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Jobs In Skateboarding - Key Account Manager

Jobs In Skateboarding - Key Account Manager Looking from the outside in...

Jobs In Skateboarding - Key Account Manager

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. 

Small companies rely on staff to be able to take on a multitude of tasks in one job. Tom at Form is one of those people. 

What's your name?

Tom Smith. 

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

My current role is Key Account Manager for Form Distribution. 

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

Form is a small team of five so my job is made up of talking to UK stores on everything from new lines, sell through, marketing, selling the latest Girl, Chocolate, Zero, Lakai, Alltimers, Royal, Crupie and Footprint to shops in the UK and Europe, receiving deliveries, picking and packing orders, team management, cleaning, winning at pool on lunch breaks, marketing and everything in-between. 

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

I’ve been really lucky to work for a bunch of different companies and brands in the industry. I started working in Leisure centres and when the XC in Hemel was being built I got a job as the Assistant Manager. I worked there for about a year whilst riding for some snowboard brands as the snow dome was right around the corner so I could skate and snowboard all the time which was sick. 

I did a bunch of work experience for my sponsors at trade shows in the UK and Ispo in Germany, then when a job came up working for Burton Snowboards on Gravis, Analog and Forum snowboards, I applied and got lucky. It was sick because one of my best mates was also working for Burton at the time so I was travelling the UK talking to skate and snowboard stores with my mate. Burton ended up pulling the plug on those brands and I was unfortunately made redundant. 

I then worked at SS20 in Oxford for a couple of years. It was definiley sick working in a core skate and snowboard store and I made some great friends working there. After leaving Burton I started riding for my old sponsors again and got asked to work for SoleTech for their snowboard brand ThirtyTwo. Again that was a dream job, I got to do a lot of snowboarding that year with demos across Europe. Finally I applied for a job at Form when Alex Barton was leaving to pursue ABC skate school and Lariatt full time and I’ve been here for over 6 years now.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The people you get to work with are the best thing about my job. The guys in the office are some of the best people I know, the stores you talk to everyday are awesome and I’ve ended up working for some of the best skateboarders ever. I still trip out seeing Rick Howard’s name on an email.

What’s the worst thing about your job?

Never fully switching off, I like to be that guy that if you email me you’ll get a reply, but that means I often send out emails out of hours.

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

Be nice and work hard.

Jobs In Skateboarding - Key Account Manager - FS Board

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Jobs In Skateboarding - Freelance Skateboard Journalist

Jobs In Skateboarding - Freelance Skateboard Journalist Looking from the outside in...

Jobs In Skateboarding - Freelance Skateboard Journalist

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. 
 
Our mate Jono sits on the edge of the industry displaying his candid and nerdy commentary on skateboarding through his freelance work that can be read in Vague as well as his published travel journal.

 

Jobs In Skateboarding - Freelance Skateboard Journalist - Jono Coote

 

What's your name?

Jono Coote

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

I suppose my role would be ‘Freelance Skateboard Journalist’ and I work for myself (alongside an unrelentingly non-skateboard related day job), but the majority of my freelance work is with Vague Skate Mag.

What is it that you actually do?

Specifically for Vague, my role is mostly article contribution - opinion, interview, tour, or whatever other form that may take. Apart from the actual act of writing this means chasing up interviews, planning projects, thinking up tour ideas that haven’t been rinsed for 20 years (a weekend trip to Southbank yeah?), and researching obscure corners of the internet for fodder. On top of that, I proofread the magazine before it goes to print. In a broader sense, I just fart about thinking really hard about skateboarding and then putting those thoughts on paper. 

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

My introduction to the industry was four years working at Sidewalk Skateboarding Magazine (and a couple before that contributing the occasional article whilst finishing my Masters). Working with Ben, Horsley, Rye, CJ and Guy was the best possible introduction to the industry, with a high level of industry experience between them matched only by their incredibly enthusiastic skate nerdery. They soon helped me tighten up my use of grammar and dispense with my misguided efforts to try and pioneer the ‘long fish’ style of filming.

After Sidewalk went under and I moved to Australia I wrote a book about my travels through a skateboarding lens, No Beer on a Dead Planet. That doesn’t really count as a skate industry position as I wrote it for my own pleasure rather than under commission, but that’s the beauty of the ‘skate industry’ I guess; a lot of the time, the work is put in by those who do it because they really, really like skateboarding and want to express that in some way beyond just the physical act of riding a board. 

What’s the best thing about your job?

Being a freelancer on top of another job is very different to working in the industry full time, but the best thing in either scenario is being able to shine a light on areas of skateboarding that I feel deserve it - I can see some kid at the skatepark ripping, or hear about a mate’s new creative outlet, and hopefully share that with a broader audience, which is fucking great. There are no gatekeepers beyond your own mind, and if no one is accepting your articles/photos then you can go out and start your own zine.

What’s the worst thing about your job?

Currently, not being in a position to concentrate full time on it and having to relegate it to a second job/hobby while I pay rent with a regular job. Even then, to be honest, I’m learning loads about time management, workload prioritisation and other incredibly dull CV buzzwords then I would have otherwise.

Hopefully this will build many ‘transferable skills’ when I implement my ruthless Murdoch-style skateboard media takeover. Short answer, the worst thing about my job is it not being my job.

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

Going back to the answer before last, start your own zine/blog - to hone your craft obviously, but mostly for the sheer unadulterated pleasure of forcing your half formed and probably drunken opinions on people. The more you write, the better your writing will get and the more people will take notice, even if you’re writing a borderline certifiable prose poem about Steve Berra being the true godfather of DIY. 

Read widely beyond just skate magazines (still read them, though) as being able to discuss something in an article beyond just who landed what trick will make your writing stand out. Get to grips with grammar. Don’t stress too hard about not making a living and enjoy it for its own sake, otherwise everything you write will be tainted by the unsavoury whiff of capitalist endeavour.

Jobs In Skateboarding - Freelance Skateboard Journalist - Reece Leung
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Jobs In Skateboarding - Shop Worker

 Jobs In Skateboarding - Shop Worker Looking from the outside in it...

 Jobs In Skateboarding - Shop Worker

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. 

You've got to start somewhere, a whole lot of our previous interviewees began their journey into the skateboarding world by working at their local skate shop. Kizzy at Note takes us through her day-to-day below. 

Jobs In Skateboarding - Shop Worker - Kizzy

What's your name?

Kizzy Yuill

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

I work at NOTE skate shop in Manchester, official title is probably just 'Worker'. Or according to one customer over email "mindless warehouse packer".

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

Pretty much anything that needs doing around the shop or for the online store. A lot of time is obviously spent serving customers and advising on board setups, I also do a lot of packing and posting out the online orders, answering emails, checking off any deliveries, organising the stock room as well as helping to data input new products on the back end of the website. 

Until recently NOTE had two shops just around the corner from each other, one for hardware and one for clothing/shoes so my time was split pretty equally across both shops, however we've now closed one shop to the public and are using it as more of an office space to concentrate on the online business. I end up doing a pretty wide variety of jobs which suit me well, I get bored doing just one thing haha.

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

I used to work at cage (Projekts) for a few years doing coaching which was fun for a while, the hours were a bit more unsociable and less regular there though.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Working with your mates for sure and meeting new people in the scene. I enjoy people watching as well on Thomas Street, it's an absolute circus out there.

What’s the worst thing about your job?

When it's a dead nice day and loads of people come through the shop ready to go skate, it's pretty soul crushing that you can't skate too haha. Also sneakerheads can be pretty draining.

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

Lurk around and support your local shop, be friendly with everyone and be able to take a roast.

Jobs In Skateboarding - Shop Worker - Wallride
photo : Reece Leung
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Jobs In Skateboarding - Skate Shop Owner

Jobs In Skateboarding - Skate Shop Owner Looking from the outside in...

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.

RIP BRUCE THE OX ♥️

 
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