Garden Skateboards, launched in July of this year, is a skateboard company owned and operated from Edinburgh, Scotland.
Backed by Converse Cons, their initial promo video released in Vague skateboard magazine and their products launched to five major skate-shops across the United Kingdom.
Taking the approach of creating a more graphically driven brand, Garden’s products are artistic and stylish, breaking the mould of what a lot of skateboard companies have tended to do in recent years of making their logo the central piece of their products.
“When I first started skating the brands I liked were Toy Machine, who I thought were rad as fuck, Cliché Skateboards, and Blueprint, because those brands were artistically led, graphically led, they done other aspects so it wasn’t just ‘here’s our logo, here’s a pro skaters name, it’s on a board, we made a blue one, a green one, and a red one, buy one’ there was something there.” Kieran Forbes, founder of Garden explained.
This appreciation of more graphically led brands can also been seen in the style taken in their first promotional video, with its low-fi aesthetics and stylised editing. Garden haven’t just put out skate edits, they have tried to convey something unique.
“I’m not trying to take a bite out of the apple, I’m trying to be part of it. I’m not coming into this and just being like ‘what can I get out of it’ I want to add to it, I want to make something from it and build on top of it, and that feeds in to what I’m trying to do graphically and aesthetically.”
The Garden team is currently made up of skateboarders from around the Edinburgh postcode, but Kieron doesn’t want Garden to just be stuck in Scotland.
“You don’t want to be like ‘here’s the saltire, we’re the fucking boys from Scotland’. You want to be able to reference you’re geographic location without letting it define you.”
“I think there is an attitude of ‘we’re forgotten’ [in Scotland]. I’ve always sort of conveyed the same attitude, we are forgotten, we are missed. People have this idea of us like ‘we skate concrete parks, we like getting pissed, and that’s it’ that is a Scottish skateboarder. They’re a bit scary and you’re always thinking ‘I better not talk to this guy, he is a bit scary and he probably knows how to fight’”
This stereotype is something he actively wants to avoid, if not change completely “We’ve got a very varied team, and we can kind of think that it’s a more relatable team. The guys are good but somebody who only skates twice a week could relate to them.”
Although he doesn’t want to be hemmed in by the idea of being ‘the Scottish brand’, he understands its value “There is interest in a country that some people ignore, and there is also an interest in smaller brands. People like to see companies that are doing something – you can act locally but have a global impact.”
Unlike other smaller companies, Garden kept their original launch intentions fairly secret. Kieron feels that this is integral to the attitude of the company: “What I tried to do when I launched the brand, I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t tease it, I just presented it and it was there. What we did is proof that the brand can be trusted to do the work.”
Social media, a tool usually used endlessly by starter brands, is used sparingly by Kieron and the Garden team.
“I actually really don’t like social media, I despise it. I think it is overly used, it’s saturated. I swipe through brands posts, I get bored of it but I find myself looking at it all the time. I close Instagram, and just reopen it. It’s ridiculous… We want Garden to be a bit more personal for people, if they connect with it, it’s theirs… We have a clean graphically output and a low-fi visual output, so it seems like it would be hypocritical to also be really social media savvy, being the loudest noise on social media doesn’t really fall in line with our aesthetic.”
As for the future of the brand, Kieron’s ambitions are modest, “I just want the train to stay on the tracks, and every few miles get the chance to do something new.”