Now that spring has fully taken over (even with snow predicted for this week), skateboarders and cyclists are getting out and tearing up the parks and courses. So naturally, they need new gear and repairs to the old. One of the newest shops to hit SLC is Good Looks. Located just off 900 South and Edison Street, the shop offers an array of local boards and products for skaters, as well as occasional events to get people out and active. Today we chat with co-owner Billy Ditzig about the shop and what they've been doing with the skate community. (All pictures provided courtesy of Good Times.
Gavin: Hey Billy! First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm Billy, I'm 29 years old and have lived in SLC for nine years now. I'm from the Chicago suburbs but moved here to snowboard in 2007. I have an awesome family, a girlfriend of six years, Sheyda, and our dog, Sophie. Sheyda and I just graduated from SLCC last summer with our Associates of Communications, and our first goal after graduating was opening up our newest endeavor Good Looks, a local buy/sell/trade skateboard and snowboard shop.
What first got you interested in skateboarding, snowboarding and biking growing up?
I never skated growing up. Being from the suburbs, a skateboard isn't a very efficient form of transportation. I grew up snowboarding and riding BMX. It wasn't until I moved to Salt Lake at 21 that I met Jason Gianchetta, owner of SK801, that I really developed a passion for skating. When I met Jason and told him I didn't skate, he handed me a bunch of extra old parts he had and said, "Put these together, you do now."
Did you do any competitions or join on teams as you got older, or was it more for fun?
I've competed a few times snowboarding, rarely making finals, but I'm not nearly talented enough at skateboarding to compete in any serious competitions. I've been known to get into some seriously high stakes games of skate with the kids that come into the shop, though. Every day I skate it definitely gets more fun, even if I didn't learn a new trick. It feels good to get older; the comfort-zone tricks are more consistent.
How was it for you to become involved with the local skate scene in SLC and become a fixture in your own right?
That's rad someone thinks of me like this. I've always wanted to be a fixture at something. But honestly, I just like skating. I like the homies I've made; they are my family. We started the Go Skate Day Hill Bomb a couple years ago, probably the coolest skate event in the city in my opinion. It's not a typical skate contest to see who's the best. It's more of an event to see who can have the most fun. We bomb the hill then do lots of mini contests for the most messed up shoes, games of skate, give out bunches of product to everyone. That's the goal of Go Skate Day, though, to give back to the skateboarders. We get tons of products donated from bunches of skateboarding's best companies and just have an awesome day. I'm just trying to give back all that the skate community has given me. We don't have much, but were learning and growing every day, and we're stoked that through the shop we'll be able to grow and do more to support Salt Lake skateboarders and snowboarders over the years to come.
When did the idea to start a shop come about?
Years ago, when I moved here, all of the homies had so much excess gear they were always trying to sell. They'd be able to sell some of it to other friends, but most of the time it was just lost or taken by another homie who needed it. I always had the idea since then, but when Sheyda and I graduated, we saw an opportunity to create a shop that had a different focus from what Salt Lake currently had to offer. We pride ourselves on our quality selection of previously rocked gear, and local products showing anyone who's interested that it doesn't have to be that expensive to shred. We offer used skate decks starting at $5 and used current snowboards starting at about $50.
What made you choose the location on Edison Street? And where did the name come from?
We got super lucky on our location. The guys at Spilt Ink have been awesome laid-back landlords who do good work and have an awesome energy about their building. We are downtown but tucked away so we didn't have to pay excessive rent rates as we grew our business. Good Looks is not an attribute to us, Good Looks is a state of mind. An attitude. It's a place of being exactly who and what you want to be. No matter what your passion, we want to push you to keep pushing.
What was it like for you getting the shop together and trying to make it not look or feel like a typical skate shop?
It wasn't too bad. We have a small space which was refinished before we moved in. We couldn't paint or anything for the most part, because of the special treatment on the walls, but it's classy so we were hyped. Mark Judd, the owner of AD Skateboards, helped us out with the cash wrap and the dressing room. One hardship we've had is just doing only local brands and previously rocked goods. It's sometimes hard to convince someone that a handmade local product is of equal or higher quality than their favorite brand, and sometimes may come at a higher price, but the money spent on a local product goes back into the pocket of a local skateboarder following their dreams. It's worth it to support your local skateboard company. Salt Lakers make good stuff!
The majority of what you carry in the shop is local products. How was it for you searching out a local distributor for everything and getting their product?
The people in this city who make local products are so dedicated to their crafts, most of them found us. When we started, we weren't sure if it would be possible to create a board wall of all local skate decks. But after four months we were carrying nine brands of boards from all over Utah. We carry wheels, grip, wax, clothing, etc., all designed and created by local companies.
Aside from the local connection, what do you look for in a product before bringing it in?
Mostly if it's cool and trendy. What is "the talk" around each product? We try to carry what our customers want. The price point, we try to keep the prices low even on the trendy stuff.
What was it like for you when you first opened up?
While most people think that to be your own boss sounds like the best life, it has its moments. Never owning a business before, I think it's taken us a while to get used to the logistics of things. At first, we started with a super-limited product, and didn't know all of the awesome creators making the awesome local products we have now. This has been a project of passion and was stoked to be growing steadily and expanding on our original ideas. We definitely want to thank everyone who has gone out of their way to support us, though. You're truly making dreams come true!
How has it been throwing events and getting a younger generation involved?
We've only thrown Go Skate Day here so far, but we are located on an awesome street with rad neighbors who think skateboarding is cool, so we'd love to host more events from our space. The younger generation is probably our strongest supporters, because they don't necessarily have the budget for newest, trendiest brands, and would rather spend their dollars on the things that will earn them respect with the older generations. Like all the awesome local products the older generations have made for them to enjoy. The kids really get stoked when they bump into the person that created their skateboard in the streets or at a skatepark. We're hyped to help be building these relationships to bridge the gap.
For those looking to get into it and don't know what they want, how can you help them out?
We have a variety of new and gently used gear for people who aren't sure what they want. Because we are still relatively small, we are really able to take the time to match people up with the gear that's right for their look, style of riding, and in a price range that fits them.
Are there any plans to expand the shop in any way or are you good with how things are?
We're definitely not just good with how things are, we always want to be learning and growing. But who knows what the future has in store. This has definitely been the biggest project we've ever bit off, and we just want to use the next year or so to develop and define the processes of owning and operating a business. We definitely plan on maximizing our efforts though getting our web store and blog running stronger, and trying to blow up our local brands. We think that would be awesome.
What can we expect from you and Good Looks over the rest of the year?
times with good homies! We have recently started building a shop team and plan to have monthly edits and a video coming out soon. Oh, and June 21 is Go Skate Day!