Back in December 2009 I hooked up with Frode Goa, the owner of SHIT Skateboards and it has taken a while to get this interview together. But finally it’s ready and I’m happy to let you have a look inside the mastermind of one of Norway’s leading skateboard brands. A big thanks to Frode for this and I’m looking forward to the rest of this year and what happens with the SHIT Skateboards team. Also thanks to the photographers Alex Holm and Erik Lekang for the pictures in this interview.
Let’s get this started with some basic facts: name, age, where do you live, favorite drink!
Frode Goa, 33 years old, living on the West Coast of Norway were waves are pumping, we got awesome streets spots for skateboarding, indoor park, and a bit snow in the mountains. This confirms a quite healthy(?) and busy life and business. I see my business as my life, and love it. My business is my pleasure.
Favorite drink must be healthy juices, especially one they have in Germany in glass bottle. Canâ€™t remember the name. Alcoholic drinksâ€¦I love Malibu with milk and Jack/Coke.
You are the man behind the brand ‘SHIT Skateboard Company’. How did you decide on this name and what is the story behind the origin of the company?
I started my own company in 1996 doing freelance designs. That year I met Kim Stokke. We decided to do something for real that we found interesting to work with, and the outcome took us nearly five years to settle. We started the brand in 2000.
We decided to have a short 4-5 letter name of international spice, and wanted it to be rough or provocative to get the youthâ€™s attention. The logo was set before the name as a matter of fact. The name is strong, provocative, gets attention, and it is my job to make it all in a positive associated way.
The beginning of a company / a store is always hard on the finances, the family and yourself. Do you think it was any different or even more difficult in Norway?
No doubt about that. And honestly – It is still hard. It is a delicate balance. It is a matter of laying brick on brick and taking one step at the time. Even if you sometimes just urge to go five steps ahead, you need to take it firm and slow.
SHIT doesn’t just design and sell only the – I’l call it typical – line of products for a skateboard/clothing brand. You’ve done collaboration lines with several companies, you have surfboards, even a SHIT jewelry line is available. Do you have a sales/development strategy behind all of these ideas or does SHIT just do what they want to?
There are no planned sales or development strategies what so ever! We got no time for that. The strategy is, and have always been made as we walk the line. The different collabs have become natural and are more arty then the rest of our products. It is collective items for sure. And unfortunately people might not be able to understand this before it is too late. But there are a few collectors out there securing themselves some Norwegian skateboarding history. Maybe even international if we succeed.
The SHIT JEWELRY is what is closest to my heart and something I have spent a lot of time and money on, and not had any profit at all on. But it is important to let the ideas out so that other people can be inspired and motivated. And some projects is naturally closer to the heart and therefore spent more time and money on.
Being able to combine what you love with your job you must have an opinion about the incredible growth of skateboarding and the involvement of large companies in marketing their products with the sport. How do you see the development and where do you see skateboarding going in the next 5 years?
I believe that skateboarding is going to be quite huge globally. It is going to be extreme. It is great to see old skateboarders getting em jobs as architects, as teachers and other jobs were skateboarding have a bad name, or used to have a bad name. Now you see schools making ramps in the school yard where kids can skate in the breaks. That was not possible 7 years ago. It is us grown skateboarders job to spread the good vibes about skateboarding and enlighten the folks.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
It is a way harder and takes much more effort than ever imagined. And you meet a lot of challenges on the way, and you have to deal with many unexpected things you never dream (nightmare!!!) of getting involved in. But as long as you have a open mind and a positive attitude I think you can tackle every challenge and grow on them.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently with SHIT?
Yes! Many things! I could write a book about it. There is no â€œstandardsâ€ or literature about this business. It is unique. And thatâ€™s whatâ€™s so interesting yet challenging.
Currently you’ve got 5 skaters on your team (4 Norwegians and one Austrian). Any plans for expanding the team? Ever thought about creating a team video?
We got 5 skaters on the team and some flow skaters via distribution. If everything comes in place we will have something very interesting to launch this year. I am in the dealing process.
We did a promo dvd in 2006, named GOOD SHIT. And we will be out with a new DVD with the working title â€œHOLY SHIT!â€ later this year. When that is revealed I must tell that we were one and twoo weeks in Barcelona kicking off 2010 and kicking of the upcoming DVD. Bangers is captured. (Read more on my BLOG; www.shittm.com/blog/frode)
Name three of your favorite spots in the world to skate/surf/have fun basically.
I love skateboarding in Oslo, the capitol of Norway. The past seven months I lived in Oslo because I were setting up and working in my second SHIT FLAG STORE. The shop concept is one of itâ€™s kind. But I have never skated so much for years as while living in Oslo. 2009 was super productive skateboarding-wise for me personally.
The Canaryâ€™s are awesome, Barcelona is great, I love my hometown Stavanger too.
I have been a couple of times in LA skateboarding, and it is great. Shanghai streets are also great to skate at night when people sleep. I enjoy my skateboarding wherever I am, and the same with surfing. Being able to surf the ice cold waves at Jaeren is amazing. It is the West Coast of Norway where I live. Surfing piggy is awesome. And the surf scene is tight and good.
What can other people learn from you and what advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Patient. Self discipline. Networking. Never give up. You become what you want to be â€“ if you really want it and dream of it and can imagine it!
It’s a week before Christmas 2009. How has the Christmas season been for you and SHIT, are you happy?
The Christmas season have been great. Much skateboarding together with the team has been great. Nice photo shoots, contests, filming sessions and partying with the Team and friends. Increased sales with about 40% compared with same period last year makes me confident.
How are you planning to spend New Year’s Eve and do you have and any special wishes for the New Year?
As mentioned above, SHIT SKATEBOARD COMPANY have a special kick off for 2010. And yes, I am going to reveal it right here and right now: The team will be in Barcelona celebrating a great 2009 for SHIT and New Yearâ€™s Evening with a major dinner at our apartment. (Yes! We go to Barca to film for our upcoming HOLY SHIT dvd). Pics and fresh footy will be available on shittm.com just after New Yearâ€™s Eve.
2010 is a milestone for SHIT SKATEBOARD COMPANY. It is 10yearâ€™s anniversary and a lot will happen, both events/tours and products.
Furthermore: here is a link to our Christmas flick from 2009!
A big thanks to Frode and SHIT Skateboards for this interview. Keep your eyes peeled for this skateboard company in the future, they’re here to stay!
Â» check out the SHIT Skateboards website