Daniel Fabiano, Scribe Industries owner
Interview by Gill Ilanit
Can you give us a quick flash of the early days of Scribe, its rebirth and your connection to Scribe?
Scribe was one of the original pioneers in the rollerblading timeline and culture. Steve Thomas and Shannon Grendahl introduced the company early in 1992. They based the company off making accessories and parts that would attach to any current day rollerblade to grant the ability to “grind” on obstacles or new park and street features. The brand was a Midwest based company from Minnesota where rollerblading actually originated. Hopkins, Minnesota to be exact. Many believe California was the birthplace of rollerblading and this is untrue. The brand was known over its popular years for particularly their grindplates and clothing. In 1995, Scribe Industries released a movie called “Harvesting the Crust” which is still considered to this day one of the most influential rollerblading videos in our past and industry. The company went under in late 1998 after some dishonest investors sabotaged Steve and Shannon and left them out to dry. Before the downfall of the business, the company had reached over a million dollars before the investor switch in 97-98. It was the most popular rollerblading company and had the most influential team for its time.
The rebirth of Scribe was not totally intentional but was based off an idea I had proposed to other past company legends. I was just lucky enough to have Shannon Grendahl overhear a conversation of mine at a local skatepark in late 2007. I had mentioned I was always interested in manufacturing wheels and accessories and I was mostly fascinated in bringing a past rollerblading company back from the grave. Without even second-thinking it, Shannon offered to let me bring Scribe back into the face of rollerblading. Even though Shannon may not rollerblade to his full extent anymore, he still keeps up with the industry and it has been his dream to see his old creation/dream come back to life. He never thought it would actually ever happen again, but he didn’t think their would be anyone better suited to take on the challenge. Even though I recently moved to the East Coast, I reignited the business in it’s homeland of Minnesota, and I actually plan on moving back and opening up the Scribe Factory Park & Office within a few years. It’s an honor to have my name attached to the Scribe Industries image and background and I plan on pushing Scribe further into rollerblading’s bright future.
You’ve been in the game for a long time now; you’ve gone from skater to business owner, what has been the most dramatic change over the years? Where do you think things are headed?
I am now pushing my 12th year as a company owner and my 13th year as an avid rollerblader. I’ve always enjoyed rollerblading but I really enjoy helping my friends and rollerblading acquaintances push their image and careers. In the past, I felt more like an agent then a business owner but I’ve learned over the last recent years what I really need to crack the whip on in order to make this a business and not a non-profit organization. I started my first company when I was 13 and I have never thrown in the towel, because it has been the best learning experience. No school could have taught me all the valuable lessons, mistakes, and personal successes I have taught myself over these 12 years. It is very hard to say what has been the most dramatic changes over the years, but the most apparent would be issues with the team(s) and potential sponsorees. This includes Con.Artist.
I think the most overwhelming thing for myself has been the amount of rollerbladers looking for sponsorships. When they finally get the opportunity to ride for the business they either take advantage of the situation at hand, or don’t follow through on anything they projected to myself or Shane. Perfect Example would be: Joe Blow gets on Scribe after phone calls, personal edits, meeting the person at an event, following this persons career throughout the year, etc. This person tells me they will not let me down, and they are willing to ride, support and represent as much as possible, as well as follow all the small requirements listed as a Pro, Am or Support rider for the company. The person has represented the brand by wearing and using the free product given, but hasn’t communicated at all, doesn’t seem interested in competing or exposing himself/herself, does not reciprocate on product feedback and lacks motivation to do anything for the company, but would rather wait until Scribe/ConArtist did everything for you. I am sorry if you are expecting to ride for Scribe/ConArtist and get packages, fly you places, film you whenever you are available but yet you will not contribute or abide by the requirements of all the other team members, then we do not have room for you, and frankly you’re a huge waste of our valuable time.
Why Scribe Urethane? Without disclosing any trade secrets, what makes Scribe Urethane stand above the other wheels in the industry?
When I decided to re-establish the business with my partner Shane Birtzer we realized immediately we needed to first run into the footsteps of the company past. At the same time, soft good sales throughout our entire industry are few and far between. The industry was saturated with so many clothing businesses that skate shops in the end started denying almost any new brand that was emerging, so the longevity of new brands was very short and this really never appeals to skate shop owners because they want loyal companies being able to supply constant available products. The only real option was to supply any product that was not a soft good product. I always had an interest in pouring urethane, so we decided to look into pushing Scribes new image first with urethane and we would base the future product line forecasts on the first sales. In the beginning we definitely ran into some snags, but our wheels were very comparable to 80% of the other wheels that were available on the market at that time. Over the course of the last 3 years, we have sold out of every style and pour we have manufactured, and currently just released a completely new wheel that has been in prototyping stages for over 18 months. The new cores inside the urethane can withstand 6 times the impact of the last cores, and the urethane compound was made even more durable, with more rebound and grip. We also will be introducing an entire line of wheels this Spring that have Dual Durometer technology and a price point around $35 for a pack of 4.
Word on the street is “Harvesting the Crust 2”, any truth to these rumors?
These rumors are true, and we will be starting to film this Spring. We decided to run with the old name to bring back rooted flavor to our fast paced industry. We have a tour planned for 2011 that starts in the Spring and will cross international waters. We have done a lot of preparation for the Harvesting the Crust 2 and you’ll just have to keep in touch to find out the rest!
How did you decide on the current Scribe team, and how did you obtain Brian Aragon?
Choosing the Scribe team was no easy task. It actually took me until this December to finally conclude the entire Pro and Am team. I wanted to start Scribe off small. First to keep money in the business so we could grow quickly, but also to keep our options open while we were still establishing ourselves. Blake O’Brien was the first choice, as he is the only remaining Scribe rider that still skates on a daily basis and competes at a professional level. Casey Bagozzi was my second choice. Casey was a long-time idol of mine. Over the years I was always fascinated by the following that Casey had. His style is completely different then anyone in the entire industry and his tricks and vocabulary cannot be matched at times. Paul John was chosen late this year when we thought we really needed to solidify a third wheel pro. Paul John was just doing the right stuff at the right time you could say. He was exposing himself all over the internet, got added to the Xjados Am team, is known as one of the best editors and directors in our industry, and ONE Magazine released a 6 page interview on PJ that same month. Most fingers were pointing to PJ, and having a very long history with Paul John myself I knew that we could work together well and get a lot accomplished for both his new boosting career and the future of the company.
As for Brian Aragon there has been a lot of controversy already brewing as to why, “Brian is riding for Scribe and no longer MurderOne (M1 Urethane).” Whatever you may have heard, believe this, Brian Aragon is sponsored by both Scribe Industries and M1 Urethane. Myself, Wally from M1 and Brian have worked out agreements that can benefit us all. Brian will continue to represent and roll on M1 and Renegade bearings but will be the face and full endorser of all Scribe Protective Gear products. You will be available to view his first Pro Wristbrace in person at this year’s BCSD in Detroit, MI.
Tell us about the new team edit you are about to drop.
We are doing a lot to keep Scribe in the faces and ears of every rollerblader on this earth. With that in mind, edits, vimeo, youtube are the main avenues in which you find some great content featuring team and product updates. Since we have re-established the business in 2008 we have not introduced a full team. We did not consider Scribe as a full team until this Winter when we added both Paul John and Brian Aragon as our additional professionals. The 2011 team edit is supposed to bring the entire image of the team together for all the people unsure or unaware of the current state of Scribe. The 2011 Scribe Team Edit.1 features all 4 professionals along with all 6 amateurs currently riding for the brand.
BCSD XI, the largest skate event in the US is this weekend, what are your thoughts on the event?
The Bitter Cold Showdown is literally the most anticipated event in the rollerblading livelihood. Everyone that owns rollerblades knows of this event, has been to this event, has laugh, cried, been drunk, or is begging their mother to come to this event. I literally keep BCSD up there next to Christmas; that is how much I enjoy looking forward to that weekend every year. I can easily say I am either the only, or one of two or three other companies that have participated and been present at all 10 past BCSD events, and I am pretty sure I hold the record for the most consecutive main sponsorships for the event as well between Con.Artist and Scribe. You can say I am a full supporter of the BCSD and I will continue to support until the event dissolves or I no longer run these businesses. To anyone that reading this, please stop by the booth and check out the new gear! We also accept credit cards!
What can skaters expect to find at the Scribe BCSD Trade show booth this year?
We have been working on a lot of advancements over the last 18 months with the brand. As everyone knows we primarily have been manufacturing and stocking urethane wheels and bearings. While sales have been increasing between both products we are always looking to improve and branch off into other categories to keep people intrigued and interested in the brand. What we were excited to showcase at the tradeshow is the new line of protective gear that Brian Aragon has endorsed. Unfortunately, our production was delayed on both the wristbraces and the shinguards so we will not be able to offer these products for sale but only for preview. We also will be offering new Abec 7 and 9 bearings along with a line of new softgood products to help support and promote the brand. While your at it, check out the Con.Artist Brand booth which will be attached to the Scribe booth! Remember bring that plastic, credit cards accepted!
I noticed you are competing in this years event, any plans to go big and show your team how it’s done?
Haha, I don’t think I can show anyone on my team how it is done, but I would like to try my best. I competed in the first 6 Bitter Cold Showdown events but the last 4 were very difficult considering the new tradeshow schedule. Also the adding of additional qualifying rounds to the event makes it very hard for me to clean up my booth and pack up in time for me to make my round each year. However, Dan Kinney was nice enough to put me into the last Amateur round this year just incase I do clean up early and have time to compete. It would definitely be fun, as my park skills have improved ten-fold over the last year. It’s funny that I am in my prime at the age of 25.
What can the industry expect from Scribe and Dan Fabiano in 2011?
Looking into the future for both myself and Scribe, I would say there is a lot in store in 2011 and running into 2012. I can easily voice, you will see the rise in Scribe as one of the staple businesses in our industry. As well becoming reputable for high quality products and the best customer service in the industry. We will always push to research and create products that you, the customer, need and want to skate on. This company only survives if this industry survives. Scribe would be nothing without this industry, so please keep supporting true skater owned and rooted brands like Scribe Industries!
Check out the 2011 Scribe Team Edit.1
Visit Scribe Industries website to find out more about the company!
Make sure you stop by the Scribe booth at BCSD XI!