Happy Skate – bOards and More on Tontine Street
Happy Skate is a new shop on Tontine Street in Folkestone. It’s grown from a market stall run by Dan Joyce on the Harbour Arm. Dan, a film-maker, moved to Folkestone a couple of years ago, and with skating in his bones, has launched a new business. Folkelife wanted to find out more.
“I’d been in Folkestone for about a year and, being a skater, had met with various people connected to that scene. I said ‘what we need is a skate shop’ and happened to be talking to the right people who could help make that happen. There’s a lot of creativity behind skating, and a lot of DIY too. So I wanted to create a shop that not only sells skateboards but is about the whole creative process behind skateboarding. I want to encourage you to search out your own path and create your own fun from what you have, the whole DIY ethos.”
“Alex Frost, project officer of F51, the new multi-storey skate park, and I worked together to put on Pier Pressure. This was a skating event on the Harbour Arm in October 2019. We wanted to build some momentum before the skate park opens, but sadly, Covid struck. Even so, when Lockdown 1 happened, my work as a film-maker dried up. I started thinking about the shop idea and making some stock for people to buy.”
“When the Harbour Arm Marketplace opened up after Lockdown, it was a sensible place for people to shop in the open air, and socially distanced, etc. So I had a stall there and did really well. I got to know other traders there and we’re all in the same boat. But we need an indoor space to sell our stuff. So, we’ve now started working together out of the shop on Tontine Street to help support each other.
“With my film background, during the week I’ve been working with other traders to make short films on how their products suit skate-boarding. For example, we did a line of kids tees with @dye_hardcustomclothing which sold out immediately. So I thought we needed an adult line too. You can see the film of how the tees are made and then click and collect to buy from the shop. @makewaves.studio did a custom line in patches you can dress up your kit with. There’s a few more in the pipeline too.”
moving to folkestone
“I was living in Rochester before I moved here. Five years ago I had a heart attack, and as a result I’ve turned vegetarian. I’d come down to Folkestone and found there’s so much choice in terms of food on offer here. Far more so than in Rochester! Also, in living there, I realised that I hadn’t got to know anyone locally. Yet here, in Folkestone, I’ve made so many friends and connections with people in a similar situation to me. There’s a great group of parents around, whose kids want to learn to skate too. Actually, the number of parents I’ve met who also didn’t have friends before Lockdown, and now there’s us, it’s been a fantastic move.”
“In opening up the stall on the Harbour Marketplace I’ve got to see who is interested in skating around here. There’s your usual guys into it, but there are loads of girls starting to skate now which is great. One weekend I sold 9 boards to girls wanting to start skating. This is a totally new demographic. I’m trying to find somewhere locally that we can skate indoors, because it’s not so much fun, or safe, to skate in the winter. The rain makes things slippy, and the dark evenings don’t help, and you don’t want to lose that momentum of new skaters. So if anyone knows of decent place where we can put some ramps and be safe, that would be great!”
“No one knows how long the Covid thing is going to stop us from doing things. But, I’ll be moving into The Wedge which is opposite the skate park. There’s an underground to what you see there and we’re building a podcast studio, a YouTube editing suite. I’ve set up as a Community Interest Company and am going to be applying for grants to teach young people how to set up their own brand. They’ll also be able to learn how to make their own tees, screen-printing, marketing campaigns, YouTubeing and all the creative stuff that goes alongside skateboarding. And now the F51 skate park is open, we’ll do some live streaming and filming of events going on there. It’s going to be cool.”
Photo Credit: Exterior and Interior of Happy Skate by Matt Rowe