Girl Distribution Company

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The Girl Distribution Company is a skateboarding distribution company based in Torrance, California, United States (US). The distribution company houses the following brands: Girl Skateboards, Chocolate Skateboards, Royal Skateboard Trucks, Ruby Republic, and Fourstar Clothing.

History[edit]

Girl[edit]

The Girl company was the inaugural brand of the company and was founded in 1993[1] after a selection of team riders from the World Industries distribution company decided to found their own brand—the main figures are Mike Carroll and Rick Howard.

Howard explained in a 2000 interview:

Part of the reason we started Girl was so pro skateboarders would have a future. Take Royal, for instance. When Guy Mariano and Rudy's Johnson legs don't work anymore, at least what they've done for skateboarding and their ideas can continue with something they can fall back on. All the Girl Distribution companies are based around people who have helped Girl get to where it is today.[2]

Howard and Carroll revealed in 2013 as part of the company's 20-year anniversary commemoration that the majority of the skateboard industry at the time was acrimonious towards the new enterprise. Carroll stated that a particular woodshop was threatened by another company and consequently severed ties with Girl, but that industry figure Fausto Vitello assisted Girl in numerous ways. Carroll explained that Vitello "he always just, kinda, let us know that he had our back."[3]

In addition to Howard and Carroll, the original Girl team consisted of Jovontae Turner, Guy Mariano, Rudy Johnson, Tim Gavin, Tony Ferguson, Sean Sheffey, and Jeron Wilson.[3] The company has evolved into a distribution company that distributes skateboard hard goods, skateboard videos and films, and soft goods. The Girl logo is similar to the symbol on women's bathrooms and was designed by Girl's in-house artist Andy Jenkins, who remains with the company as of August 2013.[3][4] Named the "Art Dump", the design department of Girl is overseen by Jenkins. Artists such as Geoff McFetridge, Kevin Lyons, and Hershel Baltrotsky have contributed to the aesthetic of Girl through their work for the Art Dump.[3]

In the period leading up to the year 2000, Carroll and Howard were filming for the TransWorld SKATEboarding video Modus Operandi and their filmer, Ty Evans, invited a young unknown skateboarder named Brandon Biebel to accompany them on filming/skateboarding sessions. Biebel had moved from Chicago, US to California, US and had met Ty previously in southern California. At the 2000 premiere of the video, Carroll asked Biebel to join the Lakai skate shoe team, followed by an offer to join Girl several months afterwards.[5][6] Biebel was assigned professional status in 2002[7] and stated in a 2012 interview: "Girl, Lakai—that's a dream come true. I 'aint never leaving that shit."[8]

During the mid-2000s, Girl recruited new amateur riders Mike Mo Capaldi, Sean Malto, and Alex Olson, and established amateur Jereme Rogers was assigned professional status with the company in 2005, the same year that he was awarded the "Rookie of the Year" award by TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine.[9] Rogers left the company in 2007 due to his dissatisfaction with his royalty payments,[10] while Capaldi, Malto, and Olson were assigned professional status the following year.[11]

Rogers later explained his issues with Girl in an October 2012 interview:

I was getting my cheque, just not my actual royalties. I got a three thousand dollar guarantee a month, which operated as a minimum; meaning I get that no matter what, but if I sell over the minimum, I get the extras - royalties kick in ... So what had happened was, they were letting my royalties fall back into the company to cover their overhead, which helped keep a boat afloat that had some leaks. For two years I apparently didn't break my three thousand dollar minimum ... Don't forget, we're taking about Girl here who sells all around the world ... So I inappropriately blurted out at Tampa 2007, after getting second to Koston, who had a flawed run, against mine which was flawless, that all I wanted was my royalties, when Rick Howard asked what I wanted after doing so well. The following month I got a six thousand dollar cheque... The first time I broke my three thousand dollar minimum, "apparently", and on top of that, it was April; tax time. Coincidence... Sure.[12]

A statement from Girl was not released in response to Rogers's claims.

After winning the "Bang Yo' Self 2" contest, held by the Berrics website, in April 2009, Cory Kennedy was recruited by Girl and was assigned professional status in mid-2011. In regard to Kennedy's victory, the Berrics wrote: "Today, April 2nd, 2009, is the beginning of Cory Kennedy's tyranny over skateboarding. May God have mercy on our souls."[13] Kennedy was unaware of his promotion, as he was deliberately informed by the company that a filming session was occurring at the North Hollywood skatepark; however, 20 of Kennedy's inaugural signature skateboard deck were given to random people at the park who skated on the decks, together with Girl team members who were also using the deck, while Kennedy remained unaware. After 20 minutes, Kennedy eventually realized that his name was written on the decks.[14][15]

In May 2013, longtime Girl team riders Brian Anderson and Olson announced that they had parted ways with the company as a board sponsor. Anderson explained that he would be pursuing a creative venture of his own,[16] while Olson did not disclose a subsequent sponsor and stated: "I wouldn't be where I am today without the help and motivation of Girl."[17] Following the announcement of Anderson's own skateboard deck company "3D Skateboards" and the recruitment of Olson (who left to form his own brand shortly afterwards[18]), the former Girl team member affirmed that his departure was not due to dissatisfaction:

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the way things were going with Girl. That’s why it was hard to go through with everything because we’re all really close friends and I love those guys so much. I just felt like I wanted to do something for myself, instead of in a few years realizing that I can’t jump down stairs when I’m 45, and I kinda wanted to have my own thing started by the time that happens. I have a few Girl tattoos, and I’m happy I have them because it’s great memories of fun trips and great years.[19]

When asked to comment on the departure of team members in August 2013, Carroll stated, "When people quit for other companies for just more money, or something, that's stupid. But, if someone quits because they don't feel right on a team, or something, then, and for another company, that makes sense."[3]

As of August 2013, the Girl brand has existed for 20 years and Howard explained his perspective on the longevity of Girl in an interview with Route One magazine:

We've grown up together doing this, so, yeah, we're just lucky to work with our friends, you know? And all share the same things in what we do here, so ... That's how we started and that's what we do to this day. This is up for everyone to have fun with, you know?[3]

Chocolate[edit]

In the year following the formation of Girl, the Chocolate brand was introduced, as the growth of Girl inspired the creation of another brand, with the recruitment of additional riders and personnel.[2][20] Howard and Carroll explained in 2013 that they were compelled to start the brand after an experience in which they were forced to leave behind professional skateboarder Chico Brenes, a close friend at the time, as they embarked on a skateboard tour, as he was unable to fit into the tour van.[3]

The original team consisted of Keenan Milton, Brenes, Daniel Castillo, Paulo Diaz, Richard Mulder, Shamil Randle, Gabriel Rodriguez, and Ben Sanchez.[21] In 2009, a 15-year anniversary advertisement was published in which a portrait of the team was depicted—the two riders who were not present at the photo shoot, Anthony Pappalardo and Jesus Fernandez, were represented by framed portrait photographs.[22] The Chocolate team made guest appearances in Girl videos, such as Goldfish[23] and Yeah Right!,[24] in addition to producing its own videos, Las Nueve Vidas De Paco (1995),[25][26][27][28][29][30] The Chocolate Tour (1999),[31][32][33] Se Habla Canuck (2004),[34] and Hot Chocolate (2004),[35] and A Little Chunk of Chocolate (2006).[36]

On November 12, 2013, a video was published on the Crailtap YouTube channel, the official channel of the Girl Distribution Company, in which Jerry Hsu is officially revealed as the new professional for the Chocolate skateboard company. The video skit features Carroll, Marc Johnson, Stevie Perez, Elijah Berle, and Gino Ianucci. In the video, the skateboarders (minus Ianucci, who arrives at the end of the skit) discuss a new professional team member for the Chocolate brand in a Mexican restaurant. A list of criteria is articulated by the group's members—a list that is associated with Hsu's career thus far—and Hsu then appears as the waiter.[37]

Fourstar Clothing[edit]

Founded by Eric Koston and Guy Mariano in April 1996, as the pair sought to move beyond cargo pants and t-shirts to create affordable clothing for skateboarders.[2] As of March 2013, the company sponsors a diverse team that includes Tony Trujillo, Shane O'Neill, Ishod Wair, and Andrew Brophy. Four video productions have been made for the brand: Gang of Fourstar (2009)—filmed during a European tour)—A Tribe Called Mapquest (2008), Catalog Shoot (2005) and Super Champion Funzone (2005).[38]

Royal Trucks[edit]

Royal Trucks is a company in Torrance, California that makes skateboard trucks, the axle-like structures to which a skateboard's wheels are attached, and apparel. According to Transworld Business, the company was founded in 1999 by Rudy Johnson and Mariano (however, conflicting information exists on the Chocolate website, as the Links section cites the year 1999[1]).[2]

On January 29, 2013, the company launched a new website that included an online store.[39] To coincide with the new stage on the company's timeline, a promotional video, in which Cory Kennedy performs a sequence of two tricks on a set of stairs, was published, stating that Kennedy rides the "Royal IV 5.25" model.[40]

Ruby Republic[edit]

Baltimore and Girl artistic collaborator Andy Jenkins founded Ruby to create a line of girls' clothing, without the "scaled-down skate-clothes formula", and was sold in skate shops and boutiques.[2] As of March 2013, the brand has expanded and also manufactures skateboard hard goods, such as cruiser boards, and men's clothing, and also maintains an online retail service, in addition to a blog.[41]

Lakai Limited Footwear[edit]

Lakai Limited Footwear is a skateboard footwear company based in Torrance, California, US, that was founded by Carroll and Howard in 1999.[42] As of March 2013, the brand is the last to have joined the Girl Distribution roster after an initial period of distribution with Podium Distribution (formerly responsible for DVS Shoes and Matix Clothing)—in the typical Lakai style,[43] a humorous video segment was published to announce the transitional move.[44]

In July 2013, Marc Johnson explained the importance of sponsors that are owned and run by skateboarders, citing Lakai as a foremost example:

I’ve invested a huge part of my time, my effort and my heart and soul into Lakai. Because Skateboarders own it, skateboarders run it, and skateboarders design the shoes ... It’s a partnership all the way around ... Lakai didn’t have to ‘buy my endorsement’ or ‘purchase my support’. I supported those people involved with Lakai long before I ever joined the team ... I’ve gone on tour with them and watched them stress out while filming. I’ve watched them go through the same shit I go through. I’ve shared Motel 6 rooms with them, ate Bojangle’s with them, given them grip tape and bolts and wheels and bearings and shoelaces and socks while we’re stuck in a town 3 hours away from anywhere remotely considered civilized, filming our hearts out for what we love. They supported me through a very rough period of active alcoholism, and hung onto me after countless episodes of assholishness and wild, shameful behavior. I ride for a shoe company created by people who know what I’m going through and go through what I’m going through. That’s what I support.[45]

Girl Films[edit]

Girl Films has been the company name that has been used for all of the Girl Distribution video productions. In early 2013, longtime videographer/director/editor for Girl Films Ty Evans announced his departure from the company[46] and Italian videographer/director Federico Vitetta[47] has become more involved with film work for the company since Evans' departure. Evans was primarily responsible for the Hot Chocolate, Yeah Right!, Fully Flared (Lakai), and Pretty Sweet productions.[48]

Pretty Sweet[edit]

Both the Girl and Chocolate teams were involved with the filming of the Pretty Sweet video production—the world premiere of the video occurred on November 16, 2012 at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, California, US[49][50] (the commercial release date for the video is November 27, 2012).[51] The video includes parts from the team members of both brands and was the first full-length Girl Distribution Company video to feature a part from Sean Malto.[50]

Filming for Pretty Sweet occurred in numerous global locations, including Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, China, Barcelona & Berlin.[52] Evans also explained that, due to commitments for his next feature film, Jonze's involvement was limited, but he conducted a week's worth of filming, contributed ideas. and participated in creative meetings for the production.[48]

The video was a winner at the 15th Annual Transworld SKATEboarding Awards event, held at the Avalon Hollywood in Hollywood, California, US, and received the Best Video award over DGK's Parental Advisory and Transworld's The Cinematographer Project.[53] In February 2013, Evans predicted that Pretty Sweet would surpass Lakai's Fully Flared as the best-selling skateboard video of all time. He explained that two months after the video's release it had achieved similar sales figures to the Lakai film, and that the video "was #1 in the Sports and Documentary categories on iTunes and overall out of all the films it was #2."[54]

Girl Skateboards[edit]

Team members[edit]

Videography[edit]

  • 1994: Goldfish
  • 1996: Mouse
  • 2003: Harsh Euro Barge[56][57][58]
  • 2003: Yeah Right![59]
  • 2004: High Fives Up The i-5[60]
  • 2005: Oi! Meets Girl![61]
  • 2005: What Tour?
  • 2006: Yes We CANada[62]
  • 2006: Badass Meets Dumbass (with Chocolate skateboards)[63]
  • 2008: Beauty and the Beast (with Anti-Hero Skateboards)[64]
  • 2008: Yanks On Planks[65]
  • 2009: Beauty and the Beast 2 (with Anti-Hero Skateboards)[66]
  • 2010: Beauty and the Beast 3 (with Anti-Hero Skateboards)[67]
  • 2010: Der Bratwurst Tour Ever (with Chocolate skateboards)[68]
  • 2010: Outbackwards[69][70][71]
  • 2011: Unbeleafable (3D film)
  • 2012: Pretty Sweet (with Chocolate skateboards)[72]

Chocolate Skateboards[edit]

Chocolate Skateboards logo

Team members[edit]

  • Vincent Alvarez
  • Kenny Anderson
  • Elijah Berle
  • Chico Brenes
  • Daniel Castillo
  • Justin Eldridge
  • Jesus Fernandez
  • Gino Iannucci
  • Marc Johnson
  • Stevie Perez
  • Raven Tershy
  • Jerry Hsu[37][73]

Videography[edit]

  • 1995: Las Nueve Vidas De Paco[74]
  • 1999: The Chocolate Tour[75]
  • 2004: Se Habla Canuck[76]
  • 2004: Hot Chocolate[77]
  • 2006: A Little Chunk of Chocolate[78]
  • 2006: Hittin' Britain & Oui Will Rock You[79]
  • 2007: Badass Meets Dumbass (promo with Girl Skateboards)[80]
  • 2008: Felicità (trailer with Italian artist Bugo)[81]
  • 2010: Der Bratwurst Tour Ever[68]
  • 2012: Pretty Sweet[42][82]

Fourstar Clothing[edit]

Team[edit]

  • Shane O'Neill
  • Ishod Wair
  • Tony Trujillo
  • Rick Howard
  • Eric Koston
  • Mike Carroll
  • Tyler Bledsoe
  • Brian Anderson
  • Andrew Brophy
  • Sean Malto
  • Guy Mariano
  • Lucas Puig
  • Max Schaaf[83]

Paul Rodriguez, PJ Ladd, and Mark Gonzales are former team members.[84]

Videography[edit]

  • Super Champion Funzone (2005)[85]
  • Catalog Shoot (2005)[84]
  • A Tribe Called Mapquest (2008)[86][87]
  • Gang of Fourstar (2009)[88][89]
  • 4 Live Crew (2012)[90]

Royal Trucks[edit]

Royal Skateboard Trucks logo

Team Riders[edit]

Lakai Limited Footwear[edit]

Team riders[edit]

Pro[edit]

Am[edit]

  • Sebo Walker
  • Miles Silvas[92]

Causes[edit]

In 2012, Girl is listed as a partner of the (RED) campaign, together with other brands such as Nike, American Express and Converse. The campaign's mission is to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child by 2015 (the campaign's byline is "Fighting For An AIDS Free Generation").[93]

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External links[edit]