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Pleased to be here: Chase Christensen starts skateboard brand

Pleased to be here: Chase Christensen starts skateboard brand

Christensen flips his skateboard

Pleased to be here: Chase Christensen starts skateboard brand
April 02
16:43 2018

Chase Christensen’s room is filled with bright pink skateboards and smiley faces. On his windowsill, there are stacks of finger skateboards, branded by using a laser cutter from the UNT art building. Mockups of boards hang on the wall, with different designs, colors and varying face shapes with amusing phrases like “thicc necc” scrawled underneath.

Christensen, a graphic design senior, is the founder of Pleased To Skate, a skateboarding company run out of his own home.

“The original idea came from being at the skate park and seeing people getting mad at themselves for not landing a trick or sometimes not being able to impress the other people there,” Christensen said. “I would be waiting to skate and a guy would come up to me and be putting [himself] down and my response was like, ‘I’m just glad to be here. This is the most fun thing I get to do all week and I’m not going to let a trick ruin my one night that I get to skate.’”

But what really sparked Christensen’s start with the brand was the classroom. As a project in their entrepreneurial class, graphic design students were asked to create their own business or product last semester. As someone who had been skating since the age of 8, Christensen’s choice to create Pleased To Skate, a company that evokes the sense of joy while skateboarding, made immediate sense. 

Chase Christensen. Photo by Will Baldwin

“If you didn’t do it for fun…did you do it at all?” the tagline reads.

“Really quickly after I ordered the first five boards, I realized I wanted to do more,” Christensen said. “I realized if I could sell them,

I could make more because they would pay for themselves. It’s still not a way to make money or to live off of, but it’s more of, ‘how can I make more of this art?’”

Christensen began selling boards to friends and has been increasing his customer base little by little. His drive comes from seeing his art embedded in peoples’ daily lives.

“To make a piece of art and have it live on a computer or a canvas is cool, but to get it printed onto something you can use just blew my mind,” Christensen said. “Because I was not just looking at my art, I was riding it to class and at the skatepark.”

The skateboards themselves are stored in his room, neatly wrapped in plastic and labeled by model. Christensen designs and chooses shapes from a catalogue, and boards are produced and shipped out from California.

There are currently five shapes — the Original, the All Terrain, the Niner, the Flatsicle and the Popsicle.

Chase Christensen shows his various available deck shapes. Will Baldwin

“With the diversity in the styles, boards are changing a lot,” Christensen said. “To promote that, I got many different shapes so I could add to that diversity and encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and try something new.”

Christensen’s close friends say they see the brand as an encouraging message to new skaters as well.

“Skating can be very judgmental, and I think Chase is trying to make it a more welcoming thing,” said Kristen Barnhart, friend and owner of kb illustration. “Anyone would be welcomed or pleased to skateboard and try it out without judgement for doing it.”

Before starting this, Christensen said there was no concrete business plan or market research to be able to field a large profit. If anything, he was simply drawn to the brand because it was a creative outlet.

“I study graphic design, and I never called myself an artist per se because it’s usually a logo for another company,” Christensen said. “It’s never been really my style until now. It’s the first thing I’ve done [where] whatever I want to do, works.”

Now that he has more to show and tell, Christensen is doing more to showcase his boards in his own ways. He set up a Big Cartel site, posted a short video of him and friends skating the boards around town and started utilizing social media. These tactics seem to be working. 

“Right now, it’s a lot of friends,” Christensen said. “But what’s cool about Instagram is that it just connects you to the whole world. Within two days after [I got] those, I had gotten hit up by someone from San Francisco and someone in Kansas City and it’s like, ‘How did they even find me?’”

As Pleased To Skate continues to grow, Christensen said there is definitely more to learn as he goes further along with the brand.

“Now that I have to manage things, do inventory, tax — there’s a lot of work that goes into running a business that I’m finding out every day,” Christensen said. “It’s all just really slow-going because I had to use my savings to fund this, but it’s slowly coming back, as people buy boards and I can invest what I get back into the company.”

While Pleased To Skate is still small and Christensen is constantly in the learning process, others in his circle are already observing his considerable progress. 

“It’s not changing who he is and is sending the message that he wants to about life in general,” said Caleb Jacks, a close friend and fellow artist. “I think it’s great because he’s a college kid, yet he’s done a lot more thing than others have already.”

Looking toward the future, Christensen hopes to expand more and eventually sell to other skate shops.

“Skateboarding is really expressive,” Christensen said. “It’s not a super competitive sport, it’s just about what you think is fun and what you think is cool. I don’t want the brand to feel super heavy or feel like it defines somebody who’s riding this board, but more so to act as a platform for them to express their style and their creativity.”

Featured Image: Chase Christensen flips his skateboard on the street. Will Baldwin

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Amy Roh

Amy Roh

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