Jobs In Skateboarding - Skate Shop Owner

Jobs In Skateboarding - Skate Shop Owner

Jobs In Skateboarding - Skate Shop Owner

Looking from the outside in it may seem as if jobs in skateboarding are few and far between, but once you delve deeper into the possibilities there's a plethora of careers surrounding our favourite toy. We hit up as many people as possible to investigate deeper to ask ‘What do you even do?’, so hopefully you’ll learn something new and find helpful ways to get into our so-called skateboarding industry. 

In 2021 we hosted the Skate Shop Roundup with a few friends, what didn't get mentioned was the 'how' when it came to running an independent skate shop. Grim at Freestyle in Wales has stepped up to the plate giving us an inside look into his day-to-day. Thanks Grim!


Jobs In Skateboarding - Skate Shop Owner

What's your name?

My name is Darran (with an A) but I’m better known as Grim, full title is The Grim Reseeder lovingly given to me by the artist Phil Hacket I believe. 

What is your current role and who do you work for?

I am the current owner of Newport based Freestyle Skatestore, we are coming up to our 27th year and I took over from Big Ray when he wanted out in about 2008 I think. I also work with dogs 3 days a week now just to mix it up, good to switch it up to stay interested and keen, I look forward to my days again. 

What is it that you actually do? / What takes up a majority of your work time?

My daily store routine is, wake up, take the dogs in to work with me, open up, clear up the shit I left last minute the day before because I couldn’t be arsed. Then I decide what DVD will be my soundtrack for the day, pack any online orders that I am surprised to have. Realise I have stuff needs to be put online, procrastinate finger-boarding, put stuff online, Instagram some dumb shit then remember to put that I have new stuff in. Pop next door and chat to Dom in Bwrw Cwrw (raining beer in Welsh) another skater owned company.

Then walk the dogs.

Put stuff out. Answer the phone, reply to people on the gram and serve people, I love helping people choose the right set up. Try and talk to every person coming in, it pains me if I am too busy and can't give my 110% to people. Sadly being too busy is not a big problem haha!

Did you have any roles in the skate industry before this?

Before owning Freestyle I worked in the store on and off over the years.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Best thing is working alongside industry friends, all the skater owned shops get on, it’s class and I have many friends in the distros.

Then just seeing people grow in skateboarding, seeing kids get sponsored and knowing you helped put them on that path, no credit its their talent but still nice to put brands on to them.

What’s the worst thing about your job?

The worst thing apart from being skint and stressing about bills is constantly being reachable, "Have you got...?" at 10pm, then followed by a "?". When you don't answer in 20 minutes and you don’t want people thinking you're a dick but you're asleep or you're cleaning up dog shit or bathing your kid.

But I'm also very aware that the person could use anyone and you're stoked that they chose your shop and you want to help them out. I hope that it doesn't come across as salty!

Any advice for skateboarders out there who want to pursue your line of work?

My advice if you're looking to open a skate shop is, firstly 'DON’T TREAD ON TOES', if you open a store too close to another, you won’t get accounts and your name will be mud. Invest in your scene. Don't be afraid to try something new, know your locals. Invest in your own brand. It's cheaper for locals and you can put the shop's personality into it. Step away from social media sometimes. If you miss a sale it’s not the end of the world. Your website is right there. They can find what wheel base a board is on there.

The shop life is good, I've met a tonne of friends, filled a skate house, helped a lot of people, helped get 3 parks built, and lets face it paying trade for products is pretty tight.