I remember it like it was yesterday, while at the same time, it feels like it was a lifetime ago. It was the summer of 2019 while I was working for and co-owner of another skate company. I was on a flight from Atlanta back to Minneapolis writing in my journal. Nothing of importance, just your run-of-the-mill stream of consciousness, when all of a sudden the words "it's time for me to start my own company" casually made their way from pen to paper, as if I was writing what I had for lunch that day. I set my pen down and started to think about what my own skateboard company would look like.
In the back of my head I've always had the idea to somehow work in the climate industry. I didn't know what that would look like, what I would do, or if I even had any qualifications to do so, I just knew that I am passionate about bringing awareness to the issues that climate change will bring today and in future generations and that I want to be a part of that.
So when I started to think about a new skateboard company, my mind immediately went to “how could I somehow incorporate climate awareness and sustainability into this new company?”
From this PILLLAR, the worlds’ first climate-positive skateboard company was born.
Launching a skateboard company in February of 2020 seemed a harmless enough idea, that is until the wrath of 2020 hit. Over the next 12 months the world would be consumed by a global pandemic, civil unrest and riots due to the murder of George Floyd (which took place 8 blocks away from PILLLAR office), the most divisive presidential election the United States has ever seen and let us not forget about the insurrection and storming of the US Capitol.
Despite all of that, the past year for PILLLAR was beyond anything I could’ve imagined while sitting in that cramped airplane seat all those months ago.
Being the new kid on the block in the skate industry is not an easy undertaking, to say the least. And I’m not going to go into the politics or the lessons I’ve learned in that department (I’ll save that for another post), but PILLLAR is starting to carve our own little niche in a very saturated market and we’re excited about that and what the future holds.
I’m ecstatic about the skate team we’ve put together. Such a diverse skillset of skateboarders spanning from coast to coast and North to South, the PILLLAR skate team may be relatively unknown, but I definitely do not expect that to be the case in a year from now.
The phrase Climate Positive Skateboard company is not something you see every day and I still get asked all the time what exactly that means. To be honest, I love getting that question, because it allows for a conversation about how businesses from all industries can take the lead on being environmentally conscious about how we manage our business and the impacts we have on the environment.
Over the past year, we’ve meticulously tracked our monthly CO2 emissions and offset that by 127% by partnering with the National Forest Foundation to plant trees for every board we sell and donating to organizations whose missions are to invest clean technologies and remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
To date PILLLAR has planted over 625 trees, removed 13.75 metric tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, donated 1% of all of our profits to climate causes, and had 340 people sign our “No Plastic Pledge.”
All of this is to say that I’m so grateful for all of the support and encouragement we’ve received over the past year and that I’m beyond excited about what year 2 has in store for PILLLAR.