“My dad is a carpenter, so I grew up remodeling houses,” said Steve Weigel, the founder of IVY Longboards. “Back then I didn’t think working with wood would become my future, but I never could have expected IVY Longboards.”As an avid drummer, skins came before wood for Steve. He used to tour with Hyland, his Christian rock band, which at its peak played 200 shows around the country a year. “Going on tour takes a lot more than musical talent,” Steve said. “You’ve also got to manage the tour, promote your performances, and babysit your bandmates. Granted, Christian rock isn’t really fraught with the same kinds of distractions that plague musicians in other genres, like, say, death metal. Still, you’ve got to make sure everyone stays on track.”
“I took two important things away from my rock days. First, I realized I had an entrepreneurial spirit. Second, I knew I had to do something significant — something that would change the world, in some way, no matter how small. I just wasn’t certain of what that would be.”
In his downtime after the touring had calmed down, Steve made a skateboard for a friend. It was a simple, sleek board, one which he had enjoyed making very much, but not something he had considered world-changing. He put a photo of his creation on Instagram, gave it away, and then went about business as usual.
“I couldn’t believe the response I got for that single post,” Steve recounted. “Everyone loved that skateboard, and everyone wanted one just like it. I didn’t post that photo because I wanted to go into business making longboards…but after seeing the reaction to it, I knew wanted to make longboards more than anything else.”
The purpose-driven entrepreneur sprang into action. Steve used his carpentry chops to build a workshop in Northeast Minneapolis, transforming the empty shell of an industrial building into IVY Longboards’ new world headquarters. There Steve builds every IVY board from scratch, hand-shaping each from bolted birch plywood that he buys down the street. Every board is custom-made to order.
“I love the idea of making each and every board with the name of its future owner in mind,” said Steve. “Knowing that affects my work in a special, indescribable way.”
“I have five signature board shapes, and can make any other shape my customers might ask for. I believe in customization — every IVY longboard should be distinctly its owners. Whether a customer wants a board with my graphics, any piece of art printed on it, or even if they would like to paint their board at their home or in my workshop, I do what it takes to make things personal.”
“I work in a clean, minimalist aesthetic,” Steve continued. “I create IVY longboards as functional works of art. To do that, I ignore what my competition is up to and just focus on what I think makes the perfect longboard.”
“I’ve always wanted to change the world. I used to be afraid to say so. But now that I am, even if it’s in a small way, saying so doesn’t seem so crazy anymore.”
To learn more about Steve’s mission and to order your own personalized IVY longboard, visit IVYlifestyle.net.
By David Scheller