It's always nice to see small independent businesses pop up in your home town, For Cardiff atleast, CSC (Cardiff Skateboard Club) opened their doors on a positive note by sending out T-shirts to other skate stores around the UK with the hope of building a stronger skater owned store community and highlighting the importance of buying from independent businesses, inside and out of skateboarding. The packages caused quite a stir on social media with stores posting their own shop shirts back as a trade. We wanted to catch up with CSC to see how things have been going since they opened their doors...
Hi Mike, so I noticed you guys have been sending out your new store T shirts to independents all over the UK...What have you guys been up to?
CSC is brand new and we wanted to try and start things off in a positive way, having emerged out of a less than positive situation. We sent out ‘Support/Fuck’ stickers to our favourite shops some months ago when City Surf was still alive, and it just seemed like a good idea to do the same thing with tees. We know we can’t change the world, but we can change things in Cardiff and that will do for us.
Ok so you’re skate shop first and foremost right? Have you taken City Surf’s spot since their closure?
CSC was started by Jim and Trix when City Surf went under. We had the blessing of the City Surf owners Ev and Guto and they have helped us a lot in getting us up and running. To be honest the whole situation with City Surf made us think a lot about the role of independent skate shops, the people behind them, and the way they contribute to the skate scene. There is a value to having an independent shop that goes way beyond just having somewhere to hang out. It’s a place where all kinds of ideas can take shape and people can come together. We've had a lot of support from everyone and as we have low overheads, it looks like its going to be workable. We are in a rad community of small independent businesses called 'Castle Emporium' on Womanby Street in Cardiff.
It seems like you’re trying to gather the troops and build a new solid SOS community… How has the response been so far since you started sending out packages?
We have been totally stoked and pretty much every shop has beaten our expectations. We sent out a letter with the tees that laid out our approach and stated that we wanted to inject some positivity back into the SOS community. We hoped that it would open up some conversations and thinking about how SOS around the UK can raise their profile and maybe collaborate in the future. Obviously not everyone is 100% on board because some shops have industry links that mean they have to be a bit cagey about supporting the whole ‘Fuck Chain Store Skate Shops’ thing. To be honest though, we were just having fun with that…
So whats the deal? Are other stores shirts available on sale in your store and vice versa?
We sell the shirts in the shop only, not online at all. We link to the other shop’s stores from our site for anyone who might want to buy that design online. To be honest though its not just about selling them, it's about building a collection of t-shirts as a sort of symbol of the variety and styles of scenes across the country. The cool and somewhat surprising thing is that local skaters have started to recognise what a sick thing that is and the tees from other shops are now starting to sell! It’s so rad to sell a 50-50 or Parlour shirt in Cardiff because it feels like a new way or working together.
Skateboarders and generally pretty open minded, have you been selling through shop T’s to customers who may not have even heard of that store before?
Yeah totally. We have had loads of people flick through the tees and go ‘No way that’s so sick!’ when they come across a particular tee that appeals to them. It definitely sparks interest in the local scenes around the UK. It’s been a very positive move in that respect. I think the main realisation we have had is that maybe selling basic logo tees for other shops is hard, but if you go the extra mile to make your product rad, it can sell pretty much anywhere!
Whats the next step for CSC? Is it going to remain just a store or are you guys looking to build something bigger?
Seriously, just make ends meet here in Cardiff and keep paying one person a fair wage and keep the lights on at CSC. We are slowly constructing a few sneaky skateable bits outside the shop and we want to do more to bring the scene together and to stoke out skaters in Cardiff. Maybe we will work more with the council on providing places to skate like we did with the Plaza a few years ago. We will definitely continue our close relationship with Spit and Sawdust, and we just hope to bring together the DIY ethic and a genuine love for the skate community to produce something unique and fun in Cardiff. Ultimately it would be sick if we could really get a community together around the independent shops thing and support each other…We have a few ideas but they are still not fully cooked.
Keep update to date with everything CSC HERE