Aluminati general manager Jimbo Gaskin discusses the current state and future of the skateboard company.
Jimbo Gaskin has a unique plan for the cruiser skateboard market. And if you listen to him for just a moment, it becomes apparent that he’s not just interested in making ripples in one sector; he wants to change the industry for retailers and consumers alike.
But grasping the plan that Gaskin, general manager of Aluminati Skateboards, Corona, Calif., has in mind requires first understanding the company and its products. Aluminati began offering eco-friendly, customizable cruiser boards in 2013. The product is aptly named because of the purpose for which it was designed: cruising. It’s versatile, not just for easy maneuverability as a transportation vessel, but it also can fit comfortably into lockers and backpacks.
Cruisers also provide an alternative to long boards and are not as cumbersome in size. They provide easier steering capabilities and have traditionally appealed to a younger market.
Cruiser usage has increased on college campuses and urban outfits, Gaskin says, as they allow for an economical and easy-to-store alternative for the common short commute. He says Aluminati is in the business of trying to revolutionize the look of and materials used in the product.
“Change is needed in the cruiser market now — it has become a bit stagnant and ‘same old, same old,’” he says. “We have created a brand that brings uniqueness and change to the industry, retailers and consumer.”
Gaskin got his start in board sports as a surfer who competed and qualified for the national team, allowing him to travel the world. He has since worked for various companies, including SURFING Magazine, Billabong, Alpinestars, SMP and Perry Ellis. Most recently, he worked for Absolute Board Co., an Australia-based skate, surf and fashion company.
“I came along in the period of time where I worked with and learned from many influential people in the action sports world that made huge impacts on the board sports youth market,” Gaskin says. “I am very fortunate to have many wonderful friends and great relationships in our marketplace.”
Customization and Licensing
One of Aluminati’s calling cards is its customization program. The company can embellish boards with custom logo and other graphics, and can even provide graphic services for clients. It also customizes boards for brands, retailers, events, breweries, fraternities and bands.
Aluminati also is a licensee of the NBA, NHL and NCAA, which Gaskin says will help the company reach a wider range of customers.
“Our owner and co-founder looked at the company when it was first created and asked what could be done to reach the youth market in a different way with more diversity,” he says. “Adding mainstream sports and colleges to our brand’s skate, surf and board sports mentality makes complete sense. Combining people’s passions is always a positive.”
That passion showed itself in June after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Finals. The following month, Gaskin says, the company’s Cavs skateboard was included in the top group of boards sold the following month. Earlier this year, Aluminati added eight European football teams including Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid.
There presently are no immediate expansion plans for licensing.
Manufacturing and Retailing
Aluminati skateboards are made in the United States out of recyclable, highest-grade aircraft aluminum. They have low minimums, vertical production and a two-week turnaround on orders. All aspects of the production are proprietary, and the company created not only the process, but also the production machines used therein.
Gaskin says the company has no supply-chain or logistics issues. He values the relationship with retailers and partners, something he believes is paramount in his business philosophy.
“Working with our retailers is and will always be at the top of my list; it’s how I learned to work in this business,” he says. “I enjoy it and it works extremely well. The people we have in our company also believe in this philosophy and I know this, as the retailers tell me how much they enjoy working with our crew. I am proud of that fact.”
Gaskin has a simple goal in mind for Aluminati’s future: to develop a brand and company that is relationship-driven with retailer and consumers. The company’s vertical production and in-house graphics capabilities mean expedited timelines for finished products and instantaneous adaption to new and emerging trends.
“The cruiser market needs some energy and points of difference, and we bring these to the market with our brand, licensing and custom programs,” Gaskin says. “We are focused on cruiser skateboards at this time, [and] when we are ready, other high-quality and unique products will be part of Aluminati’s offerings.”
How would Gaskin describe the direction in which the company is headed?
“Aluminati is going to be special.”