Who is Massivemassivemassive?
My name is Nejc Vašl and I’m the founder and I do everything else with it. I design the shapes of boards that are meant for recycling and I work on them. I design the graphics that go on the recycled boards and the graphics that go on new skateboards. Occasionally I get help from my girl Hana Stupica, whom I’ve taught to handle some of the tools in the workshop. So it’s basically me, and Hana as my chaperone.
What is the Massivemassivemassive story?
Well, we recycle old skateboards and redesign them into cruiser boards. These are mainly used for cruising around. But we also make new, non-recycled skateboards. These are regular popsicle and old school shaped skateboards for jerking around. The idea is that after you are done with your skateboard, you can give it to us and we give you store credit for it. The old skateboard is recycled, and you get a new board for a discount. This way only a small part of what we produce ends up as waste. The idea for all of this came from the fact that I’ve been skateboarding since I was 16 and having some time on my hands. I work mainly as a production designer, but I sometimes have time between projects. Also, skating fairly regularly makes you change your board every couple of weeks, which over time gives you a lot of unused boards that are still perfectly usable to drive around on. Plus I saw a lot of guys doing this, reusing old boards. So it seemed reasonable to use this as a business template – recycle an abundant by-product of a fairly common activity and make something nice out of it.
How are the products made?
The process of recycling starts with a used up skateboard, not cracked or broken, it can only be weathered. First it’s sanded down, so all the structural imperfections are visible. Then a new shape is placed and drawn inside the structurally intact part. This is then cut out, sanded, perhaps adjusted so it’s symmetrical, and after it’s finished, it’s coated with two layers of varnish. When it’s dry, the new graphic is applied. And that’s it. You just add some cruiser trucks and wheels to the f**** and it’s good to bomb! The new, non-recycled skateboards are made overseas, but printed here in Slovenia, by a friend at We print boards. The graphics that go onto recycled boards are at the moment the same as the one that goes on the new ones, but I’m planning on changing that.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge … I guess it is the recycling itself. It took some time to figure it out, how to go about it, which tools to use, how to not waste time in the process and not make too big of a mess. It took a lot of boards, before the first graphic could be applied onto one and you could say that it looks good and like a finished product. Designing and launching and selling is much simpler, mainly because it’s a lot cleaner. It is done mostly on a computer. You have the undo button. There is no dust in the air and you don’t need a mask to breathe while you work. I used to apply graphics with screen-printing, but I stopped using that technique, because it was another hands-on process which could mess the whole product up. Now the boards are printed with heat-transfer technique, because the possibility of an error is a lot smaller. Branding and selling is actually quite nice, I enjoy doing it and learning along the way. It’s also nice to interact with people and see how they respond to your own product development.
What would you consider as a breakthrough point for you?
Things really turned for the better when I changed the graphic application technique from screen-printing to heat-transfer. No, really, it opens so many new possibilities, product-wise. Regarding the business side of it, probably the mindset, that it doesn’t need to be perfect from the start, or perfectly presented for that matter. It is what it is, at a given point in time. No need to fake it (until you make it). Just to focus on quality of the product and learn along the way, document it and share about your developing process as it unfolds.
Do you have any goals for the future?
Our goals. Hm. To make the recycled products look as good as the brand new ones. At the moment, you can still see that the handmade boards are not perfectly symmetrical, the shapes could be better, the graphics themselves also. Actually all the stuff could be done way way better. I just need to go through several iterations and make every new product as good as it can be. I guess I hope that I will be able to work on it for so long to see what this “as good as it can be” is. We are also thinking of making a movie, but this is in its earliest stages, there is not even a script yet. At the moment we sell only online, through our webshop. The goal is also to sell through other online stores too, since this is the way to make ends meet.