MARK VANDERBOEGH INTERVIEW

This is an exclusive interview with Mark Vanderboegh of Integrated Distribution, Night, Sixwonsix and The Cause.

Havenskate.com
: Hey Mark... First of all, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You've been really busy with Night, SWS, and Integrated Distribution. Is there anything else in that mix and can you explain a bit about each venture?
Mark Vanderboegh
: Yeah, things are pretty crazy right now. I'm also working on a new company with Drew Bachrach and Jeff Stockwell called The Cause. It's starting off as a kind of sub-brand of SWS, as Jeff's a big part of it, but it will be dropping a full line of it's own late this year.
It's kinda weird the way each of these companies have come about. Things just seem to all come together just right. With Sixwonsix I had to do something for a living after college, and it was something I was already doing, so I just ran with it.
I knew Al Dolega had all these great ideas and was making parts for years. We had talked a bunch about his stuff, and then finally one day Al and Ryan Czajkowski hit me with the idea, and it just made sense. I took their ideas and plans and made them happen. It not only fit great into Integrated, but it was something that was needed for rolling.
Integrated came about when Drew started up Life+ and started talking to me about sales, at the same time I got some interest from a few other companies including 9MM. I figure the need is there for a distribution company, so I start Integrated. I take great pride in Integrated because of my focus on keeping 100% rollerbladers. From all the companies involved to the person answering the phone to the guy packing up boxes, we are all rollerbladers. No hidden corporate backers, like a lot of "skater owned" companies out there, and no random people answering phones or shipping orders. That means a lot to me, and I hope to everyone else. I think shows how much rollerblading has grown, when you can do something like that.

Havenskate.com
: From what I understand, the name of Sixwonsix itself evolved from the 616 Michigan area code back in 1995 when you got started... Did you ever expect it to be anything more than a local skater owned company?
Mark V
: No, never. It was just something for fun, and for my friends. It just slowly evolved, and kept getting bigger and bigger, and that is when I finally realized it could be something.

Advertisement
Havenskate.com
: There's a lot of kids that try to start their own small local skating groups and small companies, but things end up falling short. Why do you think this is and why do you think SWS has grown to be so much more?
Mark V
: I think the biggest problem is knowledge. Most people don't know the first thing about starting or running a company. When you start your own company, you are the sales rep, the production manager, the advertising agent, the marketing director, the accountant, and the janitor. Most people don't know how to do 2 of those jobs, let alone all of them. I learned a lot of that in college, so when I started SWS full time, I knew a lot of it, and that got my by a lot of the bumps in the road that would have taken out most people. I also think some of it has to do with your God given ability. Some people are just born to do something and others aren't. I think I was born to do this.

Havenskate.com
: Who's riding for Night and SWS now? What are these skaters doing this year to help promote the companies product lines? You've said before that "[the] team is the heart and soul of the company. Without these guys, there is no SWS." Can you explain what you mean by that and what you do to keep your riders on SWS?
Mark V
: Currently Night is Don Bambrick, Jeff Stockwell, Brian Murphy, and Dre Powell. SWS is Don, Jeff and Brian along with Chris Fleener, Mike French, Mike Radebaugh and Derek McClain. It's funny you bring up that quote, because this is the first change in the SWS team in a few years. Grant Schapp, BJ Bernhardt and Josh Amacher have all moved on, for one reason or another, but all are still very good friends, and are now part of our extended family. Luckily, we've had Don on flow, and was ready to be moved up at the right time. I can't really explaine that quote. I just think that these guys represent SWS and the company is a direct reflection of that. It's a very tight nit group that all have fun rolling, and not caught up in all they hype. They're not trying to be rock stars, none of them have egos, all of them are great guys. Call it underground, call it grassroots, call whatever you want, but these guys are the core of rolling and hopefully that is what SWS is too.

Havenskate.com
: The rolling industry as a whole has been in a slump. I firmly believe the industry needs to come together to promote rollerblading as a whole. Like the Got Milk? advertising, etc. Do you think rollerblading needs to come out of the underground or are you satisfied with where it's at right now?
Mark V
: After that little speech I just gave I guess I would have to say no we don't need to come out. But, in all reality I think if done carefully, we could grow a lot more without giving up our soul. I think that we need to keep growing, but not by leaps and bounds, just a nice steady pace. How do we do that? I wish I knew, but I think a lot of people have some good ideas that are starting to take shape, and I think we'll see a lot of good happening this year.



click on each section to view that part of the SWS catalog
Havenskate.com
: I remember back when you first released the SWS shock absorber. I thought that was going to be the beginning of a revolutionary time in rollerblading where accessories and replaceable parts would move skating forward. It triggered all kinds of ideas in my head - like making replaceable liners for skates and working to standardize things throughout the industry. Over time, this ended up happening, but it seemed like SWS was growing into more of a clothing company than a rollerblading accessories company and didn't really touch on these things. Has SWS evolved to be a lot more than you expected since it's conception or has it been less than what you wanted? Where do you want SWS to go from here?
Mark V
: You are right. When we first started, I wanted to do more accessories. Over time I realized that a lot of things I wanted to do couldn't be done for various reasons. For awhile I got a little tired of working really hard on something, only to have our factory close up, or not have enough money to make something. So, I just stopped for awhile. I focused more on the clothing and finding new ideas to do with that. That is why I think I jumped at the chance of doing Night. This gave me the opportunity to dive back into make things that nobody else made, or making great improvements on existing parts. SWS couldn't make wheels or frames without becoming Senate, which I definitely did not want to do. I wanted to keep it very focused. Night is letting me do a lot more now. I hope you will see SWS get back to it's accessory roots soon. I have a few new ideas, and a couple old ones we are really going to try and make happen.

Havenskate.com
: What did you want to do with the new line of SWS products and what are you offering this time around?
Mark V
: With introducing The Cause we wanted that to stand out, so we kept thing fairly similar to what they have been. I think clean, simple and colors is what we are about, and that is what you get in the new line. We've expanded the range of hats and beanies, added some new wristbands, and brought back the skate shorts. These can be skated in and will hold up to the abuse. We did some stuff last year that was pretty cool, but wasn't made for skating. I wanted to get back to something that was more function-able than fashion-able. But to keep in fashion we always try to do something complex with a lot to it, to make it unique, and we have that as well.

Havenskate.com
: It's been a while since the last SWS video dropped. Why the long wait and when can we expect to see a new video?
Mark V
: Well, we put a lot of thought and effort into In Code, and I didn't want to just make another video for the sake of making another video. I wanted it to be very different. We had an idea last year, but when things changed with the team, we had to go back to the drawing board. We have a basic idea, just need to get it all together, but filming has begun, and it should be out before Christmas.

Havenskate.com
: You're one of those guys that seems like they like to have their hands in a bit of everything. How do you balance between all your companies and projects and still stay passionate about skating?
Mark V
: It's tough. You put in a lot of hours, and just keep looking ahead. I've noticed I've been setting goals a lot more, and that helps me stay on track. I also had a ankle injury for like 8 months, so I wasn't skating a lot, and when I did it wasn't all that fun, so most of the time I just didn't skate. That gave me more time to work, which helped, but it also was hard to stay interested in everything at times. I just started skating again hard in the last month or so. We went on a small tour between RFCC in Miami and Superhick in ATL, and that really got me excited about skating again.


the night flyer
Havenskate.com
: What's in store for everyone in the future from Mark Vanderboegh and what have you been most fulfilled by so far in your life and work?
Mark V
: Well, it's hard to say. I'll be getting The Cause out there, and keep rolling with Night, and that may help me get SWS back to it's roots. Add in a lot of skating this summer, some filming, taking photos, and touring, that should round out this year pretty well. After that who knows.
As far as life and work goes. It would just have to be chasing my dream, and making it become reality. I'm living my dream, what more could I ask for.

Havenskate.com
: Thanks again for doing this interview. I'm sure we left something out that we'll save for next time, but for now is there anything else you'd like to add?
Mark V
: Hey, no problem. Thanks for letting me do this, and with out listing a ton of names, I just want to thank all those that have been a part of my life and helped in any way, shape, or form with any of my work. You guys know who you are.