It was fall of 2019 when I first had the idea for PILLLAR Skateboards, a climate-positive skateboard company that focused as much on limiting our impact on the environment as it did promoting skateboarding in a new way.
I knew that I wanted to do things differently from other skate companies, but at the time, I didn't have all the answers as to what exactly that meant. Nearly three years later, I'm slowly starting to figure out what PILLLAR is and what it can be.
There's some really amazing skate companies out there doing some very rad things for skateboarding, but I also know that there's so much more to skateboarding and skateboarders than what we can do on our boards. My goal for PILLLAR is to be the place where that can be showcased.
The build out of Forum Cafe is the perfect encapsulation of what I mean when I say skateboarders are more than what they can do on their board. This was huge endeavor, much bigger than my naive-self ever imagined and it could not have happened without the help of so many friends and fellow skaters.
From the demo and framing by Alex Brown, who also owns his own construction company. To the handcrafted tables and bar tops done by Brad Hay and Tye Halek of Re-Generate Wood. The beautiful pottery of Ryan Ball, who made all of our latte and espresso mugs as well as the saucers that go along with them. And of course every business needs insurance, and it just so happens one of my best skate homies, Matt Carlson, also writes insurance policies for businesses.
The point I'm trying to make is; there's so much more to all of us than skateboarding and for PILLLAR it's to not conform to any set expectations or confined boxes of what a skate company should be and instead do what feels true to our core and the foundation on which PILLLAR was built.
Enter Devante Erlandsen.
I met Devante about a year and a half ago and since then he always seemed to be popping up in my life. But it wan't until Forum opened that we started to really get to know one another. I remember the first time he came to the cafe, he asked me "what will it take to get on the PILLLAR skate team?" I gave some non-comital half-assed answer like "I don't know man. Maybe someday. We'll see." Despite that lackluster response, Devante didn't give up on asking the question every time we crossed paths.
As we got to know each other more, we started having deeper conversations about business and the direction of PILLLAR and the skate team. I learned more about what he was doing with personal training and coaching and how seriously he took physical and mental health and how important it is for skaters who want to perform at their best.
The more we met, the more I knew there was a place for him with PILLLAR, not just as a team rider, but as team manager. It wasn't just his skating that got my attention, it was his energy, motivation and how his mind was always thinking of ways to grow, that really grabbed my attention and I knew that he would be a perfect Fit (foreshadowing?) and compliment how I approach running PILLLAR.
Our weekly meetings consisted of growing the skate team, an upcoming video and future skate trips, but always evolved into talking more about the business as a whole and how we can grow PILLLAR and bring what we're doing to more people. Every time we met, I left feeling inspired and excited for the future and knew that there is even a larger role with the company for Devante.
The more I thought about how I could bring him into the business side of PILLLAR, my mind quickly turned to incorporating what he was already doing with coaching and fitness and bring that into our approach to skateboarding. To not only get our skate team riding at their very best, but also for skaters and non-skaters of all ages that want to perform at their best by utilizing the core components of what makes skaters so good at what they do; Strength, Movement and Performance and applying that to their fitness goals.
Once the conversation started about joining forces, it was inevitable that it was going to happen. Devante is very much like myself; once the spark of an idea comes to be, the fire is soon to follow. I brought on Devante on as a partner and about three weeks later we officially launched PILLLAR Fit.
I'm so excited for what's to come over the next few weeks and months with Fit, but more importantly, I couldn't be more excited for the future of PILLLAR, though it probably won't include a racing team.