We had the good fortune of connecting with Toby Ogden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Toby, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
When we started Culture Supply we were just trying to fill a void. We were selling some expensive surfboards for my stepdad who is Mike Hynson from the cult classic surf movie “The Endless Summer”. Mike makes amazing surfboards and they are expensive as they should be. We found that we were turning away a lot of people because they were looking for a better price. We then decided to start our side brand and call it Culture Supply Co. We would make surfboards and offer at a fair price but we did not cut any corners. We make the boards with the same materials and the same manufacturing that every board you see out there in surf shops and whatnot. We never intended our board company to turn into anything except just selling a few here and there. We are now 5 years into our business of selling surfboards under our own brand and the risks we have taken have been just 1 after another. We were selling our boards out of a storage shed for many years. Found an empty warehouse in Oceanside where we are today and just decided to take the risk of building out a showroom. Then we took the risk of investing all the money we had into buying inventory. The risk gave us the reward because opening a showroom and having inventory for people to look at and the purchase was exactly what people wanted. The risk continues to be how much inventory we purchase to keep up with demand. Only time and experience have allowed us to be on the pulse of what works best. Have too little inventory, and we are blowing it when people want a certain board and want instant gratification. Have too much inventory and board sit or our racks and hold up our money we could use for other things. All in all, it is making a calculated risk that has been what pushes us into more opportunity. Nothing is for sure, we just have to hope we make more good decisions with the company than bad ones. You will never know unless you take some risk.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Every day is another day to be a bit better. I find that when I put out effort, good things happen. In an ever-changing world of business. I find that I have to always be willing to change with the times. It is a puzzle that will never be put together. Finding new ways to approach the puzzle is the constant in my life. When it comes to being a full-time wedding and family photographer and another part of my photography business of having a portrait studio. The Culture Supply Co brand that my business partner Rodney Harvey and I started has always been a side hustle that we do when we are not busy with our day jobs. The thing is, our brand is coming alive. We are building momentum, and it’s all been because of just putting in honest work. We give good service and make great surfboards that people like. It’s pretty simple really but it did take 5 years to get to this point. We learn new things every day. This year will be really big for us. We have lots of amazing things planned and can not wait to take our brand to the next level.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Carlsbad and I love it here. We are just out of downtown Carlsbad and there is a ton of things to do around here. We have a baby girl so we are looking for things to do with her all the time. For my go-to spots, I would suggest checking out BARIO for Mexican food. Go to Nectarine Grove for breakfast and get some paleo Coffeecake! Compass is a good spot for drinks and really good food. For fun stuff, go to the Carlsbad lagoon and go paddleboard. Surfing of course is fun all over the coastline. The entire coastline has access so you will have no problem finding some fun waves uncrowded. Oceanside beaches are great for walks since it’s a flat beach. The wild animal park is close and the safari zoo. explore!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve been working in the action sports industry for over 20 years. I have a handful of people that have helped me in different ways. A big shout out to Mike Shanahan for giving me a chance to prove myself and give me the freedom and opportunity. Mike was my boss and owner at ENVY skateboards back in the late 90s and early 2000s. A big shout out to my friend and old boss Ron Blomquist who owned Plumeria / Dick Brewer Surfboards. He also gave me freedom and the opportunity to create my own job. He let me find ways to help the company where showed my most interest which made me want to work even harder. Another mentor was Britt Galland who also saw something in me and gave me a dream job at such a young age. I was in my early 20s and Britt gave me so many opportunities. He also installed a quality that I take on today and an approach to always trying to be my best. He said, “make yourself irreplaceable.” When I slacked he would be the first to call me out. He was a little hard on me but it is okay. It made me try harder. Those 3 bosses really set me up to be able to take on anything I want. I feel like I can make things happen as long as I try. Those lessons are priceless!
Photos by www.theogdenstudio.com