Board Blazers is featured in this month’s issue of Entrepreneur magazine. Founder & CEO Greg Rudolph explains how the company earned national media attention.
It began on October 12th, 2014 with a completely different story. Through the media service HARO, I’d emailed Michelle Goodman, the Entrepreneur writer, my pitch to be a source for an article she was putting together about employee-owned businesses. A few days later she emailed me back, but it turned out that Board Blazers wasn’t quite the right fit for the piece so I declined to interview. That’s when it got interesting: almost immediately after I emailed her back, Michelle called my cell! Not wanting to waste the golden opportunity, I quickly told her the “duct-tape” story over the phone in the middle of a crowded (and loud) coffee shop in downtown Phoenix. She offered to pitch the story for a “Wacky Idea” column to the editors at the magazine, but cautioned that it was unlikely we’d get a response.
After sending her a few facts and figures, I didn’t hear anything more for months and didn’t think much of it. Then, in mid-December, I got an email from Michelle: the story was on! I scrambled to find a time we could interview during the busy holiday rush, and on December 22nd, we finally spoke at length. The phone interview, with Michelle in Seattle and myself in SoCal, was very casual and open-ended. Mostly we talked about Washington Husky football and the Seahawks’ recent defeat of the Cardinals. Oh yeah, we also covered every detail of the business, from our sponsorships of competitive skaters to the way I originally designed the logo.
The Photo Shoot:
Around that time, I was also coordinating with the magazine’s photo department to set up a photo shoot. There were lots of questions to be answered: would we shoot in SoCal or Phoenix? Where would we shoot? Since I can’t ride a skateboard, who would be in the photos? I eventually connected with the photographer, Jeff Clarke, and we narrowed it to two possible locations: the north end boardwalk at Doheny Beach, or the skate park at world-famous Venice Beach. Because of its rich skateboarding history and the backdrop of the skate park, Jeff selected Venice. Since he’d worked with us before when filming the Live Life and Win! TV segment (https://vimeo.com/100860211), and because he’s an excellent skater, I asked my friend Kiefer Greenspan to join us for the shoot to ride the boards.
On January 2nd, 2015, after I’d just returned from a trip to El Paso, Kiefer and I fought the LA rush-hour traffic and met Jeff at the beach. Over the next four hours, he took thousands of photos (!) at several different locations in the area. It was tedious work – you can see in the photo it made Kiefer a little loopy! It doesn’t look like it in the photo that ended up in the magazine, but it was also freezing that night. You can see behind the scenes photos of the shoot on our Facebook page. It was quite a production: Jeff brought several different cameras and a variety of lights that attracted a host of onlookers, vagrants, and curious tourists. The photo in the magazine was actually one of the last ones we took, and I love the combination of movement of the skater in the background and the sunset over the beach. Unfortunately, after all of his time and effort, Kiefer didn’t make it in the shot! After we finished, the three of us have fond memories of sitting around Jeff’s camper van, swapping stories late into the night and hearing about Jeff's worldwide travels.
Over the next several months, I was constantly emailing back-and-forth with fact-checkers, writers, and other magazine staff. In all, it took 71 emails to put together the piece! To their credit, the magazine was very thorough about every aspect of the story, and we ironed out wording to be as clear and accurate as possible. Still, I had never seen the full article, and it wasn’t until it hit newsstands that I was sure it was going to be published! In the end, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way the column turned out. Michelle did an excellent job capturing the entrepreneurial spirit of the company, and Jeff’s photo definitely captures the cool essence of the brand. The only disappointment is that I asked them to make me look 6’4,” deeply-tanned, and add about 50 pounds to my frame in the photo, but it didn’t happen :)
- Greg Rudolph
Read the final article here: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243539
See more behind-the-scenes photos: facebook.com/boardblazersent
Celebrating with a Diddy-Reese ice cream sandwich in Westwood after the shoot:
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