Welcome back to Comacan Questions! Thanks for tuning in to check out the first interview of the year, we have just the interview to get this year rolling! In April of 2022 our guests today decided to officially bring their dream to life with their first product drop. Since then, they have had growing impact on their local community and beyond, a collection of wheels and soft goods and have cooked up some new plans for the rest of this new year. Please enjoy this week’s interview with Retna Wheel Co.
Where did the inspiration for starting a wheel company come from?
Oh man that’s a good question. I mean I think the inspiration was always there to want to start something that allowed me to stay in the skateboard industry. I mean I’m not as good at skating as I once was but the love for it is still as strong as ever. I love getting out to parks and skating with homies and seeing how much skateboarding as evolved and how these skaters are really pushing the envelope on what’s possible. Seeing the growth in the Canadian Skateboard scene with more companies coming up, providing great quality products I knew this was the time to get involved. The pandemic really gave me a lot of time to re-assess what’s important and what I want to do. With that the idea of Retna was born. I thought if I don’t try, I’ll never do it. Teaming up with Will was just a natural progression and things came together. I 1000% believe things in this life happen for a reason. This was meant to happen and who am I to argue that.
Why did you choose the name Retna?
Well if I’m being honest Comacan had a lot to do with it. I think once the idea came up to start a wheel brand, I was trying hard to think of something that was cool, something I could make the graphics work with. I was sitting there with my skateboard, and I looked down at the Comacan graphic and I was like hmmm skull wheels, nah. Bones wheels, no I think that’s taken and then I saw the eye and I was like ohh retina. Then it was a holy shit yeah Retina Wheels, but I wanted it to be distinct, so I stylized the retina into Retna, thought it was a little bit more street, little bit more the era I came from and went with Retna Wheel Co, I liked the way it sounded and thought fuck yeah that sounds legit. Once I had mentioned it to my wife and then to Will I knew it was right. The reception had been good when we were going through graphics and working with our font. It felt fitting. You need your eyes to see where you are going, you need your wheels to get you where you need to go. I tried to play homage to Comacan for the inspiration on the name but also everything Comacan has done for me helping me get back on a skateboard and giving me a crew to skate with. So, if you notice on our logo the eye ball with the skateboard as a tongue is a slight nod to the Comacan skull with the eyeball in its mouth.
Where are you based out of?
Currently we are based out of Cambridge Ontario, but with both Will and I living in separate cities I like to say we are based in South-Western Ontario.
What makes Retna special?
Oh man that’s another good question. I mean Retna to me is always going to be something special. It’s a company I get to run with a very good friend, we get to stay cemented in an industry and local scene for as long as they will have us. I think though what makes Retna so special is we are always going to be Skaters Supporting Skaters. We will always try our best to be there at the local contests, to encourage people skateboarding and to support our local shops because without them we wouldn’t be where we are. We will always be skater owned and operated and will always support skaters.
Where are your products available?
Right now you can find our products on our website at www.retnawheelco.com and at your local skate shop, and if they don’t have them tell them they need to get some in lol
What would you say is the mission behind Retna?
I think our mission will always be to provide a premium product at an affordable price. We want to see all skaters supporting local brands and shops. We want to be an affordable option for skaters so they can feel comfortable spending their hard-earned money on our product knowing they are going to get a set of wheels they will fully enjoy. We stand behind that too.
What does skateboarding mean to you?
Skateboarding is life. It’s the good times and the bad times man. It’s the escape from the mundane. It’s all about having fun, setting goals for yourself, and obtaining them. It’s a culture. I think skateboarding is like the mafia, once you’re in- you’re in, there’s no getting out.
Where can people view your products?
People can check us out on our website, www.retnawheelco.com and on our social media.
Anyone you’d like to thank?
I want to first give a big shout out and thank you to my wife Mel and my kids for encouraging me to pursue this passion. My family for always supporting me. To Will for believing in me and willing to go down this rabbit hole with me. To all our friends in the industry. To our team Drew, Dave, Gianni, Kyle and Jovaughn for trusting us and riding for us. To all the shops who carry Retna, and to everyone who has supported us and is riding a set of wheels, we see you and we thank you.