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Skateboards are Enjoi's bread and butter, but the company also makes a wide variety of skateboarding gear, including clothing and accessories. Distributed by Dwindle Distribution, the company has become famous for its humorous and satirical designs since its inception and has adopted a stylized panda as its logo. Marc Johnson and Rodney Mullen established the firm in 2000. The city of Los Angeles, California is home to their headquarters.
The years 2000-2003: Inception, Hsu, and Barletta
Marc Johnson, a professional skateboarder, and Rodney Mullen, who had worked together previously as A-Team members at a company called Dwindle Distribution (Rocco is the founder of World Industries and co-founded Dwindle Distribution with Mullen), established the company in 2000. (later described by Johnson as "a completely fabricated team based on marketing";)
Johnson gave an interview to the independent skateboard website 48 Blocks in which he discussed the breakup of the A-Team.
It was, shall we say, a little strange at times, but I was already good friends with Gershon Mosley and, of course, [Dave] Mayhew from Maple, and Rodney Mullen was just awesome in so many ways that it made up for the weirdness. Thus, the dynamic worked well. In retrospect, I believe that the lack of focus was to blame, and that A-team served as a stepping stone for some of us to pursue projects that were a better fit for our individual skill sets. It was hilarious when I called Rodney to tell him I was leaving because we all left in the same week without saying goodbye to anyone.
Johnson later explained that the inspiration for both the Panda logo and the name "Enjoi" came to him in a dream.
It's important to cite when using this term. Former Maple teammates Jerry Hsu, Louie Barletta, and Dave Mayhew were among those recruited by the new company's leader. Mayhew had also ridden for the A-Team (Mayhew's "D3" signature model skate shoe, produced with the Osiris shoe company, is considered the best-selling skate shoe of all time; however, Osiris co-founder/co-owner, Tony Magnusson, denied this claim in a 2012 interview). In addition to Bobby Puleo and Chris Cole, two-time "Skater of the Year" award winner and current editor-in-chief of Thrasher Magazine Cole reflected on his early career in a 2009 interview with the publication.
My preference goes to Enjoi. It's a breath of fresh air, the brand. I was on the East Coast and not very close to anyone on the team, so I was more of a product rider than a team player. Given that they are a close-knit crew of companions. A few times, Marc Johnson and I got together. In a word, he rocked. I'm a big fan of his and thought that was really cool.
The first time Hsu and Johnson met, Hsu was 15 and Johnson was 19. According to Hsu: "He [Johnson] looked a lot older than 19 years old. When I first met him, I assumed he was at least 28 years old, possibly even older based on his demeanour." Hsu went on to say that Johnson became a kind of role model for him and taught him a lot about the skateboarding business. About his tenure as CEO, Johnson said:
Each month, I had something to contribute. Sometimes when I was really pissed off, I'd make an ad, and it might be a little strange or dark. What I was doing at Enjoi was very rewarding to me, almost to the point of obsession. I bet a lot of people are thinking, "Oh, didn't you own Enjoi?" after hearing that you sat up for twenty-four hours straight working on a series of boards. No, I didn't have any crap to call my own. I just went to work and did things like ad layouts, catalogue work, and board graphics. If there is a name for what you do, I don't know it. "ideas person"? ... I didn't get to go skating because I was too damned busy.
In 2003 and 2007, Johnson and Mullen left, and Bag of Suck was released.
Johnson ultimately left to work for rival skateboard manufacturer Chocolate. According to Johnson, who later elaborated on his departure, he left because "double-checking every brand decision got really old, really fast." In an episode of the Vice Media web series Epicly Later'd from 2010, Johnson elaborates on the events that led up to his decision to leave Enjoi for good:
For what, exactly, am I destroying my life? Those dudes couldn't give a rat's behind if I took a piss on a board, branded it with their name, sold it, or whatever. I anticipate some pushback, but... things have finally reached "nothing I do matters." So, here's the backstory... Since I had just arrived in town, I was responsible for unloading the car, setting up the lights, and starting the generators for that night's filming. This ledge was illuminated by our efforts. Matt Eversole, one of the filmmakers, was in a bad mood because he didn't want to film. We were all geared up and ready to skate when suddenly someone took a piss on the painted ledge. He fucked up the ledge by urinating all over it. Also, Jesse Erikson wanted to kill him right then and there, I swear to god. However, I took that as a damned sure sign: "Stop wasting your time here; you're no longer needed. They could not care less what you do."
Hsu has claimed on his behalf, "I did care when Johnson left," and provided the following justification: "Because he was the sole art director, a professional skateboarder, and the primary caretaker of the project, I had a good idea that he was miserable. And he just couldn't handle it. In short, all he wanted to do was skate." After Johnson left, Hsu said, "everyone knew that I wanted to leave," and he gave serious thought to leaving Enjoi. Eversole ultimately decided he would take over Johnson's responsibilities, and Hsu claims that he and Barletta met with Hsu in an effort to keep Hsu on staff.
After leaving Enjoi in 2004, Mullen (along with professional skateboarder Daewon Song) founded the Almost skateboard company.
The first full-length video from Enjoi, Bag of Suck, premiered in 2006 and went on to win the Transworld "Skate Video of the Year" award in 2007; at the same ceremony, Jerry Hsu took home the "Best Video Part" award.
The years 2008-2013: "Tweak the Beef," "Hsu's Departure," and "The End"
Ben Raemers, a skateboarder from England, joined the team of amateurs that September of 2009.
The "Fall 09" catalogue came with a short introduction video.
The company and Thrasher magazine dropped a nineteen-minute film titled Tweak the Beef on the public on December 17th, 2012. On December 12, 2012, a trailer with the following synopsis was posted to the Thrasher website: "The new Enjoi video is shrouded in secrecy, but word on the street is that it's totally sick. We have no idea what we're getting ourselves into. Monday, December 17th is the premiere night, and you can only see it here." When the issue was first published, the following blurb announced the video's debut: "So what are you doing if you aren't enjoying yourself? Have fun for the next 18 minutes. Consider them to be your last..." Pro skateboarder Tony Manfre and American electronic music duo Glass Candy provide the soundtrack for this video, which was directed and edited by Enjoi's long-time brand manager, Matt Eversole.
In addition to veteran riders like Ben Raemers, Clark Hassler, Cairo Foster, Caswell Berry, Louie Barletta, Jerry Hsu, Jose Rojo, Nestor Judkins, and Wieger van Wagenengin, the video also featured two up-and-coming amateurs, Zach Wallin and Ryan Lay.
Hsu, a senior team rider, appears briefly in the video, and his part is incorporated into Barletta's. Thrasher has also featured unused clips from directors such as Wallin ("Zack's Delicious Doggy Bag"), Barletta ("Louie's Luscious Linguisa"), and Foster.
In the opening sequence of the video, Berry is shown performing a transitional trick called a "Roast Beef Grab," alluding to the origin of the video's title. Some members of the skateboarding community call Berry's heightened emphasis on his motion while airborne "tweakage," which helps him perform the trick even better. While the trick is happening, a voice can be heard from off-screen saying, "Beef tweakage!"
While filming an interview for the RIDE YouTube channel in September 2012, co-founders Hsu and Barletta announced the upcoming release of a new video from the company (for the segment, "The Weekend Buzz", hosted by skateboarding journalists, Erica Yary and Rob Brink).
Hsu resigned on September 3, 2013, just a few days after the company signed Jimmy Carlin, a former rider for Jamie Thomas's Mystery brand. In an interview published on October 12, 2013, Hsu stated that the departure of longtime brand manager Matt Eversole was a major factor in his decision. Eversole, according to Hsu, had grown tired of defending the brand against the profit-driven demands of shareholders. Hsu said of Barletta, who will replace Eversole as Enjoi's brand manager: "Louie understands what Enjoi is all about, so I think they can still make something really great and I wish them the best."
Oververt, New Pros, SOTY Nom, Panda Patrol: 2014-2017
Carlin announced in May 2014 that he had severed ties with Mystery, a brand distributed by Jamie Thomas's Black Box Distribution, without having secured a new sponsor for his deck. Carlin said he left Black Box because the work ethic was too intense, and he's happy to be a part of the Enjoi team where he knows some of the other riders.
While Berry is dealing with a period of serious injuries, Eversole is continuing to work on the Tiltmode Army website, as Foster explained in an interview with Thrasher magazine in July 2014.
Early in October of 2014, Raemers was promoted to the professional ranks by the company.
On October 13, 2014, CONS, the skateboarding division of the Converse shoe company, released a video congratulating Raemers and featuring him skateboarding in the United Kingdom.
The release date and location for Enjoi's third full-length video were announced after a trailer for Oververt was posted on the brand's YouTube channel on October 8, 2014. The video was shot on October 23 at the Montalban Theater in Los Angeles, California, and was featured in the December 2014 issue of Thrasher Magazine, along with interviews with Barletta and Raemers. Barletta gives Wallin professional status by surprising him with a "Wallin" skateboard deck after he finishes his Oververt part. Help put clothes on Zack's back by purchasing his sticking debut pro models! read the tagline accompanying the print ad.
A video uploaded to Thrasher Magazine's YouTube channel revealed that Barletta, along with Ishod Wair and Bobby Worrest, was in the running for 2014 Skater Of The Year. Jack Fardell, an Australian skateboarder, is the newest Enjoi sponsored athlete, as announced by Barletta at the video's end.
New from the Enjoi crew is a web series called Panda Patrol.
There are currently ten videos produced by the Enjoi team that have been published on the Thrasher Magazine website, the Thrasher Magazine YouTube channel, and the Enjoi website between 2017 and the present.
The videos follow the Enjoi team as they visit various locations like Taiwan, Lisbon, and Seoul. The focus of a given episode may shift from one skater to another or from the team as a whole to a different group of skaters. The first episode was released in 2017, with the most recent in 2020; the series has not announced its episode count, and it is currently still in production.
Decrease in Distribution Sale and Rider Losses, 2019-Current
Dwindle Distribution was sold for $1.5 million in 2019 by Globe International Limited to Highline Industries Corporation, a subsidiary of Bravo Sports (Kyprtonics, Sector 9, Vision Streetwear, and Pro-Tec).
In 2022, after "Deedz" Galasso, Jackson Pilz, and Zack Wallin had all left the team, Barletta announced on Instagram that he, too, was leaving the company after 20 years or more. Jenkem discussed the incident in depth during an interview.
"Back in 2000, when enjoi was founded by Marc Johnson, it was all about the group dynamic and camaraderie. It's been a terrible few months. We didn't hit our sales targets this week, this month, etc., so we're not paying the team riders, etc. Though I recognise the challenges posed by the current economic climate, the constant worry that no one would be paid each week was becoming unbearable. Morning after morning, I'd get a text asking, "Lou, when are we going to get paid? " from a videographer, an artist, or one of our team riders. I was wondering if you had heard anything about getting paid. We had built our relationship on laughter and goodwill, and I realised that the only reason anyone was still with us was because of blind faith in me, and I couldn't take it any longer. Unfortunately, I have lost faith in the company.
When I finally reached my breaking point, I told everyone in my enjoi group chat that, despite my affection for them, I simply could not continue.
After finishing that Instagram post, I hit the send button, put down my phone, and immediately began to sob. It's been 23 years of my life, man. All the people you've known and loved and lost touch with over the years bring back memories of great times and the people you shared them with. All of that was completed when I hit the send button on Instagram."
In 2004, the Jezebel website called out the company for a sexist joke on a garment label that read, "dirty laundry keeps women busy." The Jerry Hsu deck has received backlash on Amazon and elsewhere for its controversial cover art, which features a distraught young woman saying, "I guess he really loves his Enjoi deck more than me." She had apparently crossed him up because she wanted him to prioritise her over skateboarding, which he reacted to by beating her.