We met with Sebastian Lopez of The Space Program to talk launching a skate business online and getting airborne in the new video, EASTBOUND. One look at their passionate film and you’ll see why this breakout Portland board shop definitely belongs on your radar.
Let’s start with the origin story. Where’d The Space Program come from?
The company started in 2016. I work as a graphic designer and at the time, I had gotten a work bonus and wanted to use that money to bring something skateboarding-related to my city. Perhaps something that could highlight our local talent and hopefully nurture our skateboard scene and get people stoked on a scene that often gets overlooked. With two skate shops already in town, I decided to get into the next hardest thing in skateboarding. Starting a skateboard company. I didn’t really know what I was getting into… running a skateboard brand being virtually unknown is a lot of work, but we’re excited about what we have going on.
Including our community is something I really believe in as a brand owner.
What’s your personal background as a skater?
I started skating later in life at age 15 back in Colombia. After moving to the US, I was lucky enough to ride for one of our local shops here in town. My skateboarding career never really took off though. I’ve always been really interested in graphic design and skateboard graphics. Later on, once I started the brand I figured I could use my skills for that.
Tell us about your new video, EASTBOUND.
EASTBOUND is a short film from our latest trip to the east coast focused on New York and Philadelphia. Being from the west coast of the US we decided to make the trip over, bring the whole team and film to gather footage for our upcoming full length video we are working towards. But after seeing the amount of footage we had and the great time we were all having during the trip, we decided that we had something cool in our hands and that it needed to be its own thing. We love visiting the east coast. We connected with some great people during this trip. (shoutout NOCTURNAL!)
Do you participate in local events? Any coming up?
Definitely. As a brand we believe in supporting our local scene in any way we can. Our local scene has some great initiatives going and we are always looking to partner up, sponsor or put on events that bring the skaters together. As for upcoming Space Program events, we have in person premieres lined up for EASTBOUND. But since the video is a short film, we think there’s an opportunity to bring local skateboarding into the picture and showcase other local videos along with ours. Including our community is something I really believe in as a brand owner.
Do you have a brick and mortar shop?
We do not have a physical storefront, we do have our online store for people who want our goods and of course our brand is carried in skate shops all over the country.
What would you say is The Space Program’s mission?
I realize that we are a small brand full of virtually unknown people, not backed by any sort of big money. Our goal is to have fun doing what we do, aim to create quality product that people like and work on projects that people are stoked on. If by doing so, the people involved in our brand can get a spotlight on them and bigger and better opportunities, I feel like I’ve done my job.
Leave us with your advice on how skaters can get involved in their community.
I think skaters can contribute to their local scene by simply participating in it. Go to local events, donate to those DIY projects, go to your local skate shop. You don’t have to start a brand or own a business to make your local scene better, just choose to be a part of it. There’s always something going on.
This interview has been lightly edited.