SHOPTALK: Nick Jones of Lavish Longboards – Fayetteville
Questions like, “There’s a custom longboard maker in Fayetteville?,” “Do they make them here in town?,” and “Is Fayetteville even a good place for longboarding?” kept popping into our brains.
After several weeks of asking those questions over and over in our heads, we realized that operating a local publication (The Fayetteville Flyer) might be just the excuse we needed to get the answers we were seeking.
So we asked the guy who started the company. Here’s what he said.
Fayetteville Flyer: Tell us a bit about longboarding. How is it different from technical skateboarding?
Nick Jones: Longboarding is a great sport and hobby that can be enjoyed by all ages. They were created in California (my home state) for cruising and transportation. A lot of longboarders enjoy riding them because they can just let their mind go and cruise. It is a really great way to release stress and get exercise. They are really fun and people love riding them once they finally give it a try. They can be used just for cruising as mentioned, or flying down hills like the large one on Dickson Street. Longboarding like crazy. Shredding. Block partying.
The major difference between longboarding and skateboarding is the ability to do tricks. Technical skateboards are cool because you can grind, flip, and ollie over things. Longboards are cool because they provide for a smooth ride, and because of the bigger wheels riders don’t have to worry about cracks, twigs, and rocks. They are also a lot safer than a technical skateboard. The cool thing is, if you can do one, you can do both!
FF: How did you get involved in the longboarding community?
NJ: I grew up in California and have always been involved in the skate industry. I moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2007 to go to the Sam M. Walton College of Business at U of A. I drove here in my 2-door Honda Accord with my Dad all the way from California, so I was limited on what I could bring to Arkansas when I moved here. Basically, I brought all my coolest clothes, golf clubs, a technical skateboard, and my longboard. I initially lived in Bella Vista where my grandparents retired, and I would go on adventures through the smooth paved hills on my board for fun. Fresno is where I was raised and it is really flat, so living in Bella Vista introduced me to hill riding and being able to handle higher speeds. Being a student at UA, I would just park a good distance from class and cruise there for free on my longboard. People started mentioning that they saw me riding, and wanted to try it out. So I would teach them how to ride, and eventually sell them a board made by my good friend Evan back home. It finally got to a point where I had to just start providing the boards myself, so I used some initiative and set up Lavish to help grow and promote the local longboard community.
FF: What made you decide to start building your own custom boards? Do you build them all by hand?
NJ: As mentioned earlier, people displayed a huge amount of interest in the longboards I was riding. After selling a few with my best friend Evan McNary back home, I decided to just start creating them myself here in NW Arkansas with his help. It is really fun making them, I have enjoyed it a lot. People seem to really enjoy the fact that they are all handcrafted. I seriously make sure every single board is perfect before I give it to the customer. They are all tested before they are sold, which is also a fun part of the creation process! I have even had neighbors knock on my door after seeing me ride, and a few of them ended up buying one too. The possibilities are endless with them, my team and I can put any logo, graphic, acronym on them to make them even more customized for the customer. It has been a fun ride, and I have already had to increase my production capacity twice. I am really happy with the progress, and am very excited for the future of Lavish.
FF: Where can folks get their hands on one of your longboards locally?
NJ: I have had multiple requests from local retailers to carry my boards, but have declined most of the offers. The one place I did choose to sell them was at The Mustache on the downtown Fayetteville Square. Brian (the owner) is a really great guy and I love the feel of his shop. I also sell a lot of them by hand and through my website. I like to meet with the customer personally to be perfectly honest. I enjoy seeing the satisfaction it gives them to ride a cool board like mine. People really appreciate that, I usually take a skate tool with me to help them get the right amount of flex out of their trucks. Creating a more personalized approach like that has led to a ton of referrals and interest from the various customer networks. There will be a new place where they will be available on August 1, but the location is top secret. So stay tuned to our Facebook fan page for more details on that.
FF: Do you think the sport can take off in Fayetteville? Is this a good place to ride?
NJ: It is really fun to get with a friend or two and just cruise around Fayetteville, and the UA campus. Just carving through the walkways and roads is really relaxing and interesting. There are so many mellow hills that lead to flat land, which makes Fayetteville a great place to ride. I have seen the skate industry grow year after year locally, getting the longboarders involved with my company has been really cool and fun. I am assembling a sponsored team of longboarders here to help promote Lavish, as well as the local skate culture, so if you are interested in joining, please contact me. Overall, Fayetteville is a great place to ride and more and more people are starting to realize that.
FF: How much do the boards typically retail for?
NJ: Retail price is $175, but you can get one customized with a logo or graphic for about $10 more, depending on the design.
FF: Is there anything else you want people to know about Lavish Longboards?
NJ: I want people to know that this isn’t a business where the primary goal is just making money. I hold a full-time job locally, so Lavish isn’t my primary source of income. Owning this company is purely for fun, and being able to personally customize the products is awesome. I am seriously passionate about helping grow the local skate scene. Growing up in California with the skate industry influence has helped me out in so many ways, I really want to extend that to Northwest Arkansas. I even offer discounts to parents on their kids’ boards, just to get them in to the sport and lifestyle. I love the skate culture, and will do whatever possible to help it out. You can check us out on Facebook (be sure to “like” it!) and/or on my website! Get out and ride one, you will love it. Contact me and I will let you ride one before you buy for sure.