David Hamme’s entrepreneurial streak stretches back further than he can remember.
At age 4 or 5, he drew pictures and sold his artistry door-to-door. He and his friend Ben would staff a lemonade stand on the Fourth of July. And in high school, David started a photography business that offered senior portraits.
His newest venture: October Skateboards, which David co-founded with childhood friend Ryan Brubaker, who is active in the Lancaster skateboarding scene. The company was born when Ryan ordered five blank skateboards and hand-drew designs on them. David joined in to help create a new graphic.
After intense research, David (the business guy) and Ryan (the skater guy) settled on Pennswood Skateboard Manufacturing, based outside of Pittsburgh, to produce their boards.
The intricacies in crafting skateboards are many. The boards, each consisting of seven layers of Canadian maple wood veneers, come in different shapes and sizes with various depths, specific glues, and screen-transfer and sanding techniques.
By choosing Pennswood, October Skateboards stayed in state and received a high-quality product, as their board graphics are created using a screen transfer process instead of vinyl images, which chip easily.
Since early 2009, David and Ryan have manufactured nearly 100 boards – with a fresh design featuring flying bats – launched a website, created T-shirts and shipped their skateboards as far as Mexico. They have one team rider so far, Zach Plank. Business cards are on the way.
For October, it’s all about quality at a reasonable price. An average skateboard deck retails for $50 to $65. An October skateboard sells for $35.
The price point allows October to penetrate the market and meets a need for cash-strapped skaters, who can go through a board in a few months – or even days. As more boards are put under the feet of local riders, David intends to continue marketing the company through those real-world product testers and word of mouth.
October team rider Zach Plank
With winter here, David plans to use the downtime for research and development, potentially to create new graphics and to extend their products to include apparel and stickers.
The company also recently organized an End of Autumn skate contest at Overlook Skate Park in Lancaster.
But at October Skateboards, of course, autumn never ends. The company name is derived from the temperate weather that’s prime for skateboarding. Unlike summer, the heat isn’t oppressive. Unlike spring, it’s not overly rainy. And unlike winter, the pavement isn’t as unforgiving.
“October is a company dedicated to giving back to the local skateboard community,” David said. “We don’t want it to be so businessey. We want to make our boards available to anyone who wants to ride a skateboard. With our boards, you can have October all year round.”
– Brandon Lausch
To learn more about October Skateboards, visit www.octoberskateboards.com
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