Naysayer Skateboards is an up and coming skateboard company on the East Coast. Eby Ghafarian is the founder. He’s super cool. I had a chance to ask him a few questions. Read the interview below then go buy some Naysayer Skateboards.
Skatemodo: How did Naysayer come about?
Naysayer: Naysayer has been a long time coming. I, just as most skateboarders, always wanted to start a company with my vision. Basically, I wanted to take the best things in skateboarding and juxtapose them with some rad skateboarders. After years of contemplating and planning how I would go about it, I finally pulled the trigger and just went for it.
Skatemodo: Why did you choose Naysayer as a name?
Naysayer: To be honest, the naming process took a long time. There was a list of over 30 names that, while all great for some reason or another, eventually was dwindled down to Naysayer (which happened to be one the first 5 names I came up with). Of all the names, Naysayer just represented what I was going for. It is a bit ironic in that it symbolized pessimism and the company’s mission is about fun, but it also represents defying standards and norms…not having to accept how things are and make change.
Skatemodo: What made you want to start a skateboard company?
1) I needed a creative outlet that I could share.
2) I was sick of complaining about how others were doing it wrong (now people can complain how I am doing it wrong).
3) There were skateboarders out there who I felt were not getting their proper shine and I wanted to support what they were doing (luckily a lot of them are on the team now).
4) I enjoy this a million time more than any corporate job.
5) I missed the window for cashing in on that Soap Shoe fad, unfortunately.
Skatemodo: If you could get any skater in the world on your team, who would it be?
Naysayer: Louie Barletta! He would be the perfect Naysayer and makes any company epic by association. But more realistically, there are a bunch of guys out there killing it that would be great to have on the team: Jayme Fortune, Brian Brown, Luke Malaney, Scotty Moore, Johan Stuckey, Derek Mclean, Jahmal Smith, and this kid Compton in Portland.
Skatemodo: Are you guys working on a video?
Naysayer: We aren’t working on a full-length video, but we are working on a promo that we hope to finish up by the end of the year. It will be a short representation of the team and their skating. Half the team is working on parts for other videos, so once all that is done, we may start on something longer.
Skatemodo: Walk me through the day in a life of a skateboard company owner.
Naysayer: There is no typical day in the life, but there are a lot of similar variables including: sending out packages, working on ads, screenprinting shirts, filming, editing, designing boards, keeping up with others working on art for boards, checking in with the team, updating the site/Facebook/Twitter, checking the various skate media sources to stay up-to-date, contacting shops about carrying Naysayer, working with Chapman (the woodshop we use) on board production, planning future events, budgeting, planning trips, coordinating tradeshow involvement, and finally, when I get time, skating myself.
Skatemodo: So the bunny… what is with the bunny?
Naysayer: I love animals (in the “they are awesome” sort of way, not the bestiality way, obviously). All my tattoos are of animals and I am vegan and all that, so I tend to incorporate them into a lot of things I do. I thought about many options for logos and whatnot, from simple lettering to mythical creatures, but then it hit me. Bunnies tend to always look disapproving (read: naysaying).
Skatemodo: Who is on the team and who is ripping right now?
Naysayer: Our team is full of rippers. We have Pete Belancsik from Tallahassee, FL who skates big and tech with a unique style. Then moving up to Georgia is Jerry Yates who’s skating can be compared to a young Busenitz in how fast and straight to business he is. Across the pond, in Paris, we have Hadrien Buhannic who is one of those ledge technicians with a clean technique. Here is NY, we have Dylan James & Keith Denley. Dylan is an all-terrain ripper that shreds transition hard and consistent, but can also put down some fancy footwork on ANY street spot you take him too. Keith is one of those few truly stylish skaters with big pop that puts out only gems. We are also flowing this kid Maurice Leeke who skates all those spots your typical skater passed up on their way to the skatepark.
Skatemodo: Where do you see Naysayer in 5 years?
Naysayer: Sold to Sean John. ;) It is hard to say, but it all depends on our bosses, the people buying our boards. We seem to be off to a good start, though. In 5 years, I want Naysayer to be a skate household name…the Mitch Hedberg of skateboarding (minus the death part). I want to have programs in bad
neighborhoods to get boards to those who can’t afford them and provide incentives to skaters within those communities that are making a positive change.
Here’s Jerry Yates, doing a 50-50 gap to street. The photo was shot by Ben Kilpatrick.