Industry Profile: Bustin Boards Facilitator Matt Colvin
18 Jun, 2009
Shay: What is your job title?
Matt: Facilitator of Bustin Boards Custom Longboards.
Shay: Did your parents question your job choice?
Matt: Very much so. I was an Airborne Linguist for 6 yrs in the USAF with 2 tours in Afghanistan so switching to civilian life, let alone skater life, was a whole new experience for me. My mom wanted me to finish out my time in the military and retire young, but I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by.
Shay: What was your first set up?
Matt: I can’t even remember back that far. Since I am more skater than snowboarder, it would have to be a Vision board that my neighbor gave me.
Shay: What is your current set up?
Matt: Bustin Strike with Randal trucks and Bustin Boca wheels. I know you are asking for snow setups, but this is my current whip and I am hoping to have the first Bustin Snowboard by next season set up with Bent Metal Biscuit ++ bindings. Gotta upgrade!
Shay: What was your first job?
Matt: Local movie theater. One of the best jobs a kid could have. Late night movie premiers before the regular audience can see them, laser tag after hours through the complex, and finding money in the theaters!
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
Matt: Getting the opportunity to ride in a SnoCat and hitting untouched lines for the first time.
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
Matt: 2 years. I am still a relative new guy but I am putting in work and will be hitting the hill hard next year. Hopefully even some South America terrain this summer.
Nick (co-owner of Bustin) and Matt on Okemo in VT
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
Matt: Only 12 last year. That’s a pretty sad number huh? Ask me how many days I get to skate…about the same since I am printing our custom boards and trying to move our company into position to change our industry.
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, what opened up more opportunities for you?
Matt: Ryan, Bustin’s founder, and I grew up together so when this idea became more than just an idea, I was hooked. I worked off and on with him over the years and we always talked of the day when I could leave the AF and join Bustin. Many expensive phone calls from Afghanistan later, and I am part of a successful and innovative skate company.
Shay: What is your role as a Facilitator for Bustin Boards?
Matt: I am basically the facilitator. I handle every aspect of the customer interaction. I help with recommendations, I setup orders, I print to the customer’s specs, and then I ship them the board they were dreaming of.
Shay: What’s the story behind Bustin Boards?
Matt: Bustin started in 2001 after one of ryan’s cousins stole a longboard. Everyone loved the way it rode and wanted one for themselves but no one had the cash to do so. Boredom and necessity mixed and they began building their own boards. Ryan kept the idea alive by pressing boards in his college dorm room, then in a 7 floor walk-up in NYC and finally to our 5000 sq foot live/work loft in Hoboken NJ where we pump out almost 200 boards a month without a wholesale program.
Matt on the Bustin Strike board in NYC
Shay: How are you looking to expand Bustin Boards?
Matt: Bustin “Boards” is so broad that we hope to expand into both snow and water sports. As I alluded to earlier, we are working on snowboard and ski technology now with the hopes of having prototyping completed in the ’09 season. After that, we are looking into surf/ skim boards as well as a line of regular trick deck boards. I think that the sky’s the limit for how far we can go with our niche products and intuitive customization process.
Shay: How does Bustin cater the longboards to the customer?
Matt: We just released version 5 of our site and now the customer has more options that ever to choose their perfect ride. First the customer chooses a deck, then they pick a graphic (more than 15 choices on some decks), then their color scheme, wheels, trucks, bearings, and accessories. Literally there are millions of combinations to choose from and the chances of getting the same deck as another person around the globe is more than 1 in 10,000,000 (yup 10 million!) Besides our innovative site, we pride ourselves in customer service. I know that everyone says they do this, but read our reviews and you will see. Sometimes it takes me 30 email and phone interactions to get the right setup for someone. Annoying? It can be, but then again, I want to have that kind of piece of mind when I make a purchase. Informed decisions are made by asking questions and doing research, why not get it right from the source?
Shay: Are your longboards similar to the feel of snowboarding?
Matt: Ours are. We have contours like no other boards on the market. These lines have become our signature in the industry. Everyone else’s boards are flat and boring. Ours ride low and your feet feel like you are almost locked in, just like in the bindings of a snowboard. Our Strike, our most popular model, is the closest to snowboarding I think that you can get besides a FreeBord.
Bustin Strike Board
Shay: Do you see social media as an important future in marketing?
Matt: Social media is a huge factor in marketing today. the old days of print ads equating to success are over. There are so many outlets now for business to get their brands into the eyes of consumers that you would have to be blind to not see the potential in this medium. It started with MySpace, then facebook and now Twitter keeps people up to the second updated on whatever brand or company that they choose to follow. Its an amazing thing to watch evolve and I love being challenged to stay in tune with each new advancement that comes along.
Shay: Do you do any side projects for other companies?
Matt: My side project right now is starting a new brand management firm with some other young entrepreneurs in my loft. There are actually 4 businesses that run out of our loft so we decided to take each other’s strengths and combine them to form Captain Planet, bad joke huh? The company is called 721 Creative and we help to optimize business strategies for our clients. I also help out with my friend’s apparel line called OKOTO. Amazingly talented bunch that really doesn’t ever need my help but we conduct monthly “business meetings” over adult beverages and talk collaboration. We call ourselves “Brilliantaires” and don’t think about biting the name, we own the .com already!
Shay: Prior to Bustin Boards, what other jobs/companies have you worked at?
– I worked for Nike for about a year as a Sales Manager
– I sold knives door to door and made negative $5 in my 3 month employment as well as gained 2 scars
– I worked as an electricians assistant
– and finally at a printing press before the military beckoned
Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan
Shay: Did your time in the military help prepare you for the workforce?
Matt: I joined on Sept 11th 2001 so my military indoctrination was swift. You have to grow up a lot faster because people’s lives are at stake when your training is over and its time to really get down to “work”. I flew in a specialized cargo plane that was operated by a crew of 7-18. The team aspect of my job really showed me that a well oiled machine is unstoppable and I am trying to implement that here. I think the high stress levels also gave me a little more poise under pressure here in my business. Dealing with a mom whose kid is unhappy with the purchase is nothing like being 20,000ft over a warzone.
Shay: What’s your average day like at work?
Matt: The most memorable experience for me was our Open House for Adaptive Action Sports. AAS helps permanently disabled people get into “action sports” like snowboarding and skating. I hold this cause close to my heart because I have seen soldiers permanently injured in their tours of duty and I felt like this organization is an untapped resource for them to feel normal again. It was a whole weekend revolving around the education and support for AAS with a skate around Central Park and a 300 person charity event in the Bustin loft that night. When Daniel Gale, co- founder of AAS, spoke about Adaptive and how thankful they were to have been a part of this night, we shared a good man cry and that is the moment that is most memorable for me.
Keith Cavelle starred in MurderBall and came to our Open House for
Adaptive Action sports
Shay: How is working at Bustin Boards (any cool work events, work environment, job perks)? ?
-Skateboards are good bartering tools (one custom Ferrari board landed me 17 kegs for out Halloween Charity event to raise money for the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation).
-No set work schedule. Sometimes I wake up at 10am and other days I work until 2am
-Got me into the X Games last year with field passes
-I can work in whatever I slept in, usually rainbow sandals and shorts
-Locally sponsored by Monster energy drinks. We have a fridge fully stocked and customers go nuts for this stuff!
-I get to hang out with my friends everyday. I love the fact that my riders are my family.
Shay: What education/experience did you have before getting the job?
Matt: I have been to 6 military schools and 9 different universities. I have over 190 credits and not a degree to show for it. I like to think that I am cultured and well rounded. I am going to be attending Stevens University of Technology in the fall with the hopes of finally graduating with a Business and Marketing Degree. Wish me luck. this is my tenth school, that’s gotta count for something.
Shay: What’s the best perk you’ve gotten from your job?
Matt: The All Access passes. I have been lucky enough to walk through the pits at X-Games as well as be on the track for an event. Back stage at concerts with all you can drink? Thanks Monster!
Matt on the Rally/ Moto track at X Games
Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?
Matt: I work and live in the same place. Yeah 5000 sq ft with a basketball court is cool and all but the walls still close in. Sometimes when I am really slammed, I wake up, work 14 hours, sleep and do it all again. There have been stretches where I didn’t go outside or shower for 3 days…how gross is that?
Shay: Since you started in the industry, what’s been the biggest change?
Matt: Our growth has been almost too fast. By no means am I complaining, but there are only 3 of us that really put our heart and souls into Bustin so we take a lot on our shoulders. Its exciting, but nerve racking at the same time. I love being an entrepreneur!
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
Matt: Christmas has been the busiest in the past but we just matched last December’s total earnings this past month! So I guess right now is the busiest we have ever been.
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Matt: On the fence here. I don’t have one business class under my belt but I feel like I am really starting to understand how to run a successful enterprise. Every day that I spend on the job, reading about business and just engrossing myself in this way of life, I get smarter and I gain an edge on someone just sitting in a classroom who isn’t living it. I want to get the formal education, but I know that I am already a step ahead and will remain that way because those principles that I learn in the classroom get executed later that night. If they don’t work, you better believe that professor is going to catch an ear full.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work with longboards?
Matt: Build one. Actually draw out your concept and make it come to life. If it doesn’t work the first time, don’t feel discouraged, it happened to us. Keep at it. There is a place for you in the industry if you are passionate about it. the sport is exploding right now and who knows where it will be in 5 years. What I do know is that this isn’t a passing trend or fad, this is a green movement and a lifestyle that all other boarders can relate to. Surfers carry their boards to the beach on longboards. Snowboarders use them to keep their edge in the off season. College kids use them to push to class faster and we use them to play in the streets with NYC cabbies.
Shay: Final Thoughts?
Matt: I know this is usually a snowboarder thing, but I just wanted to say thanks for the opportunity to be involved here. I have spent the last 2 hours answering these questions and I have to say it was a great time. Hopefully next time I get to be interviewed, it will be for our Bustin snowboards. Then I will finally fit in. Cheers.
*Pictures courtesy of Matt Colvin and Bustin Boards.
Check out Bustin Boards for more information!
Bustin Longboards at www.bustinboards.com
Bustin Boards Blog www.bustinboardslongboards.com/blog/
Bustin Boards Store www.bustinboards.com/v/market.asp