Tell us about your business.Grow Anthology started with a dream. Literally. I awoke one morning in March, 2011 and had images of skateboarding in my mind: skateboards made from Richlite, a press-board material that is layers of recycled paper. I called my good friend and craftsman, Ben, and together we turned our ideas into something tangible. Over the next six months we tested countless prototypes, built a website, and let our imaginations run wild with design ideas and business possibilities. We also put our sustainability know-how to use and obtained Forest Stewardship Council certification by the Rainforest Alliance for our business and material. Today we continue to explore innovative materials, such as recycled plastic milk jugs and sustainably harvested bamboo. Ben still works in his garage and me in my basement, finishing boards and shipping them to customers. Grow Anthology's small fan-base continues to expand, as word spreads about our quality and aesthetic.
What makes your business stand out?The most unique thing about Grow Anthology is our material. Each skateboard is between 75 and 100 sheets of paper. Each sheet is coated in resin, layered and pressed together, and the friction causes the paper to bond. The technology is over 70 years old and has been used in many applications, but never skateboards. Through the prototyping process, we determined the right thickness for our various shapes that provide optimum strength and flexibility. Sustainability is at our core, which is why we chose Forest Stewardship Council certification for our recycled paper. We also ensure a tree is planted for every board we sell by partnering with organizations that strategically plant to help strengthen local communities around the world.
What's the best business advice you've received?Fake it 'til you make it. From the very beginning we've done our best to present a polished look and experience for our online customers. While we are still two guys working from our houses, we want our audience to feel like they are part of something big, something with world-change potential. And until we are building and selling at a volume that can make some serious impacts, we will continue to put our best effort into the small changes we know we are making.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.See the finalists
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.Buy tickets now