We quickly catch up with Kevin Furtado, the man behind State Footwear, to talk about skateshops, the strengths of an independent skateshoe company, and what's coming next from The Free and Liberated State.
Where did you travel on your recent trip to visit shops?
I went to the North East. New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.
What did you see at shops that really stood out as unique?
Not sure if unique is the right word, but what was exciting is that all the shops told me that board sales are doing well. And it’s not from long boards, or stuff like the past “Penny” craze. People are skateboarding.
How is State fitting in at these shops?
These particular shops I visited are stores that all have been in business for some time now and have a firm grasp on the skateboard scene in their territory. That is a direct connection to the types of stores we want to work with and support.
The State showroom
How has the selection at skateshops changed in recent years?
The shoe walls are dominated by the 3 powerhouses, but the board walls are much more diverse. Lots of local and smaller brands are being represented on the deck walls.
What are shop owners and employees excited most about right now?
Shops seem pretty happy that skateboard deck sales are up, meaning people are skateboarding more. Especially since the sales are not coming from a trend like longboarding or plastic completes.
What’s getting newcomers interested in skateboarding these days? What are the access points to skateboarding for kids?
Access to viewing skateboarding, plus many more parks that seem to be more youth friendly.
Rather than just getting current skateboarders to try your brand, what can a company do to support growth in skateboarding? Or if that’s not a company’s responsibility, who’s is it?
It seems like an industry responsibility, not just a brand. However, a brand needs to be involved. We try and support any local event that our retailers are throwing. Ground level is the best way.
What can a company like State do well that a company like Nike can’t do?
Our reactionary time is much quicker than a large company. Also I do not need to chase down several people or departments to make decisions. If its good for the company or skateboarding I can do it, and I don’t need to fill out a report and request the approval. We have one focus, skateboarding.
How can you compete with big companies on pricing without sacrificing quality?
Margin. We make a smaller margin than larger brands because our overhead is lower. I will NOT sacrifice quality. All the three components I listed above regarding our shoes quality all cost money. But they are 100% worth it.
What are you excited about right now in skateboarding?
Diversity. It’s cool to see so many different styles in skateboarding. Transition, curb skating, rail chompers, tech guys, etc., are all popular right now. Plus, the amount of women skateboarding is on the rise. Great to see so many different styles in skateboarding being supported and promoted.
State x The Killing Floor Salem high-tops
How did the collaboration with The Killing Floor come about?
It just came together with John from TKF. Both our brands have similar structures and ethics. It just made a lot of sense to work together. I’m really happy on how it all came together. TKF is a great brand!
What’s next for State?
We are working with Magenta Skateboards to put out an offering for FAL18.