Fingerline, a new Latvian company formed in February, is involved in the manufacture of ramps for fingerboards.
Imagine shrinking a skateboard to a size where instead of using one’s feet to ride it, a person uses two fingers to do the usual tricks. Fingerboarding, or the sport where one does these tricks, is an official discipline within the sport of skateboarding. The first Latvian championship in fingerboarding took place in March in Liepāja.
For doing the tricks enthusiasts can either build their own wooden mini-ramps or can purchase them from Fingerline.
Three entrepreneurs, Mareks Sekstello, Valerijs Cīrulis and Ingars Dilāns, took advantage of the downturn in the Latvian economy, locating manufacturers for the wooden ramps, the metal slides and the chroming process, as well as getting a logo design in readiness for displaying their models at the Latvian championships. They were able to get a lot of cooperation and responsiveness from most people they spoke to as the downturn meant that people were very keen to get some work.
In his youth, Sekstello said, he was a skateboarder. With his friends, he used to construct his own skateboarding ramps on which to do his tricks. But recently he again began to take an interest in what was new in the skateboarding world and realized that fingerboarding might present a business opportunity.
As well as being skateboarders, Sekstello and Cīrulis are also musicians who have written compositions together, while Sekstello and Dilāns are co-owners of a security firm. Each brings different skills to Fingerline with Sekstello and Cīrulis managing the company and being involved on the IT side, Sekstello being the designer, and Cīrulis doing the major running and sharing the duties in the organization of sales, manufacturing and supply.
They got their models ready and displayed them at the Liepāja Arena during the Latvian Fingerboarding Championships, receiving a great response from the competitors. While the competition was taking place on the championship ramp, all of the other competitors were playing on the Fingerline ramps, attracted by the new styles, the Fingerline owners said. Fingerline made its second appearance at the Ražots Latvijā (Made in Latvia) exhibition on March 25. One of the advantages of the sport is that participants don’t have to be athletes or of any particular age to be involved in fingerboarding.
Research by Fingerline’s owners revealed a company in Germany manufactures and retails fingerboarding ramps, while another in Spain imports ramps from China. Fingerline manufactures everything in Latvia. The company, according to the owners, intends to keep designing new styles to stay ahead of the competition. By producing fingerboarding ramps in Latvia, the company can keep prices lower than the competition. Prices for the ramps range between LVL 5 for a relatively simple model to about LVL 2,000 for complex models designed for local councils and schools.
The three entrepreneurs said they hope the high tax rates on employment in Latvia will be reduced as they see this as an inhibiting factor on their business. They also are waiting to see what the government might do to encourage manufacturing in Latvia. The owners intend to keep reinvesting in new designs. From the experience they have accumulated so far, they said they can get new products out before their competitors. They are interested in attracting new investors for their company and locating distributors or agencies in other countries.
For information about Fingerline’s products see www.fingerline.com.
Young fingerboarding enthusiasts pose by a course manufactured by Latvian company Fingerline. (Photo courtesy of Mareks Sekstello, Fingerline)