In the cyclical world of skateboarding, “small brands” roll in and out, usually driven by a pro’s career arc. Once your feet are wet in the industry, it’s almost a natural step to go independent and start your own thing. In 1991, a start-up brand was less sexy than the current landscape, but that didn’t deter industry veteran Jim Gray from deciding to disrupt and reinvent show a board company worked. Eschewing pro models entirely, Gray’s brand Acme focused on what were essentially logo boards, which would become commonplace in skating years later, and even worked with comic book companies on some early licensed collaborations, before it was even a term. Acme’s premium was placed on producing high quality products, top shelf, competitive riders, and even had the stones to fire shots—albeit to Acme’s determent—at the then-dominant World Industries.
Though Acme’s run wasn’t sustainable, sighting ’91-’98 as the brand’s most successful years, the example of his brand was paramount for outliers. By creating his own lane, Acme inspired others who sought to pursue their own ideas of what a skate company could be.
Check our video interview with Jim Gray for some brand history and inspiration, and check out our The Hundreds X Acme Skateboards and The Hundreds X Blockhead Skateboards collaboration here.