North & South America
In 1980, Scott & Brennan Olson created Rollerblade® and brought inline skating to the world. Olson built the skates in his basement workshop in Minnesota. It was here that he started to innovate and refine his product.
In the 90’s inline skating started to grow and got picked up by huge numbers of enthusiasts. How did all these people got introduced to inline skating?
In the digital age we live in now, most of the communication goes over the web. By using social media, websites and video content everyone is able to share their passion. In the early days of inline skating and Rollerblade® we reached out to people by visiting them at their favourite spots.
Inline skating is something you need to experience for yourself. In the early days we knew that we needed to make face to face contact with the people, so we could share the feeling of inline skating. We wanted to go out with our ambassadors and team to demonstrate what you could do on Rollerblade® inline skates. From the beginning we knew the social aspect combined with a healthy dose of action would give inline skaters a great feeling of freedom.
Packed with a truck full of rental skates we were able to visit the local malls, town fairs or shops. The Truck was our showcase for product and demonstrated the possibilities of inline skating. Demos were done with a portable skatepark including half-pipe and a street course or with basics cones. We were able to get people moving on Rollerblade® inline skates in great numbers. Our instructors helped people choose the right pair of inline skates and could talk you through the basics of skating.
The personal contact enabled the community to grow, and in the mid 90's inline skating was everywhere. Every sports channel and music channel on television showed this awesome new sport. A videogame was also released on the NES platform and there was even Barbie dolls with Rollerblade® inline skates on their feet. The sport of inline skating became very popular and so did the Rollerblade® brand. The most important result from days is that people were able to see what inline skating was all about first-hand.
Fast forward to our digital age, and now the current situation with covid-19. It seems that it is all digitally driven. It is a fact that we mostly communicate by our digital media, with our ambassadors and athletes that talk with our fans over socials media and web TV. But we are happy to say that we still know the power of face to face contact.
The team in the USA has a tour bus which allows them to visit and rent out skates to people who are new to the sport. It is probably not like in the early days, when they see inline skaters face to face for the first time, but we know from experience this is the best way to let our sport grow.
Recently the amount of skaters has increased with huge numbers across the globe. We see skaters and groups in all parts of the world getting in contact via social media and the world wide web. Of course, the strength of the internet is that the world is getting “smaller” and there for you can easily connect with likeminded people such as inline skaters. Huge recurring events like The Berlin Marathon and the Fise competition with stops around the globe couldn’t happen like they did before. Getting together with huge amount of riders isn’t allowed due to health circumstances. Smaller groups of skaters did come together and other initiatives did happen. And with the strength of the web everyone could still come “together”.
If we look at our IG account we are happy to see that we have reached a very active community of 100.000 fans. This group of fans keeps us motivated to create innovative inline skates, wheels, accessories and content to keep the world rolling. Let us share some great facts from all our media outlets:
- Our Pinterest page reaches 85k on a monthly base
- On Facebook almost have 200K fans
- Bombing down the salt mine in Poland is the video on Vimeo with the most views: 1.1 million.
- The Rollerblade® Flickr account has a selection of images with 3.3 million views.
- We have 1.2 million users on www.rollerblade.com from across the globe
- Our youtube videochannel has over 150k subscribers with a most viewed video that has 4 million views.
The introduction to inline skating nowadays is most of the time with images and video’s. In the early days is was face to face contact, which we still strive to do as much as possible. It’s safe to say that the combination works very well. Unfortunately we can’t pick a date yet to get together soon, but in the meantime let us connect over the web, like we are doing with huge successes so far and wait for better days to see each other on inline skates again!