Boards by the Bay: How a nationally famous skateboard builder created his brand in Fairhope, Alabama
Posted On March 23, 2020
Did you know there is a nationally famous builder of skateboards right across the bay in Fairhope, Alabama?
I’m guessing you probably didn’t, and Bear Walker would just as soon keep it that way.
Walker, our guest in the latest episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston,” doesn’t publicize the location of his shop, but his work is well known across the country. He is the owner and creative force of Bear Walker Premium Boards, and if you’ve never heard of them, your kids probably have.
Walker shares with us what makes his boards unique, from the high-quality maple deck and unique, patent-pending grip to their pop-culture niche. He tells us why he started his business in Fairhope and why its location isn’t a drawback in an industry largely based on the West Coast.
“The thing that shines through most is not the novelty of it, it’s the craftsmanship, so I’ve been thankful for that,” Walker says. “It’s really been well-received as collectible pieces and resell items. Also, they’re just really high quality boards that have high quality components, so they’re one of the smoothest riding boards on the market as well. I’d say half my clientele hang them on a wall and half of them ride them and both seem to be enjoying it.”
Walker also shares how he got started in the business, how it’s grown, who his customers are and how he connects with them, how his collaborations with Pokemon and several movies came about, why Instagram has been so integral to his business, and why it’s so important, even in a business you love and are successful in, to have an exit plan.
“I love doing this and I will always do it,” he says. “If we were to sell it, I would still be on as creative director. But it became a true business when I started treating it like one and having procedures in place, having my numbers in check, to where say if someone did knock on the door, I could have everything in line to where I could sell it.”
Join us for a radical discussion about skateboards and the creativity and business sense it takes to produce them.