10 Q’s With Geoff Koboldt Of BambooSk8

Growth, in terms of business, is necessary in order to survive. Some times, and in many markets, that growth can come at too high a cost to the environment. Geoff Koboldt of BambooSk8 is a highly conscious individual who’s actively growing business attacks these concerns. You might even call him an activist, and not just an entrepreneur. This is why we are pleased to feature him and his company in this weeks : “10 Q’s With…”; our question and answer series that’s aimed at offering insight to our readers who are interested in the ‘Adventure’ of becoming: The Boss.

Q. Tell our readers about your business, your passion, and what it is that you do? What’s your story? And what sets you apart from other businesses in your particular market?

“Skateboarding is the fastest rising sport in the USA over the past 10 years.  With that exponential growth is the irresponsibility of producing products with very little regard for the environment as skateboarding is at the top of charts for its contribution to maple deforestation in North America.  BambooSK8 was established in 2008 to break that paradigm of maple deforestation to that of using bamboo, from managed forests.  Bamboo grows in abundance and once a bamboo chute is cut down, 4 to 5 new ones grow in its place, unlike a maple tree, which once it’s cut down after 40-50 years, it’s gone forever.  Therefore, the yield of bamboo which only requires 3-4 years trumps that of maple, along with providing less soil erosion, more oxygen, etc.”

“I am Geoff Koboldt, owner/President of BambooSK8, as well as Chief Operations Officer/owner of its parent company and other holdings.”

Q. What inspired you take the steps to becoming your own boss? Is this your first/only business?

“Quite honestly, I am too rebellious for corporate-America culture with all their rules and policies; it’s just not my cup of tea.  I never really liked the idea of working hard for another company whose leaders I didn’t respect only to then have my little employee id put into a computer at the end of the year to tell me what my bonus would be.  My first business, which I supplemented to my 9-5 corporate gigs, was my music management company Out of Step Entertainment.  BambooSK8 is my first attempt at really cutting the umbilical cord and just going for it on my own. I took no pay for my first year as I reinvested the money back into the business I would have taken out.”

Q. How much planning was involved prior to the start-up of your business? Can you offer some insight into that process?

“To be honest, not enough planning was involved because we failed miserably at first.  Looking back, we should have done a lot more market research to ensure that the timing was right, more R&D to ensure the quality was top-notch, ensured we had backup suppliers if one factory had issues, etc.  It was definitely difficult to forecast a new product when the entire industry is made from a different resource but we did our best based on our industry experience.  For the most part, you just take things one step at a time and don’t hedge too much risk.  Another important thing is to always be aware of your opportunity costs.”

Q. In terms of running your business, what does a typical day look like for you; or is every day different?

“I would be bored if it were the same every day.  Lucky for me, every day brings a few new set of challenges so I wake up asking first and foremost – What needs to be done?  I physically start my day around 9:30am-10am, but my preparation was already done the night before for exactly what 90% of my day will be like.  Knowing that time is my most limited resource, I start with those activities that I know are most crucial to a small business (approximately in this order) – sales, finance/cash flow, marketing, operations, etc.  A lot of time is spent coaching, inspiring and mentoring my team ensuring that they are dialing in the process.  Literally every activity of our business has a structured and streamlined process with an appropriate SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).  I’ll usually break around 1-3 to go to the gym and then back to the grind to close out operations for the day by 6pm.  The rest of the evening way into the early hours of 2-3am, I find I get the best work done because it’s quiet, so I work at random times – all depending on the workload.  Lucky for me, I’m having so much fun it never truly feels like work.  To make sure I have balance in my life, I meditate daily.  Also, to ensure I don’t get burnt out, I take enough vacations throughout the year to recharge my battery.  Since I live in LA while our company is in Oceanside, most of my communication is done via SKYPE.  I travel down to Oceanside every other week via the train and spend a good week there.”

Q. How many employees do you have and what went into hiring on more to your team?

“We are lean and mean.  There are 3 awesome owners then 2 full-time employees; warehouse manager and operations manager, 1 contracted marketing director and 7 interns.  All of our employees first had to survive our 4 month internship (absolutely the best internship program in action sports) and prove that they had what it takes to be at the top of their class.  In order to get into the internship, they had to demonstrate a passion for action sports, respect for the environment, have a solid business degree and a positive attitude/outlook driven by values.”

Q. What has been the most challenging part of your entrepreneurial adventure?

“It’s hard to say that one challenge is any worse or better than the other as they all seem to exist harmoniously at different times; little to no pay, 70-80 hour work weeks in the beginning, competitive rivalry, quality issues, slow growth, cash flow issues to name a few.  Nonetheless, I would have to say that for us it would be in the shear time it takes to grow the business organically and the frustration that comes with educating the consumer on something that should just be as obvious as the right choice but yet it isn’t so easy.  For now, it’s one fan at a time…one skateboard at a time… as we grow organically while keeping our street credibility with a very limited marketing budget and a whole lot of creativity.”

Q. Besides the obvious of being your own boss, what is the most rewarding part about being an independent business owner?

“For me, it’s the pride in knowing that I have created good American jobs for employees who are proud to come to work every day and feel great about the products and the brand they represent; a brand driven by my vision.   Equally important, we also have created jobs somewhere else in the world that has helped individuals arise from poverty.”

Q. What motivates you? What keeps you going each day?

“For the most part because I truly believe in what our company is doing and trust that my life has a meaningful purpose.  I find such joy in knowing that our products are better for the environment and that I am doing something that universally benefits the world.  I am a part of the solution that will forever change the $5 billion skateboard industry.  Also, being responsible for the higher development of my employees and interns and forever shaping not only their business careers but their personal lives is the legacy I want to leave.  Shaping these young skateboarders lives is another major motivator.  We don’t just sell them a skateboard.  We are active in helping them with learning new tricks, helping them with issues they might be facing at school or at home, or just simply being a friend to them.  When I look back at kids who were 8 or 9 years old and I gave them their first sponsorship and now they are winning top am contests and clearly on their way to being the next big pro, that’s a very amazing feeling.  Especially when they are an A student and positive role models for other little kids.”

Q. How do you promote your business? Advertise? Endorse? Contests? Social networking?

“Word of mouth, guerilla marketing and street promotion is by far the best methods thus far.  We refused to advertise in any traditional print magazine simply because the values aren’t in line with our ecological efforts.   Most of the communication about our product and company comes straight from our website at www.bamboosk8.com but we utilize social media to the fullest; doing our best to keep them all tied together so that our brand message is consistent.  We are engaged in the numerous social communities for action sports, one of which is hookit.com, which we’ve been one of the top featured skate brands for many years now.  Also last summer, we were out on the Vans Warped Tour for 43 dates so we definitely utilize the tie-in of music and action sports.  In fact, we’re releasing our 2nd music compilation this summer in collaboration with Out of Step Entertainment.   The reach of these artists alone is in the millions.  We attend a variety of events not limited to the Maloof Money Cup, ASEC, X-games, Dew Tour, local surf/skate events, etc.”

Q. Has the Internet or social media helped/hurt your business?

“Definitely helped!  Our company is so young that we didn’t really have to adapt, it’s always been this way and we truly believe that technology of the future will further drive greater results.”

Q. What advice do you have to those reading www.bossstart.com that you feel is valuable?

“There is no in-between when it comes to being an entrepreneur, you either want it or you don’t.  If you aren’t good at kicking your own ass, then it’s probably not the right choice.  You have to be disciplined!”

To learn more about Geoff Koboldt & BambooSK8, please visit:

www.outofstep.tv/blog/

Bamboosk8.com

Facebook.com/Bamboosk8

Twitter.com/Bamboosk8

Linkedin.com/in/koboldt

About the Author: Daniel Ballard

Daniel is a Writer and Entrepreneur. He is Co-Founder/Main Author/Editor of BossStart and Co-Editor/Featured Author for BossStart's sister site, PauseStart, launching early 2012

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55 Comments + Add Comment

  • Excellent read about a great company producing a great product.

    • Thanks Lou. Keep checking back 🙂

  • wow really nice read man really gives a lot of info on the company
    ^-\

    • Thanks for the support. Keep checking back with us, going to be some awesome stories in the near future.

  • i love your skateboard decks you guys are great sponsers thanks again for sponsering me 🙂

    • Thanks for the comments. BambooSk8 is a great company and Geoff definitely runs an excellent business.

  • I have been riding for BambooSK8 for about a year and as I have grow so have they. The Boards are fantastic and The Company support has been second to none. Its great to ride for Geoff. Whats even better is that there helping the environment and so is anyone who rides one. Try one and You’ll Love it!

    • Eddie, great to know about Geoff and BambooSk8. Thanks for the comment. Can’t wait to ride my BambooSk8 board soon. 🙂 Keep checking the site for amazing stories.

  • That is great you guys are really a great skate company! 🙂 thumbs up^

  • Bamboosk8 boards are the BEST.
    They have AMAZING pop.
    They’re so cheap and they’re very durable.
    ( I think that’s how you spell it )
    The skaters are great and I feel like we’re a family with bamboosk8.

    • David, thanks for the comment. Good to know, I am excited to actually be able to ride one. Keep checking back for future articles. We have some really neat stories up ahead.

  • I love Bamboo. I love the company, and the boards too. I am really honored to ride for them.

    • Aidan, thanks for the comment. Bamboosk8 and Geoff have it figured out it. Good to know about the boards. Thanks for reading.

  • I’ve been riding for Bamboo Sk8 a while know they are a great company they are really supportive and promoting skateboarding plus its good for the enviroment. The pop is good it lasts and its eco friendly buy one know you’ll love it.

    • Zane, agreed that bamboosk8 has it figured out. Geoff is doing a great job. Thanks for reading. Keep checking back for more stories.

  • Great deck love the product(:

    • Good to know. Thanks for the comment.

  • Great company. Great cause that everyone else is afraid to do. Keep going strong!

  • i always love reading all the details, geoff you rock! bamboo sk8 is the only way to ride! also agreed with eddie, company support is fantastic!…theres nothing like skating a bamboosk8 deck, shred it!, love it!

    • Avery Thanks for reading the article. Geoff is running a really neat company with Bamboosk8. Keep checking back for more articles. Read. Learn. Share 🙂 Thanks again

  • I have been skating Bamboo Sk8 decks for over 2 years, They are lighter, stronger, more flexible, and have more pop, than average maple decks, plus they are a great eco-friendly alternative to maple, because bamboo is a grass and grows faster than maple trees.

    • That is awesome Danny. Good to hear. Can’t wait to ride one. Thanks for checking out the site.

  • thanks for the sponcer and i love ur guyses skateboards there so sick

    • Thanks for the comment Cody

  • Great president, great owner, great product. Yeah, its the full package.

    • Awesome. Thanks for the comment.

  • Bamboosk8 is a great company that i am honored to be riding for. I ride my bamboo board on the daily and dont have a complaint yet.

    • Thanks Luke, good to know that Geoff’s customers are beyond satisfied.

  • BambooSk8 is a great company and Geoff definitely runs an excellent business.

    • Thanks for the comment Brian, Geoff and Bamboo are doing an excellent job. Thanks for reading and keep checking back for more inspirational stories like BambooSk8.

  • Bamboo Sk8 Rocks.

  • bamboosk8 company is by far the better brand of decks but i think that there should be a more variety of decks but i don’t mind an i wanna do what i love an not have to worry about people trying to put me down. i think that this company is a good company an i will go pro if i have the opertunity to ride for them for the rest of my life i will an if i had my own shop i would show people that this company is a Eco- friendly company

  • Great Review, this really shows the up and downs of owning your own company. I just currently started riding for BambooSk8, and I’m looking forward to see this company advance in the future. Keep up the Great work.

  • haha u are a boss geoff well literly but u guys run bamboo sk8 real good and i love the decks that u guys make keep it up. ps i think ur #1

  • i love this guy he sponsored me and even better this was actually a great read

  • i just gotta say bamboo is far superior then some of the other boards ive skate, from girl to baker, and even plan b. i LOVE bamboo

  • Ive been skating for awhile and my bamboo cat and owl deck is
    Single best deck I’ve EVER rode!

  • Okay im not even gonna lie, Bamboosk8 is the best skateboarding company i’ve ever know.
    They care about what people want in the boards enough to create it.
    Im a skateboarder and i would definnetly recommand this company for you.
    just saying!!

  • bamboosk8 have the best most amazing merchandise there tees are great quality and they have amazingly cool stickers and great wheels,trucks,bearings etc. but there boards, there boards are absolutely amazingly strong, durable, and sustainable for anything, and have amazingly perfect clean feeling pop so you get higher cleaner tricks. You are missing out if you don’t have a deck from bamboosk8, its a gotta have kinda thing

  • bamboo sk8 deck have really good pop and there awesoome

  • Bamboo skate is my new favorite deck company! iv been skating for about 1 month and have not been dissapointed, great pop and everything, there cheap and bamboo is every were, if bamboo skate were to go out of business i would seriously cry! keep up the good work!!

  • These decks are the best no doubt. They have amazing pop, super strong, and just an all around amazing deck. i skate everyday all day ill sweat to that i have never had a deck last three months before, but the bamboo deck did. Its a blessing we have Bamboo Sk8!

  • Amazing i loved reading this and i love your decks and company and its great to know more about the company and how its ran and stuff great job keep up the good work you guys are amazing!

  • Yeah buddy anther great opportunity to spread the word about the greatest skateboard company ever you guys should even try to get in a video game that will defintley spread the word.

  • very good brand. i like the idea of using bamboo instead of maple

  • Bamboo Ska8’s is great, let alone the best board I’ve ever skated, I usually go through decks once every other week. But Bamboo Sk8 has amzing decks, Strong, and Very Durable. These decks last me for more that 3 weeks. Which, to me, is incredible. ! And If I were you I’d Ride Bamboo Sk8’s because they are just great! Geoff definitely runs an excellent business. And If I could, I’d like to tell him a story about why I skate and all.

  • super sick!!! and I’m so grateful to be riding for bamboo!!!!

  • I love bamboo boards and how eco friendly they are. i have alot of respect for this company and for geoff for giving the world something positive. Thanks again man!

  • bamboosk8 how can i make this the best its kinda hard because once you ride one of there decks you will feel that they are the best with the amazing pop the nice rotation and concave just the board feel, they have to be one of my favorite skate brands. the skaters are nice, the people are awesome and the boards are cheap and affordable its finally a sweet skate deck at a low price no more 60 dollars a deck what kind of skaters that live like reg people can afford that i break my board like every 3 months. To sum it up there all around a good brand to skate(:

  • Great company with great motives. Promote a fun sport and the people who love it, and save the invironment. Not many companies have good motives like that these days. Go bamboosk8!!!

  • Best products ever,God bless this skate company, I love them and im a custome for life, this is a real modern day american skate company thats awsome, God bless you guys

  • dude these bamboo decks are soooooo amazing!!!! they have so much pop, last for ever and are fantastic for hard impact. i love mine and im never going to use anything but!

  • This is really great that there is a skateboard company that is willing to try to stay completely eco-friendly. These boards are really cool and are pretty cheap too. They are very durable and its great that they are using bamboo instead of maple. Even when it is hard to keep being eco-friendly when you own a business, Bamboo Sk8 manages to do it. I would definitely recommend checking out one of these boards.

  • Its awesome for you to take time off and answer these top ten questions, it makes your company and cause much more real. I love my bamboo skate and the fact that every board bought actually helps opposed to just some more cash into some suits already bulging wallets. I doubt many business owners would have the drive and passion to cut there own earnings and still be so dedicated.
    So for all those reasons my hats off to you!

    Thanks for helping the planet and making some kick ass boards while doing it

  • Geoff is truly inspiring. I have been skating for Bamboo for 2 years now and they have treated me like family. Im more than proud to support and be supported by this company. Bamboo is really the only board that makes sense. Plain and simple. No beating around the maple, just rock the boo!

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