Sponsorless


#1

:frowning: This is going to be the the worst thread in this forum.

Here’s the reason why I decided to start this thread. My first introduction is going to be long so grab and fingerboard and a ledge and shred away as you read my boring story.

When I was signing up for this forum today, I saw the ‘sponsors’ section that you can fill out. Unfortunately, I don’t have any. (Playing sad music) I was ashamed of myself. I was disappointed. Instead of leaving the sponsors section blank, I wrote ‘I SPONSOR MY TRASH SELF’. That made me feel better.

I’ve been shredding since November 2015 so I’ve been fbing for over 2 years now. I’ve been actively engaging on Instagram and I’m hovering around 430 followers at the moment (I only follow around 90 people so I’m not those kinds of ‘cheap’ people). For a while now, I’ve been noticing people with similar skill level as me getting picked up by companies. People ALWAYS say ‘sponsors will eventually come to you so just wait’. And that is what I did - only for so long.

I’ve actually had a couple sponsors in the past, yet I have received nothing so far. I had one particular bad experience with a company named ‘third eye’. When I first joined, he was friendly to me. He even made a custom ramp for me within the first 2 weeks of joining although I never got received it in the end. He wasn’t able to ship it out for a while and I was fine waiting for it. But then it got delayed again around 5 more times. He often posted yet he barely replied to my DMs. After a couple months, I received a message from him saying that he cannot sponsor riders because he is apparently financially troubled with his company. I was furious; not because I was kicked off but because riders who joined after me received their ramps and decks etc. Plus this guy blocked me on both my personal and fb account. I’m also very annoyed at the fact third eye is a successful company now and has a handful of riders.

Yea I know that sponsorship’s aren’t just about free stuff. You have to be willing to do a lot for the company, I really enjoy the ‘team’ feeling - getting to know and make relationships with other fbers. But y’know, sponsors - proper ones - are things that are out of my reach.

I’ve pretty much given up on searching for sponsors, but I’d be willing to join if any company out there is scouting for riders.

In this thread, post stories about your sponsors and how you came to meet them. Or hopefully, this thread can be used for companies to pick up sponsor hungry fbers.


#2

I never got a good vibe from Third Eye anyhow… I’ve been fingerboarding on and off for about 11 years now but have really engaged into it entering 9th grade. I never cared about sponsors I just wanted to do something that I could have fun with. My first actual sponsor was in 2016 by a company called Sponsormetape. I used their products and stood by them as I still do now in 2018. Then out of the blue in January of 2017 I was hit up by a company called Blaklist, they liked my content and they wanted to sponsor me so accepted it because they seemed cool and I liked what they were doing. I rode for them for 7 months before I ended up leaving for my own reasons. I also rode for Slope wheels for a little while before he quit. Fast forward to now I ride for Bangerang. Okay so it took a while for me to get sponsored… a long while I had a few deck companies hit me up and add me to their teams and they ended up going under. Did I care? No I just kept having fun the whole time. Sponsors come and go and they honestly don’t matter that much because in the end you should be having fun that’s the most important part. What’s the point of having all these sponsors and you’re not having fun? Am I right?


#3

Hi! I remember when i started fbing in 2009 no one cares about sponsors, we are only interested on learn and make new friend ons the fb community! when i returned in 2017 i only see giveaways to gainfollowers and messages on instagram like “check dm”,“sponsor-me”, is ridicolous because a big part of the community right now are only interested on get free stuff and i’m a little sad for this…

@complicated don’t care about sponsors! Only make fun fbing around your house, city or over the planet! Fb4fun!

Cheers!


#4

cracks knuckles, bunkers down, and clears throat Okay, lets do this the right way.
First and foremost, your feeling on the situation you were dealt is valid. I don’t blame you for feeling frustrated with the end result, and honestly I can really relate to this thread a lot more than I thought I would be able to.
So let me tell y’all why.
Years ago when I first started fingerboarding I was just a kid, as many of us were too when we started this adventure. At that young age, I didn’t understand how proper “sponsorships” worked with companies. I knew I liked fingerboards, I knew I didn’t have easy means of paying for them, and I knew sponsored people got free fingerboard stuff.
Sure it was rudimentary, but really we all started there one way or another when learning this stuff for the first time.
So soon I was off to the rat race of trying to find a sponsorship, and thankfully in my case I didn’t hound companies but rather I tried to get better at fingerboarding. And I tried. I tried and I tried and I tried. Then before long, I hated trying. I wasn’t having fun, I was running myself in circles trying to force myself to get better for a goal I was starting to dislike. So I stopped.
In my case, around the time I stopped trying so hard to get better at riding, my dad had convinced me to try just making them instead.
Despite the rocky relationship I have with him now, I will never be able to thank him enough for believing in me and to support me trying to do something that made me happy.
Moving on, years passed and I forgot about trying so hard to “get gud” and as time went on, I did progressively get better at deck making. Started with clamped tech decks and aircraft wood, moved to bondo molds and cheap veneer, and before long I had started to gain traction with my Instagram account I had been posting my projects to so I could keep record of them.
Time passed further, my skills changed and improved, I had better resources as I was soon entering adulthood and getting into the real world. As I upgraded to proper and “professional” equipment, things took a turn for me and a personal friend of mine had started a concrete obstacle company and was gaining rapid traction with it as well. I bought stuff from their early stocks, and soon he approached me with the offer of a spot on his team. I was surprised and excited, I had gotten what I tried so hard years ago to get… and honestly it was a nice thing.
But there were no bells ringing out, there was no confetti shooting up into the air. It was a quiet victory, and while I enjoyed it and am beyond thankful for the opportunity I had been given, it was a humbling experience more than anything.

But here’s the thing, that’s not the story that really sat me down and taught me a lesson. No that story involves a young kid that had been just like me, and had started building decks with a different approach.
Let’s call him Eric, his company was titled Flatline FB. He had gotten one of the gatormold shapes, a bit of veneer and the needed tools, and before ya knew it he had cranked out a couple decks. He even picked out some people to sponsor, and honestly kudos to him for taking that type of initiative! It was unfortunate that of the three people he chose, I was the only one of the three that didn’t have a deck sponsorship already and could accept the offer.
Now see here’s the thing about the situation though. I was already a decent deck maker by this point, it was shortly after I had gotten my first sponsorship as well. But upon talking with Eric about it, he seemed insistent on me at least trying the board out and I wasn’t going to be the person to turn down someone so hopeful. So a little while later, I received a small bubble mailer with my name written onto the front in pen.
Opened it up, and there contained within were three items. One deck, one sticker, and one notecard. “Hey Brandon, welcome to the team! -Eric”. To put it simply, it was a simple package and initially I thought that it was a nice gesture and thoughtful… but that’s when it hit me. I could look this deck over, I could find it’s flaws, give critique, and go through the routine of looking at the work of a beginner craftsman from a maker’s angle. But to what end would that result in, when this little deck in my hands would have not only blown the mind of that younger version of myself that was sat at a desk trying hopelessly to improve, but more importantly was something that another person cared about. It was a deck that Eric worked on and wanted me to have, it was a gift and a gift holds no flaws and needs no critique.
And even though he went on to lose interest in deck making and eventually leave the fingerboarding scene, I still have that deck he made for me.
The story still holds, the work he put into it still stands, and the importance of it still matters.
I realized in that moment that it wasn’t that I wanted a sponsorship at young age, or that I even wanted free things really. I wanted to make a difference, and I wanted the work I was doing to matter.

Let’s level, I’m not saying that people need to go out and just make things for themselves to be happy. I’m not saying “just wait for sponsorships to find you”. And I’m not saying that my long story here is the answer everyone needs to see in order to be content with not having a sponsor for fingerboarding. There’s still a part of me that is that little kid sitting at his desk in his room, doing one attempt after another in hopes that I’ll eventually be good enough at fingerboarding to ride for some of the companies I’ve always looked up to.
What I am saying is that there are many different ways things can go, and in the pursuit of sponsorships I realized I enjoy making decks as much as I like riding them. In the end for me, I can enjoy that and share it with others the way I wanted others to share their work with me.

Take the time to understand why you enjoy doing what you do. Make your effort worth it.


#5

I just want to have fun :grin:


#6

So when I started up on Instagram a few years back, I’ve already been fbing for 6-7 years so I wasn’t too bad, not sponsor material by any means, I mean doing like flip grind variations consistently and flip grind flip combos on film. When I started up on Instagram was the same time I got my first Homewood, it was my first non china board and I was stoked on it. So instead of messaging the owner of Homewood and asking for a sponsor I knew the difference and like you said I waited, but I waited and also worked for it. I posted so many videos of me riding my Homewood and even put the logos in the video and website url as if I was already sponsored, I showed my dedication through that. After a quick 7 months of doing that consistently, Justin sent me a package of a new board I ordered with an extra deck and two shirts and asked me to be on his team, this was probably one of the most biggest accomplishments I’ve ever achieved through the work I put in. As most of you that know me now I don’t ride for Homewood anymore, he pursued the stock market and investing instead of fingerboarding. I’ll bet my current sponsor, @Lakewoodfb can speak up for the amount of dedication I’ve put into Homewood and say it was probably an enticing factor that lead to him asking me to ride for him.

I’ve also had a couple of small sponsors on the way to this too but they never sent me stuff so I left them, mainly because I can’t rep a company if I don’t own anything. So this is my main point;

BUY your boards, trucks, wheels, etc. off of the companies YOU want to support/be sponsored by, rep their stuff and get their attention, companies love when customers ride their product exclusively because of the dedication showed to their product. And yes getting better is a part of it, but some fingerboarders are not even that good but get sponsored by big companies because of their attitude and their contribution to fingerboarding (Won’t say any names so I don’t offend anyone).

So yeah, any amateur fingerboarder begging for sponsors can read this, I think it’ll help a little. c:


#7

:wave: :wink:


#8

Hey BB, how goes it :grin:


#9

So much good information in this thread!

Thanks @complicated for getting this topic up here :slight_smile:

I’ve been sponsored for a long time. So long in fact that I couldn’t tell you the first company outside of my own fake team that I made (shoutout to C-Square member Reed Garcia, aka Rogelio Robles xD). So I haven’t been through these frustration at all.

Being Sponsored by a company is a two-way relationship. You represent their company, market their goods, and get the word out about them! I’ve turned down many, many offers for sponsorship in the past because I only will ride for companies that I truly believe in!


#11

Biggest tips to get sponsored:
Be a positive influence in the community
Be original
Be active
Support the companies you like


#12

Also, another way to get sponsored is to be a visible, positive contributor to the community. I’ll just use myself as an example. I got sponsored by Flatface, Berlinwood, and Blackriver not just for my fingerboarding skill, but also the contributions I made by being a moderator & admin on FFI, founder of FBWeekly (RIP), and by meeting the owners in person.


#13

Don’t feel bad, I’ve been fingerboarding 1999 and it wasn’t until 2017 that I got my first sponsor. I haven’t even fealt comfortable on a team until Witness picked me up, near the end of 2017. This is going to sound super generic but it’s true, just do what you love and what you find to be creative. In time your own style will develop, and who cares if other people like it or not.


#14

Real talk don’t try to get a sponsor, I know this is cliche but if you keep fingerboarding for a sponsor it becomes less fun. Also if a company asks to sponsor you, don’t just say yes because it’s a sponsor. You have to do your research on the company itself, and see if you truly like the boards they make, and if you actually want to represent them.


#15

Life lesson learnt
amazing story I’ll definitely listen to your advice


#16

When I first started Fingerboarding in high school was when Tech Deck first introduced their first decks. I shredded that thing in my classes when I had a free moment. After a few months I had grew tired of the same tricks on this tiny board.

When I decided to get back into finger boarding years later after college, when my son was a toddler and loved techdecks, the whole thing had changed. The decks were a little bit wider and made out of wood, and the trucks were wider as well. Wheels had bearings in them, and it was all about having fun and getting better. I never dedicated enough time to Improve my skills, but I loved that I had a miniaturized wooden skateboard I could mess around with. That visit to Fingerboarding lasted about a year.

Flash forward to two years ago my second son started playing with the techdecks we had. I decided to buy myself a new Fingerboard. I ended up getting a justmeFingerboard with a chad muska graphic. It was the coolest thing, until the clear coat came off and made the paper graphic a dampener and took away the pop it had. I realized then, that I did not like paper graphics. I ended up buying a couple more decks from other companies and some china wheels and some dynamic trucks. It was awesome to be back Fingerboarding again. I was still nowhere near being sponsor skilled because in my mind that took years of practice and dedication to be good enough to represent a company. I eventually wanted to spread the love of Fingerboarding so I bought my nephew a cheap $10 complete from some china company. It wasn’t even sanded on the edges. I realized that I could do better than this and I spent hundreds of dollars trying to prove I could make a good deck. It was a that point I gave up on any idea of ever trying to get good enough to get sponsored.

Now I make my own decks for people to enjoy. I decided to sponsor a handful of people that were decent. Not great, but they had a good attitude and I thought they would eventually hone their skills to match their great attitude. I was very wrong for all of them. Most of them got their free decks and tape and forgot the part where you are supposed to represent the company that is sponsoring you. The rest didn’t try to improve their skills, and were content with the same small skill set. There’s nothing wrong with that, if you aren’t sponsored, but your job as a sponsored rider is to be a billboard for the company you represent so other people will want to go buy that companies products too. They see that the product works for you, and they want it to work for them too.
It seems like the gimme gimme attitude is growing now. There is no will to buy a product and decide if you want to get more for free. It’s just “give me everything for free.” I don’t see that attitude changing. Those people might be in the scene for a little while and then just grow out of it.

When I see the right person using my decks, constantly shouting praises of my product, and they are skilled enough to make kids want to be as good as them… then I will consider taking them on as a sponsored rider.

So keep trying to get better, keep trying to improve your filming techniques, and make yourself visible by posting often with praises of the companies you use. Eventually you will be noticed and considered. If you don’t post often, with fresh content, you might not be a viable candidate.

Thanks for taking the time to read my position on sponsorships. Fingerboard for the love of the art, and you will get love back.


#17

Very good points. Sponsorship is a two-way street, but a lot of fingerboarders treat it as a one-way… Gimme, gimme, gimme! This attitude has been around since the online community began.

I can understand the frustration that comes from this mentality that is pervasive in fingerboarding…


#19

Exactly. For fingerboarding (especially skateboarding too) people start with the intention of making money/fame or getting sponsored right away. In the end they’re not having fun and eventually quit. They want things to be given to them without giving first.


#20

Sorry to hear that you got screwed over. There have been several people I followed for a long time who posted clips every day and always pushed to get better. As soon as they get sponsored they either stop posting, or film their clips using other people’s product. It really upsets me, because I know that there are a thousand kids out there who would kill for that spot.


#21

This is too true


#22

I’ve had too many sponsors to count.
There’s only a select few I’d support currently.
You have to be willing to not only use their product, but also “sell” the brand. If you don’t have a good/any relationship with the people within the company, then it may be hard to actually to sell the brand.

Back in the day, we would all talk more or less (big thanks to FFI and FB.de) so it was a lil more lax with getting sponsors, especially if you were active in the scene and making videos.

I gyess my contribution to this post is, skate for fun and if you have homies that make rad products, support them. Don’t just take a sponsorship just because the opportunity arose.