Making Something out of Nothing
We can all take great inspiration from people who have overcame adversity by pushing the boundaries to take control of their own destinies and by doing so created a better life for themselves. Through grit and determination people can create something exceptional out of nothing.
Here are a few of our favourite pioneers in skateboarding today...
Nick Tershay: Diamond Supply Company
Nick probably was never considered "most likely to succeed" by his high school classmates as he admittedly skipped class most days to skate and drink 40s in the Embarcadero neighbourhood of his native San Francisco.
Nick knew he wanted his own company, but he was unsure where to start. He would often ponder this idea as he gazed at his skateboard while his friend drove him around San Francisco. As Nick shared in a 2012 interview with Hyperbeast,
"Next thing you know we had this idea about making these bolts that would have two allen keys, one for the screw and then an allen key hole for the actual nut. I was like “fuck man, I’m gonna make these.” He was going to do it with me, but then he got his girlfriend pregnant and moved out to like Tahoe or something. I just never really heard from him again. It took me a few years to develop this bolt, but that was it."
In 1998, Nick would no longer have to ponder the idea of his own company, as the California-based Diamond Supply Company was formed as the vehicle to launch his latest innovation in skateboard hardware. Him and his friends would ride under the name and from there, the idea grew into much more than just a bolt.
The Diamond brand expanded to tees, hats, hoodies, and other accessories that were selling out in the few shops they were distributed in.
Today, Diamond can be found in not only skate shops, but other clothing and apparel stores worldwide.
Nick, AKA Nicky Diamonds, continues to perpetuate the development of the Diamond brand and with his success, gives back to the skating community by reaching out to give skate-based startups the tips they need to get the ball rolling on their own dreams. Some of the best pros in the industry continue to ride under the Diamond name, one of them being another inspiration of ours: Torey Pudwill.
Torey Pudwill: Grizzly Griptape
As a teenager, Torey Pudwill seemed like just another Californian teen who spent his adolescence doing what he loved: skateboarding with his friends. Except he was really, really good at it. He was part of a big time team.
A few short years after his appearance among the pros, Pudwill achieved high status and a hard-earned respect. Thankfully for the industry, he didn’t stop there.
In the early 2010s, Pudwill founded Grizzly Griptape....right out of his garage! He’d get grip tape for free, use a punch out with a little bear logo that he created, and from there, made t-shirts for himself and for his crew to rep.
Pudwill joined forces with Diamond and they helped launch the Grizzly Griptape brand. It’s a great story of another kid that didn’t fit the mold. From finding his way from the garage to finding a great partner, Pudwell continues to discover new ways to grow the brand, all while still showing the patience required for long-term success.
Stevie Williams: DGK
Stevie Williams was 12-years old when he first filmed his part in hopes of skating with the Element team. When Williams started skating at the LOVE Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, him and his crew were referred to as the Dirty Ghetto Kids and were cast out as outsiders within outsiders. Him and his friends used to constantly be teased regarding their lack of skatewear and faced perpetual racism on a daily basis.
While Williams could have turned away from these hardships, he saw it as a source of inspiration. Instead of resenting those who hated him, Williams embraced the term Dirty Ghetto Kids and hitchhiked to California to turn that isolating title into a brand that the industry knows and loves today: DGK. While he was continuously a successful pro-skater, Williams faced the hardships of homelessness and poverty at a young age. Fortunately, a fellow skater gave him a chance to get on his feet and continue in the pro scene and the creation of DGK.
Today, icons such as Justin Beiber and Lil’ Wayne cite DGK as their favorite skateboard company. In addition to his work with DGK, Williams and his mother have done work with various charities and local community organizations to make skating a safer, more accessible recreational activity for everyone to enjoy.
At Sk8 Clothing, we get huge inspiration from these guys and others like them. It’s awesome to see kids (really young kids!) being so resourceful in a world that doesn’t accept who they are. They come from nothing, find a community where they fit in, and thrive from there.
Among many other lessons, inspirations like Tershay, Pudwill, and Williams showed us that no matter what, you have to Keep Pushing.
We’ve made that mantra one of our core principles here at SK8 Clothing. We’re always pushing for continuous improvement whether it’s on a skateboard, in business, or in everyday life.