In the meantime he has been able to land some large orders and has produced his own ‘Look Book’ to promote his clothing. In this interview he talks about the beginnings, future collaboration and why failure as an athlete can have its advantages.
Daniel Merighi is the founder of “Deaf Chips Skateboards”, a young South Tyrol business which produces skateboards with striking designs, as well as casual streetwear.)
Who is hiding behind “Deaf Chips”? And what are your tasks?
Deaf Chips is a one-man-business, founded by me, Daniel Merighi. To start with I had to take care of the planning, production, marketing, communication – absolutely everything – on my own. In the meantime I’ve been trying to outsource some of the tasks to friends and acquaintances. New ideas come about through collaboration, which we then try to develop together.
Why did you start to develop your own skateboards?
First of all because I didn’t manage to become a professional skater ☺. Secondly because I wanted to make my passion my work and add my contribution to the growing skateboard scene in South Tyrol and Europe, and thirdly to show that skateboarding is also a development phenomenon which is enjoying more and more attention and inspiring more and more people.
Do you produce the skateboards yourself, or do you collaborate with woodworking companies?
To start with I produced the boards myself, but as demand increased I had to outsource the production if I was going to guarantee optimal quality with higher quantities. This is why we also collaborate externally.
What do you have to watch out for when producing skateboards?
You have to take the production to the highest level, and the gluing together of the seven layers which make up each skateboard must be done very precisely if you are to achieve maximum quality. Although we are only a small firm, I’m constantly checking to ensure we are avoiding errors in production, so that we can guarantee the safe use of our boards.
To get the skateboards ready for market you need tests and certification. Who did you contact for this?
To start with I turned to the former TIS (now IDM South Tyrol). It all came down above all to clarity of the classification of the product with regard to regulatory standards. In addition they helped me with contacts so that I could get my products tested. After the tests I handed part of the production process over to an external firm who were able to guarantee us the appropriate quality certification.
Finally, do you have any tips, tricks or advice for young entrepreneurs like you?
Basically it comes down to the same thing every time. Believe in yourself and your idea, make your company a part of you, and then the work will be simple – even at times when things might not be going so well.
“Believe in yourself and your idea, make your company a part of you.”