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SteelCity
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PostSubject: Questions about the business?   Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:07 pm

Hey Guys afro 

My names Cubby, and i got a couple'a'questions about the fingerboard business..

does it pay off?
is it easier selling decks or obstacles? (which is cheaper to make and sells for more)
does it cost alot to start making decks from scratch?

i have a love for fingerboarding and am looking into making a career out of it
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Joe
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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:19 pm

Not really, at least not at first. There's a very small chance you could end up like Flatface or Blackriver, but those guys have literally dedicated their whole lives to fingerboarding, and traveled the world to promote themselves.

Selling decks or obstacles will depend, which do you WANT to make... 

It can cost a lot, if you want a good metal CNC made mold, you can expect to pay just over $200US, plus materials. An investment of around $500US would prob set you up to start making decks, assuming you have some basic tools like a belt sander and a drill press etc....But expect to make them for months before they are good enough for sale.


Fingerboarding "businesses" are something people do for love, not for profit. If you want to make money, this is not the "business" to be in.
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Danny H
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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:34 pm

SteelCity wrote:
does it pay off?
No.

Especially not in the UK. Kerry ran fingersized for over a year, it did brilliantly for the first half of it's time and then sales just dropped, because the UK just isn't large enough to have enough fingerboarders. We have a great scene because the UK is small and therefore everyone is pretty close together, but it doesn't mean that the amount of fingerboarders is enough to properly support a business. The Norwood Project (TNP) is currently the only UK distribution and as far as I know he's doing quite well, stocking Yellowoods/YTrucks/Blackriver products which is great for Britain/Europe because it means quick postage. Blosom is definitely the most successful UK deck brand too, there was a time where they were pretty much the highest demand of decks, but now he usually has decks on the store most weeks because people just aren't buying as much as they used to.

I'm pretty sure this goes for the full fingerboarding scene though, even Blackriver had to dismiss a few members of staff last year unfortunately because they couldn't afford to pay everyone. Part of the reason is that people have bought so much stuff over the years that you can make a post in B/S/T and get something for cheaper than buying it new, for example you can easily pick up a used Berlinwood for £10-20 rather than buying a new one for £30-35 I think they are?

I don't think you need an answer for the other questions, because the sole purpose of this thread was to find out if fingerboarding is a viable business opportunity, and there's your answer. happy
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SteelCity
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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:43 pm

Thanks for this guys.. its something i'd like to do but it looks really hard and i dont wanna be one of those companys who disapeers after a month or two
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Mikkel S
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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:53 pm

Yes it pays off.

Making decks is awesome, and I love doing it, so in that way it pays off.

Have a ever made a profit? Nope. But if profit is your reason then you should just quit.

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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:39 pm

Here's my opinion. (I'm just gonna say "fingerboards" but I mean "fingerboard products.")
If you make fingerboards for a living, that is not a smart move. Not only is there a low chance of someone making a serious career out of it, but it makes you too competitive. It's one thing if you make decks for fun, and maybe for some side money. But when making decks is what feeds you and pays your bills, you start to lose the fun and become a competitive dick.
For example, companies on the banner like OG, Lovedrug, Temple, etc all have a friendly competition going on. If someone is looking for a deck, they will all suggest their own. If you make fingerboards to sustain your life, you will go at the throats of all other companies.
Moral of the story: Make fingerboards for fun. Profit is nice, but no biggie. happy

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Mikkel S
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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:49 pm

Blackriver makes FB products for a living, you don't see them talk shit wink

The problem with depending on profits is that you often have to compromise on the quality to get a cheaper production. Blackriver has done that, no comply and Homewood have introduced China made budget lines.

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Xi wrote:
maybe i just ride much tighter than other people and its just deformed

All the haters wanna be me
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Joe
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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:41 am

Thing is, something like 40% of skateboards are made in china. But in the fingerboard world people turn there nose up at it. Truth is, China is actually capable of making good quality products, but they do what the market demands, which is cheap, poor quality products, with a fairly high re-sale value. 

People in the fingerboard world want the absolute top products all the time. 
Many skateboarders just ride cheap blanks, and have 1 or 2 at a time. 
Us fingerboarders seem to want several pro setups at any one time. 
People want to support the scene too, and help it grow. 

Unless fingerboarding becomes suddenly as popular as skateboarding, there probably won't be any money in it. Even if it did, most of that money would still be made by China manufacturers, and resellers. 

In saying that, blackriver and flatface have both done it, but as I said earlier they both dedicated their lives to fingerboarding to get there.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:47 am

SteelCity wrote:
Hey Guys afro 

My names Cubby, and i got a couple'a'questions about the fingerboard business..

does it pay off?
is it easier selling decks or obstacles? (which is cheaper to make and sells for more)
does it cost alot to start making decks from scratch?

i have a love for fingerboarding and am looking into making a career out  of it
I'm going to assume that you just started fingerboarding by what you listed your set up as. I can tell you right now that you will not make the money you'd be making with a part time job doing this. I've broken even and some selling decks but I choose to go and put that money back into what I like and further it. Have I pocketed the cash at times? Of course I have. Anyone who sells decks works hard and put a lot of time and effort into their decks just to make a few bucks profit which usually gets eaten up by buying basic materials. Hand making anything is not easy and a majority of people selling decks don't get the money they deserve for their work. We know it's not the right amount but we have a good time making decks and that makes up for the lack of money at times. You can look at Black River or Flatface but as harsh as it sounds, the chances of you getting to that level is slim to none. There are a handful of people I can think of that deserve a lot more attention than they've received and they've been at it for a while. I encourage you to try making your own decks/obstacles because it really is fun even if you're not good at it and also can introduce you to some other cool hobbies. The main piece of advice I can give you is to do it as a hobby. If you invest a lot of money on fancy molds and tools in hopes of making a quick buck then you'll be sadly mistaken. Start it as a hobby and see where it takes you man.


Judging by the ":/" after you list your set up I can assure you that one of the best feelings is when you can hand make the same quality deck that someone is selling for $30.

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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:21 am

Many deck makers on here really do it as a hobby and sell decks when they want to. A lot of them do not dedicate their lives to making fingerboards and selling them to the masses. There is simply no market for it. While people do buy decks it is nothing in comparison to the sale of regular skateboards. Starting up something today and putting your whole life in to it would probably result in a not so happy ending. As said before, Blackriver and Flatface are so successful because they started even before fingerboarding got popular and they are flourishing because of it. They are the ones who have put everything in to it and got something out of it because they started at the right time. If you have your heart set on this there is nothing anyone can say that can change your mind. But starting a business is more than passion. Its a huge risk factor, and a lot of the time it ends up not being worth it. Now, if you have the time to dedicate to it by all means go for it, but be prepared for failure and disappointment. And have a backup plan, have someone other way of providing for yourself in case it fails. Which will probably happen. I don't say thing to convince you not to do it, I say it because its true. 80% of business do not survive the first year. If you have a plan and you have the money and time, go for it. But you have to have a plan. Be wise and know what you are doing. To be honest there is nothing wrong with taking a few years to learn the ins and outs of the community and start little projects to get to where you want to go. It will not happen over night and you can't expect immediate success. Just some words to think about.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:32 am

Just wanted to add. 

Ryan is right, and what has been said is all correct. 

However, there's also the aspect of actually running a business. 
Blackriver and flatface are both profitable. 
Having experience running a business, and some good knowledge can go a long way. 

I'm just pointing out, 99.9% of people who start a fingerboard company do do it for the love! and not for profit, which is awesome. 
The same 99.9% however, have no or virtually no previous business experience. 

Be it a diner, a law firm, or a fingerboard business.... They all require experience and knowledge at some level. Knowledge and experience in both the industry, and running a business. Things like Marketing often go missed in fingerboarding. Sometimes a simple banner add is not enough. 

Again, I'll take Flatface as an obvious example. Mike put 110% into flatface! he uploaded (and still does) videos on almost a daily basis, that sold the company in the way large companies like apple do. They featured other people, using flatface products and having fun. He sold a lifestyle almost. Just like blackriver do.
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Mikkel S
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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:38 am

Joe.F wrote:
Thing is, something like 40% of skateboards are made in china. But in the fingerboard world people turn there nose up at it. Truth is, China is actually capable of making good quality products, but they do what the market demands, which is cheap, poor quality products, with a fairly high re-sale value. 
The thing is, fingerboarding has always been about using products made by other fingerboarders, which is what i love about it, the same goes for skateboarding actually..

Even though companies like Dwindle have their decks made in china, they still have them made to their own specifications, and on their own factory i think.

Fingerboards made in china isn't a bad thing, Close Up did some hella cool stuff with it, untill they ended up using the same generic china board that everyone can buy and sell with no effort.


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Xi wrote:
maybe i just ride much tighter than other people and its just deformed

All the haters wanna be me
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Joe
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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:54 am

Yep, exactly.

I was hinting at that with the fact that china are capable of making good quality products. Quite a few of the major skateboard companies do this, but like you said, Mikkel, they either have a factory, or they spend a great deal of time sourcing and supplying good materials to the factories with a big stress on quality. 

Heck, if you were willing to spend $10 USD per unit on fingerboard decks, instead of $1.50, China could make you some awesome decks.

And as you also said, we love to use products made by other fingerboarders. That's what's cool about being a niche little community and what makes some of these companies so remarkable.
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SteelCity
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PostSubject: Re: Questions about the business?   Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:05 pm

WOW, thanks for all the great reply's, from some amazing people.. i like the idea of making decks but i don't have an easy source of veneer like i do concrete or plywood, so it seems a better idea to make obstacles.. i wont be selling straight away like most of you have suggested, making my own obstacles for personal use until i feel they are at a high enough standard.. i'd like to thank all of you that replied to this post, for the time and advice given very happy i'll try to keep you posted
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