The Small Company Field Guide was a regular feature that we used to publish on the old Everything Skateboarding blog. It was so popular that we decided to keep it around for the newest iteration of Everything Skateboarding. Why? Because these small companies are infusing a hell of a lot of creativity, originality, and energy into the skateboarding scene right now. They are part of a wider grassroots effort to take skateboarding back from the perceived big-business moguls that have had far too much control over our industry, for far too long. This month’s featured interviewee is Jose Maldonado, the co-founder and co-owner (along with his wife) of Phoenix, Arizona based Nemesis Skateboards. Without further ado:
Hey Jose! Bud here from Everything Skateboarding. How you doin’ today? Are you ready to answer a few questions…?
Fuck yeah, Bud! I’m stoked for the opportunity to be in the mag!
First up: what’s your position at the company?
I’m the Founder/Co-owner and Team Manager.
How’d you get into skating? How long have you been doing it? What kind of stuff do you like to rip?
I started skating when I was in the fourth grade. I used to play soccer, and I had always seen the older dudes in the hood shredding, and it looked like a lot more fun! I personally like skating street, and handrails. But if I have to skate a park, I prefer bowls and tranny. Something about hauling ass and boosting huge airs makes me feel alive.
How long has the company been around? What year was it started?
We just launched this year in September, so we only been open few months, but the business is growing faster than I ever imagined.
Here’s the most important question, right here: Why did you guys decide to start a small company? What was missing in the marketplace that made you ultimately say to yourselves, “Damn, man! We need to get up, get our asses going, and do this ourselves!”…?
I grew up on Zero, Baker, and the rawness of skateboarding. With all the commercial/corporate companies coming into the game, I just wanted to make a company and brand that is unprocessed and untainted like all the commercialized brands. We wanna take skateboarding back its roots.
Photos, left to right: Jose Maldonado, classic backside smith; the Nemesis logo; two of Nemesis’ most recent graphic offerings.
Who’s on the team (if you have one), and why did you pick those guys to represent your product/brand?
We have a pretty big team that consist of two groms, Keagan Jepson and Steel Donahue; two lady shredders, Jessica James and Christina Pantea (who is also our Assistant Team Manager); and eight dudes: Ethan Doty, Stephen Enright, Garrett Deroche, Calvin Debruler, Scott Vancil, Matt Suncin, Nathan Glenn, and Jesse Williams.
We picked everyone on the team carefully because we see our team as our skate fam!
Both Kegan and Steel show true heart and dedication; it was important to us to support the generation coming up. My wife and I talked about how women in the sport do not get enough exposure, and we decided to add two ladies to the team. Jess and Christina were added after looking at a grip of girl skaters. We went to meet them, and my wife knew right, then, and there that they were it for us. All of our guy skaters are rad in their own way, we appreciate how different they all skate.
What are the goals of The Company? Rock star status? International distribution? World domination? Corporate alliances, aquisitions, and mergers? Hookers and Blow?
Honestly, I just want things to take off enough to quit my day job keep the company alive and growing! I’m not going to sell out to make a shit ton of money, or to be famous. Skating is life, man. I just want to be able to give my riders what they need and to make enough money to shred every day.
Photos, left to right: Giving back to the community at the Locals Only Phoenix contest, fall of 2018; flyer for the upcoming grom-friendly “Hesh Sesh” at Kids That Rip in Chandler, Arizona, February 11th, 2018. Jose says, “There aren’t enough events these days that are well-suited to the groms. But without the groms, there will be no future of skateboarding”. That’s positive perspective and activism at work, right there. Love it.