Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikki Frelier Andrews.
Hi Nikki Frelier, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
NFA Boards mission is to create a unique and inclusive skateboarding brand that is geared towards (but not exclusive to) women skaters. To help empower youth through skateboarding, to build confidence, encourage physical activity and help breakdown stereotypes. A portion of the proceeds from sales go towards funding skate-related and artistic, philanthropic endeavors, including scholarships for under-resourced youth.
I am a practicing artist, who kind of fell into designing skateboards. For my son’s birthday in 2021, he asked me to buy him some blank skate decks and spray paint, so he could design his own skateboards. I thought, “Why am I not putting my own artwork on these?!?”, since that day, I started incorporating my artwork onto skate decks. Utilizing some imagery and the style which I painted in the early 2000s, a time where I was very prolific and successful. My son loves to tell people that he is the reason that I started my business. It makes me a proud Mom that he’s proud of the endeavor. Both of my children skate and also take lessons from a sponsored female skater, Veronica Saint Jane, they love it!! She’s been awesome and really helped them to take off and believe in themselves.
After retiring from tech, I started volunteer for many non-profit boards and museums, so philanthropy is a big part of who I am. I have learned so much from every organization I’ve worked with and really have developed a great knowledge base from volunteering. I have been able to apply what I have learned and some of the connections I have made along the way, to my business.
I grew up skating (skateboards, roller skates and ice skates), surfing and snowboarding. I was even a professional roller derby girl for Peninsula Roller Girls in Northern California, Tricky Nikki 6. I grew up in this culture and now that my children are into skating and other alternative sports, it feels natural to start building a brand for new up and coming skaters. I personally feel that the skateboarding market is still not fully representing how eclectic its community is. At least when I was a kid, in the 90’s, Kim Gordon and Sofia Coppola had launched X-girl. Although we would still wear X-Large clothing brand, because we were huge fans of the Beastie Boys (Mike D. and Adam Silverman from the beastie Boys, along with Eli Bonerz started the brand for guys around the same timeframe) I still have my blue and white racing jacket. I think many brands still generalize the market and I feel there is a need for a fun alternative brand for the rest of us.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Is starting any business a smooth road? Honestly, I started during Covid, that in itself made launching a brand difficult. Yet, because I had more time at home, I was able to really deep dive into the industry and get things rolling. I also feel that as an artist, the business side of things can be a bit daunting for me. I am used to having galleries and shops sell my work. I had a middleman and now I had to learn and know how to own and operate a business. I am still learning but feel stronger and more confident as time goes on.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I think NFA Boards is special not only because we feed into philanthropy, but because of my unique designs, which are geared towards, but not exclusive to, women. There are a lot of other brands out there that are still geared towards the male demographic. I am trying to create something unique and different. Playing with contrast, colors and imagery. In the 80s, my dad brought home my first skateboard, it had a black widow with a bloody guy dripping from its body. While I still loved that board, I didn’t feel that the imagery reflected me. Not everyone connects with that type of imagery. Skating is an art form, a subculture, and like artists, we all have our own unique skillsets and styles. That’s why I’ve put an emphasis on design as well as a quality board. I don’t want to just, “shrink it and pink it”, as they say.
We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
Define success, I think that’s a tricky question. I think success can be measured in so many different ways. When I was younger, I would say that being a household name defined success. I’ve realized though, that that’s not always the case. I now find that success is in all the different phases of getting to your goal. If you reach those milestones, then you have multiple successes, not just the final outcome.
One of my greatest successes with NFA Boards is that I actually took the chance and put myself out there. I was at a point in my life where I felt I had nothing to lose. I’m very blessed, I have a happy marriage and family, we are financially secure and I have the luxury of being able to be an artist and entrepreneur. My husband and me worked very hard to be able to get to this point.
By giving back to the community and by helping to provide opportunities to under-resourced youth, I think, is my greatest success. I’ve recently partnered with a non-profit where we will be launching an after-school program in the coming year. It will be open to all genders and socioeconomic backgrounds. Most of the proceeds from the sales of NFA Boards are going towards funding scholarships for those who normally could not afford to attend our program(s). The program incorporates both art classes and skate clinics. Individuals can learn more about art and new tricks or fine-tune their skating in a safe and empowering environment.
- Website: nicolefrelier.com