Namaste everyone! With so much time off, we were looking back at how we got here today and wanted to share some thoughts on this with you.
Our journey with Piso Skateboards has indeed been a life changing one. Just a few years ago, it would have been impossible for us to imagine that we would be here today. The journey was full of hurdles and uncertainties, that would often leave us feeling lost and overwhelmed.
But we were sure about one thing - we knew that the best kind of life for us is the skate life. We wanted to chase it and were ready to give it everything we had.
Now, when we look back, we think about how much we have overcome and how it has shaped us. How the way we think has changed so much when you decide to have confidence in yourself, and go against what the world will constantly advise you to do.
Let me briefly share with you a few of our thoughts about how our path has been.
In 2014, we started making our first DIY skateboards - flat decks with no tail and no concave. Since we were first-timers, the quality wasn’t the priority for us, the process was. We were very excited about making boards in India. We researched, and took help from skateboarders from different countries and gathered that we needed well-shaped molds, wood veneers and glue.
By 2015, we started making molds with our bare hands out of cement. We were now looking more into bettering the quality of our boards. Since everything was DIY, perfection wasn’t always a friend. But it was SO DAMN FUN.
By 2016, we were hunting for veneers in India, and almost every supplier we contacted said "Veneer India mai nahi bikta bhai, mehenga padta hai, laminate lelo". (Translation "veneer doesn't sell in India, it’s too costly for the Indian market".
We now had a mold but no veneers. Our only option was to import this. But how do you import exactly? What is the process and paperwork for it? We were engineers, we had no clue how trade works!
After doing some homework, we found a source in Mumbai who would import for us at a very high price. We readily said yes since we were very excited to finally test out our mold.
By the time the veneers arrived, it was almost 2017. We actually had to invest our scholarship money for this! Sorry to the government for the wrong useage of funds. But look at where it has bought us today. We finally did end up making a few boards - not ‘A grade’ quality as one would say, since we had no expertise or experience in making skateboards.
The first time in our lives that we really made something from scratch was in our 20's! Hard to believe but actually true. Our society and upbringing doesn’t really support someone who wants to take the path less taken. Experimentation is looked down upon in a broader sense. One is always encouraged to take on a ‘tried and tested’ or ‘safe’ path like everyone else. It is sad, but this is the truth.
In 2018 we created our brand and decided to import skateboards into India under that name. And that is how Piso Skateboards finally became a reality.
Our dream is still to make skateboards in India. Slowly and steadily we keep experimenting and moving closer to that goal. For now, we shall continue to follow the path that has got us here by outsourcing high quality skateboards from China. But one day we will have for all our skateboarders’ boards that are made in India.
The last few years have given us opportunities to acquire many skills and learn many lessons. The story above was just of the wooden deck which sits on top of the skateboard. For every other part of the skateboard we have a different story to tell.
In India, the common aspirations of parents are to see their kids become one of the following - an Engineer at an IIT, a Doctor, an MBA graduate, IAS officer or get a ‘sarkaari naukri’. We respect these professions, no doubt about that. But if most of our society wants their kids to become only one of the above, without actually properly analyzing the child’s capabilities and passions, it will lead to an over saturated generation of similar skilled, less enthusiastic and less innovative people. Risk taking has to be taught and promoted. Parents need to stop holding the hands of their children right upto their adulthood(and sometimes even beyond!).
During my late teenage years I was made to learn that engineering is what I have to do as well. Not that there was no other choice, but we were never told and exposed to these other choices. So I too went down the path of an engineering student like lakhs of others of my age.
If no creative thinking processes of alternative careers and entrepreneurship are promoted, how does one still expect the new generation to be more dynamic? How will they ‘Make in India’? How will they start their own projects or businesses or aspire to think of manufacturing if risk taking was never encouraged?
Our message is simple - if every Indian intends to buy products made in India, then every parent should inspire and motivate their child to do what they love and encourage an environment to make things in India.
Parents play a very important role to make this happen. The current generation is expected to deliver on the ‘Make in India’ movement without the appropriate base for it. Maybe the coming generation could be the one spearheading the actual ‘Make in India’ movement as a shift in mentality takes place. Thankfully, a step in this has already been taken by the Government.
We are delighted to see the new education policy being implemented in India. It focuses on a lot of practical learning. It also gives you freedom to choose subjects panning multiple disciplines, which was not really possible earlier. It may not be 'The perfect policy', but it feels great to see the wheels of change moving in the right direction.
For our young readers we have some advice to give.
Today, you can find access to knowledge and information on almost anything on the internet. It is vast and can teach you what you want to know from many different perspectives. However, what you will not find on the internet is experience. Make the use of every resource available to learn and invest your time into experiencing things. Spend more time creating and making things. Keep experimenting and trying out new ideas. It all pays off some day in one way or another. Some may lead you to decide what you want to do in life, and some may lead to shaping how you live life.