An Entrepreneurial Dream Story
Over the years, I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to tell the story about how Rollerblades got started. It's been 25 years since Rollerblades became a reality and I still love to blade and do it often. I love getting people turned on to the sport of blading. It's so good for you and much easier than you think to learn how to blade.
The goal of writing the Rollerblades story is to promote the entrepreneurial movement along with my current and upcoming products Skybike, Rowbike, KongPong and Lunarbed. I never get tired of getting people of all ages fired up about the entrepreneurial, inventing movement—after all, it's what drives our economy.
|Blading through town.|
I am an entrepreneur, inventor, and lifelong sports enthusiast best known for founding what is now Rollerblade, Inc., the company that established the modern inline skating industry and introduced the product that Time magazine later named one of the top 100 products of the 20th century. I was just 19 when I saw my younger brother Brennan (14 yrs old) on SuperStreetSkates (Inlines Skates). At the time, I was a Junior A hockey player with an avid interest in all forms of fitness. During my travels, I ran across SSS inline skates advertised in a national hockey publication. This was the first time seeing the wheels moving. I fondly remember the freedom I felt the first time I put on the SSS. I knew immediately that there was a market for this new fitness product. I soon purchased the patent and started tweaking the design while selling one by one direct to hockey players. I refined every element until the skates were so comfortable, I could sleep in them and they were almost as efficient as the bike I used to commute on. I knew the wheels that were laced on my feet were the way I would travel.
|The first logo, shown on top of the "blade" car.|
|Little did I know by attending one of my first Trade Shows, the SIA ski show, would I have a bunny chasing me around the MGM hotel. The Playboy Bunny soon got blading and got the Rollerblades in the magazine.|
I experienced many challenges and successes as I built the Rollerblade brand. I initially operated the business out of my parents’ basement, but grew my customer base and business through creative marketing. I was jeered at, had doors slammed in my face, and had rocks tossed at me as I skated around the country wearing my inline skates. With the help of trusted counterparts, I managed to navigate the legal and business hurdles to stay in what would become an explosive industry.
In my upcoming book, Rollerblade: How the Wheels Got Rolling, I’ll talk about the highs and lows of my career, offering advice and inspiring readers to dream big. It’s an exciting story with lots of funny, educational and poignant anecdotes. I’ve made some mistakes: I faced near bankruptcy, underwent years of lawsuits against the company I founded, and lost relationships with friends and family. But I learned from my mistakes to find success in my career. I’ve also had many fascinating experiences: I’ve gotten arrested while playing late night Roller-hockey, wore my blades to church, and hopped freight trains just to keep my dream alive.
Above all, the book is about how one entrepreneur skated across the country and over many roadblocks, succeeding through persistence, enthusiasm and a willingness to ask for help along the way.