Civilmade Fingerboards: a Friendship Forged in Passion and Fun

Cris Antonio |

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Ever heard of fingerboarding? This fun hobby began around the late 60s and early 70s when kids started making small, scaled-down versions of skateboards. These toys were made from simple materials like cardboard, coffee stirrers, and wheels from Hot Wheels cars. Eventually, the hobby went mainstream and opened the door for brands to manufacture and sell them worldwide.

Today, fingerboarding is enjoyed not only by kids, but also by adults who remember this retro pastime. In fact, two friends decided to turn their passion for the hobby into a full-time company. Let’s meet the owners and creative minds behind Civilmade Fingerboards.

Friendship Forged on Fingerboarding

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You’ve heard the popular saying that one should refrain from doing business with a friend or family member. But Civilmade owners, Chino Lim and Al Jerico Taleon, beg to differ:

“It’s been very smooth so far. We’ve been friends for almost 18 years now. The good thing is that we know each other well enough that we can tell which work will suit the other. We let each other grow and explore his field of expertise… We’ve achieved the right amount of compromise as well and we intend to continue that.”

Although they’ve been in the market since 2010, R&D for Civilmade Fingerboards didn’t begin until 2018. They were testing various strategies then. The company launched in December 2020, amidst doubts and reservations about the pandemic. The duo persisted, believing that constant learning will help them achieve their goals.

“We responded by facing the challenges with a learner’s mindset. That way, we were able to enjoy the waves that came our way.”

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With Jerico making the decks and Chino on marketing and design, one could say that they have the right recipe for entrepreneurial success. However, the business partners believe it’s all down to enjoying what you do.

“We never feel tired. During our weekly meetings, we sometimes spend an hour just laughing and randomly talking about things not remotely related to our business… We believe that when you do things out of passion, you can cope with anything.”

“…If you feed off the energy from your work, then you’ve got something special going on there.”

What is Fingerboarding?

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Fingerboards are essentially much smaller skateboards at a 1:8 ratio. You can do the same tricks (e.g., basic ollie, tic-tac, boardslide, drop-ins, etc.) on a fingerboard as you would on a skateboard using your index and middle fingers.

In the 80s, fingerboards were mostly toys you collected or displayed as a keychain. It wouldn’t be until the 90s when they would be mass produced. What changed the game was the 1985 skateboarding video, Future Primitive. The film showed various skateboarders, including Lance Mountain, who was playing with a fingerboard on a sink, showing tricks to his friends.

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There are numerous companies selling fingerboards nowadays. They’re a safer alternative to skateboarding and make for a great collectible as well.

Fingerboards have the same parts as skateboards: the deck, wheels, trucks (small metal bars), grip tape, bushings (cylinders added to trucks), nuts, and screws. Civilmade offers a complete set with all the parts mentioned so you can get started right away!

Designing the Dream

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Lightweight, eco-friendly, and community-oriented, Civilmade Fingerboards are perfect for beginners and pros.

“We never compromise on quality. We’ve always had our priorities straight and we never take shortcuts. The research and development aspects of certain products are often taken for granted as people tend to look at things at face value. But we’ve never done that. We make it a point that all our releases are well-thought of, creative, fresh, and upscale.”

The company is already making waves online with its clever marketing tactics and offbeat designs. They’re always producing cool collections, including The Bear (inspired by the Polo Bear Line from Ralph Lauren), Blanx (a minimalist collection), and Abducted (retro-inspired). Their RIPS program lets riders get a percentage of the profits from their original artworks. Very few fingerboard companies do this and definitely sets Civilmade apart.

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So if you’re a sucker for cool designs (like I am!), keep an eye out for updates by following Civilmade on social media.

On Mentors, Competitors, and Business with Friends

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“The ultimate dream is to be the biggest hub of professional fingerboard equipment in the world!”

Jerico and Chino sure have big dreams. But they understand that it takes hard work, constant learning, and people to make it happen.

“We have mentors from different business industries who guided us along the way. More than anything, they showed us the ropes and encouraged us to be better individuals… We need all the help we can get.”

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Of course, a company isn’t without its fair share of problems. For this, the two buddies rely on staying calm when facing challenges, being thankful for what they have, and standing firm on the belief that they can withstand anything together:

“Having contrasting ideas on certain matters is a given when you have a business partner. But it’s easier to compromise with a close friend… As you grow together, you kind of realize each other’s respective viewpoints on things.”

When asked about dealing with competition, the duo had a heart-warming answer: “Honestly, we see our competitors as friends. We are treading on the same water after all, so we hope we all make it.”

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Chino and Jerico admit they don’t enjoy looking at the past because they feel so blessed at the moment. With Civilmade Fingerboards being shipped worldwide to the U.S. and even the U.K, the pair just wants to be ready for any opportunity that comes their way. Aside from complete fingerboard sets, components, and fingerboard bags (collab with Thrashbags CO.), Civilmade also offers merch such as t-shirts, caps, and beanies.

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Their advice for friends who want to do business together?

“Choose wisely. Make sure that you are on the same page in terms of vision, goals, business means, etc. Make sure you both completely understand what you’re trying to accomplish.”

”Of course, there will be inevitable circumstances. But when your friendship runs deep (even outside the company), you know you can work wonders.”

Want to start a new hobby and maybe meet new friends? Follow Civilmade on Instagram @civilmadefingerboards for new decks, updates, and meetups!


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Cris Antonio

Cris Antonio is a freelance Copywriter, Editor, and Speaker. If she’s not writing or editing, she helps business owners and young adults build their presence on the Web.