Like a “phoenix from the trashes” Goose Boards was born. Two friends wanted to develop their creative potential and decided to handmake cruiser skateboards from something that was seemingly throw-away-able… These upcycled longboards are designed as a functional piece of art, for those who want to enjoy “being free”. Ideal if you want to skate combining performance and fun, the Goose cruiser skateboards are beautiful wooden with invisible grip and soft wheels to roll like butter. Because “imagination should be taken seriously” we’ll let you goose around with this magic wooden brand!
We interview Jared and Ryan, two very creative friends from New Zealand that decided to create beautiful cruiser skateboards. After seeing amazing wood going to waste, upcycling was a no brainer. They explain it all from their creative and production process, their impactful workshops, their philosophies, about New Zealand (its sheep haha!) and how collaboration is getting the brand off the grid! It’s an incredibly interesting conversation, so we hope you enjoy these two good guys as much as we did!
Hey Jared & Ryan, what is your background and what made you start the brand Goose boards?
Goose Boards started out in twenty16 by a couple of dreamers, Ryan a designer and photographer, and Jared, an artisan and maker of almost all things. We were inspired by the creative potential we saw in each, and we wanted to make something that we really loved and were proud of. Jared had always wanted to have a handmade skate brand, and Ryan was really keen to start some kind of epic project. Somehow we landed on Goose – upcycled, handmade, cruiser boards.
What is the mission behind Goose cruiser skateboards?
For us this brand keeps us inspired and hopeful that life can be playful, work can be fun, and people can get amongst it whatever their journey. We are striving to bring something beautiful and useful from something seemingly throw-away-able… a kind of “phoenix from the trashes”. We want to engage and inspire others, activate spaces, and outwork the inklings of our hearts.
Could you explain what are all the features of Goose cruiser skateboards and how do your designs help performance?
Our main thing is beautiful, individually unique cruiser boards that feel silky smooth to cruise round on. It’s not complicated, just a beautiful solid board, with invisible grip (so you can see the wood) and great components. We spent ages making sure our wheels are nice and soft making them roll like butter. Our boards sit between performance and fun – they’re not designed for sliding/downhill/tricks (even though people have) or just for occasional use. They’re designed as functional pieces of art that really suit people using them daily to get around on and at the same time enjoy “being free”, soaking in the fresh air, or the sounds of the city.
What kind of wood do you use to make Goose upcycled cruiser skateboards and where from do you source the materials?
We make our boards essentially from rubbish, and you would be surprised how often amazing wood is thrown away. Also, there is plenty of rubbish that is not useful to us, but lots of it is. We have also started to incorporate recycled plastic and are looking at using other materials too. The most common wood we use is NZ native Kauri, Matai, and other species like oregon, pine, oak, ash, kwilia, teak, etc.
From design to production, what is the process your upcycled longboards goes through to become one of the unique Goose boards?
Well, it’s a bit of an organic process but generally, we find some wood and start to work it to see it tone and its integrity. From there we decide whether or not to join it to other pieces, or leave it to roll solo. We have a small handful of shapes we’re happy with and have refined, but also produce some fun shapes inspired by the shape of the wood or just how we’re feeling at the time – from there we play with tonal combinations, and finishes, and then get to work shaping them up. Each unique board then gest laser cut or branded, and then finished with our top secret invisible grip. KaBoom!
@Gooseboards We make our boards essentially from rubbish, and you would be surprised how often amazing wood is thrown away. We have also started to incorporate recycled plastic and are looking at using other materials too. #upcycling… Click To Tweet
What is the range of shapes you have between your branded Goose cruiser boards? And for someone who doesn’t know anything about the difference: what enjoyment could we get from each shape?
There is a bunch of different sizes and shapes that we make. Generally the larger the board the easier it is to learn on, but this does not mean that you can’t learn on smaller boards. Our ‘Phat Goose’ is currently our biggest board with wide 10” trucks. Down from that, we have what we call the ‘Goose Neck’ this is a banana board of epic proportion that is super surprisingly easy and smooth to skate. Our smallest board, on the other hand, is the ‘thrifty’, it’s wild and tiny but definitely makes you smile. Probably our most popular shape is the ‘Gosling’, it’s compact but cruisy enough to be a good time anywhere, I skate bowls on mine, but it also keeps up with longboards for cruising around town.
Do you also contemplate the option to do custom made cruiser boards?
Yes totally! We have done custom orders, and even collaborated with a person that wanted to do some art of their own on the board mid construction, it was fun. We are pretty much open to anything that will create a special board for someone. Dream big people!
Could you please provide some data worth sharing on the impact the brand has made?
I think that as Goose our main impact has been in the area of inspiration and education. There have been so many people that come away from our conversations or workshops saying things like ‘I never thought that you could achieve a premium product out of waste!’, and ‘I wonder what other things I could make’. We are pretty pumped that our brand has empowered people to rethink what they can create. Also, there has been a bunch of waste that has been diverted from landfill, but in the scheme of things this is very small, it is the change we can affect in people’s minds that will be able to multiply the positive effects of upcycling.
@Gooseboards main impact has been in the area of inspiration & education. There have been so many people in our workshops saying things like: ‘I never thought that you could achieve a premium product out of waste!’ or ‘I wonder… Click To Tweet
At Goose boards, you are also organising workshops. What’s the format and what kind of skills can we learn?
Basically, in our workshops, we teach people how to hand make their own cruiser board out of waste material and it is a good time! The workshops developed organically from some government agencies. Our first one, for example, was with the Kaikoura Council, and the ideas behind this were to help people to reimagine the impact of the earthquake that happened there in 2016.
There are statistics that show mental health periodically improves after a natural disaster as people come together. However after a year or so all the mental health issues come back with a sense of vengeance, loneliness, isolation, and grief become huge contributing factors. One strategy that has shown to be effective is to give young people hope and positive experiences, and this, in turn, affects the mental health of adults, (interestingly the opposite is not observed). This was the climate and initiatives that we entered into with the Kaikoura workshops, and it was an honour to be able to help youth construct a skateboard out of waste, but also have these other meaningful dimensions of our work.
We have since done another workshop in Tasmania, Australia, and plan to do more locally and internationally.
One of your statements is that people overlook the desires that are in our hearts and the things we really want to do. How does Goose Boards express that?
Gooseboards is exactly that – an incling that was in our own hearts. We have always wanted to create things that we care about, that are beautiful, that make the world better and inspire others to do the same. For us, that embodies a large part of the desires of our hearts and it is our hope that through our boards, workshops, merch, book, etc, it helps inspire others to outwork the desires of their own hearts.
How is been the process of creating your own brand of upcycled wooden cruiser skateboards, and what have been those “messy” stages that you have embraced to benefit your brand and product development?
It has been heaps of fun, for us, I think that it has been helped by the fact that we are really good mates, and doing business is fun. Doing business like this also takes longer than you might think, it builds slowly. We haven’t really found any stage particularly messy but one challenge that is persistent is that gradual balance shift from our other work (Jared – artisan, and Ryan design/photography) into what Goose is becoming. It really helps to have someone to do it with. This is why we’d recommend getting someone else in the picture if possible – even if its just to bounce ideas off now and again. We both love what we do and often we get busy. As Goose grows it requires different forms of energy, and some of the most important work comes from that creative and futuristic space where you dream, imagine and create. The challenge is staying in this sweet spot, and building on it, while keeping our other business and families in the air. It’s exciting!
One of the key distinction most of the social entrepreneurs have in common is that they tend to collaborate. How do you perceive collaboration and how has it helped to your business?
Goose began as a collaboration, we have engaged in various collaborations, and we currently working on a few key collaborations (details to come). Collaboration is a really fun, and often mutually beneficial exchange where everyone can show up with their strengths and create something great. Collaborations are also great in the sense that the other person has their own point of view – which means there’s always ideas, networks, conversations, etc that are happening – the trick is to make sure the goal is always the same, but agree, trust and build faith in one another and keep moving in the same direction. Obviously, there is a bit to this but collaboration is an important part of the Goose story and we wouldn’t do it any other way.
You are based in New Zealand. How does a social entrepreneurial venture look like there?
It’s hard to get work done with all the sheep everywhere. Hahaha!
New Zealand is one of the best places in the world (and easiest) to start a business. That’s why our country is often in the spotlight for ingenuity and great ideas. Our country is about 97% small business which shows just how keen we all are to do our own thing! There are also a lot of government funds, initiatives and non-profits which all help to promote great things happening within New Zealand. We’re proud to be living here and what our country promotes. Our recent re-gaining of America’s cup is a great story of ingenuity, and also competing at the top level with the smallest of funds – it’s all about great ideas and working together!#SocialEnterprises are on the rise - where people still want to make money, but it’s not at the expense of the environment, people or excess. This will mean a shift in values but It’s an exciting time to be alive, especially for us… Click To Tweet
Do you see the opportunities and other social entrepreneurs raising locally, or even an increase of people appreciating slow living and choosing eco-consciously handmade manufactured brands such as yours?
We think opportunities are arising everywhere in every way. People are awakening to a whole plethora of ways to exist, and people are generally exhibiting a desire to be good people. Social enterprises are on the rise – where people still want to make money, but it’s not at the expense of the environment, people, excess, etc. This will mean a shift in values, and in turn in the products and markets that exist. It’s an exciting time to be alive, especially for us at Goose Boards.
And what has been the greatest success of Goose Boards as a brand so far?
Probably the people who have reached out to us from a range of different places wanting to work with us in whatever way they can, often in ways that cost them. To us, this is very encouraging! The brand seems to be taking us to places, more than us trying to take it somewhere. It has been a beautiful way to see a business and a brand work its own magic. It’s great to let the brand be it’s its own thing – it’s not all about us.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to other small businesses trying to make a difference for good?
We all have good inside of us. Explore those inklings, and slowly (or quickly) make it happen. All you have to do is make a start. You don’t often get to see the impact of doing good things as they impact others in such a variety of ways. Also, don’t be afraid of wanting to make money, but don’t make that your only definition of success.
If you could write a message on a big wall that the entire world could read, what would it say?
Imagination should be taken seriously!
Finally, where can we find your cruiser skateboards? Shop, online, worldwide…?
Instagram – @gooseboards
Web – gooseboards.com
Facebook – facebook.com/gooseboards
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