Building Quell Skateboarding - How Your Passion Will Lead You To All The Answers
ADRIAN KOENIGSBERG - FOUNDER OF QUELL
Quell Skateboarding was born out of a personal fascination with skateboarding. I always grew up loving graphic design and would spend every weekend in Barnes and Noble collecting Transworld Surf and Skate magazines. A couple years later I was in my final semester at Pratt and I was at a stand still. I was so burnt out but simultaneously felt so much pressure to produce good work and find a job.
So I turned to something that made me happy – skating, for some inspiration. As I started to poke around on the internet I really couldn’t find any women in skateboarding. The more I dug deeper, the more my interest grew.
Let’s fast forward a little. I landed a job and I moved on, always with that passion in the back of my head. I was working a corporate design job that I really enjoyed. But ten months later, the company I was at started to go under and there were rumors circulating that we were going to be laid off.
We sat at our desks for four months before knowing our fates...With no news and no assignments. That passion for skateboarding started to quickly come back and I spent those four months launching what would end up being Quell Skateboarding.
I didn’t really have any intention to start my own company let alone be one of the only people covering the growth of the non-traditional skateboarding scene.
My goal was always to be a magazine.
I went to instagram, followed everyone who seemed interested in non-traditional skating (skating that focuses on marginalized genders such as women, trans people and non-binary folks) and started reposting pictures and videos I gravitated towards. A month in I made my own call for submissions.
The more I kept doing, the bigger I wanted my business to grow.
I started receiving messages about how Quell had changed people’s lives. We’ve taught so many girls how to skateboard and shown thousands that no matter what they look like, there’s a community to welcome them into skateboarding.
The biggest question I get is: How do you make your brand successful?
Honestly, the answer is always passion.
I didn’t start with physical products. I barely spent any money except to buy sticker paper to print stickers. I didn’t secretly know professional skateboarders.
I wanted Quell to become something so badly because I knew that if I stopped when I didn’t see women in skateboarding and if I could show the world that we’re all out there, then maybe 15 year old me would have never put down the board.
Eventually my first magazine turned into a quarterly publication soon to be nationally distributed.
Not that easily obviously, but I just never stopped asking, pushing and working.
I’ve been running Quell for four years now. I’ve had full time jobs during the entire time while also running almost every aspect of the business. I produce our podcast, I design everything, I work on distribution, shipping and publication. I basically work two full time jobs.
It’s really hard. I could write a whole other newsletter on how challenging and difficult it is to run your own business. There are plenty of downs and so many moments I have wondered if anyone cares, or if I should still continue.
But it is really fully worth it to me. I’ve learned so many things and have grown so much as a person. Skateboarding has brought me the most interesting and amazing life experiences and relationships.
So if you care enough about something, you’re going to find ways to make it work. Your passion will lead you to all the answers.
WORKOUT OF THE WEEK
FOLLOW THE LEADER