What’s your skating background?
I’m from the Bay Area. I moved out here because the kind of skating that I do—trick skating or street skating—was really popular in the mid-’90s and most of the industry was in Orange County. Compared to surfing or skateboarding, there was no history yet for inline skating, so it was pretty much a blank canvas.
How did Them Skates start?
I created the parent company Themgoods in 2008 and launched Them Skates in 2018. I started small, selling clothing and accessories. My whole dream was to distribute multiple products, including skates. In 2017, I found a way to manufacture skates on my own. We had a grand opening in November for our retail shop in downtown Santa Ana. We’ve also collaborated with the clothing brand Brain Dead, and we have a big project coming up with Clarks shoes.
Do you host contests?
We run The Blading Cup, which just had its 10th year. It’s probably the biggest inline skating event in North America, and it’s in Santa Ana. We also incorporated roller skating this past year, which was the first time we’ve done that.
Have you noticed a rise in the popularity of inline skating?
People in this culture never stopped, but it’s really interesting to see the transition
in the last two years of people finding skating again and remembering the ’90s and remembering that this is fun. COVID-19 brought people back to things that you could do outside or with your family. And skating is that. I’m 44 and I have two kids, but I’m still skating as much as I can. It’s good exercise, and there’s definitely a sense of freedom you get when you’re on wheels.