. Now the large sporting goods companies. Had they gotten in from the beginning, there wouldn’t be so many skater owned companies. For the same reason there are no soccer, baseball, football, basketball player owned sporting goods companies. Now these large sporting goods companies want to cash in on what this industry had built. Sure, its a free country and they have every right to try. But what’s at stake? All these “core” shops that they are being so nice to. Flying them to their campus, making them custom shoes. What do they need them for? Distribution? They already have a distribution that can serve almost everyone in the entire world! So then what? They need them for the stamp of approval. They know they can’t enter the industry, unless they go through these shops. But then what? They are handing these shops a knife to slit their own throats. All this ass kissing. Flying the magazines around, team manager series, exploiting core elements like minor threat, pabst blue ribbon and artist shoes. So they can take our industry and plug it into their distribution. I understand the “who cares” attitude. Part of me wants to go that way because its hard work to fight. To spread the word. To try to show people one by one that the soul of this industry, the thing that attracted them to it in the first place, is in danger of getting swept away. But I know I have to. Because the ones who are passive become victims. I am a part of this industry, and I feel that if no one in this industry is willing to take the wheel and steer it where it needs to go, someone from outside is going to do it. And I am not gonna let that happen. At least not without a fight.