So you've met Wisconsin's Max Murphy. Now meet Minnesota's Ben Narloch. His name actually sounds a bit to the Scottish side, but I never really asked about his heritage in this interview. In fact, I mostly asked a lot of nonsense, but in my book that's how you get to know someone best.
So which is it, Max or Hank? Because I’ll be honest, I was confused as fuck at first and didn't know what the hell to call you.
My name is Max, but my nickname is Hank. I was probably 19 or 20 when my friends started calling me Hank. It was during the flip phone era, and I was at my friend joshs having a barbecue when I got a text message saying “hank?” My friend Tim had tried to text me “ganja?” but his flip phone autocorrected it to “hank.” So after that all my close friends always called me Hank.
Growing up, I had what you could call "Nike envy." (Yeah, yeah, First World problems, I get it, but just go with my consumerism malady for the sake of story time.) The brand wasn't even remotely close to the sandlot of our family household budget, so whenever a new school year rolled around and it was time to upgrade my sneakers I knew it was just another bummer of a trip to the local shoe store. This was right around the time the first Air Jordans were released, too, which only further irked my inner green-eyed monster—or rather the red- black- and white-eyed monster, I guess—as I sulked out of Shippy Shoes with yet another damn pair of price-point New Balance* on my feet.
Well, hoot and holler and all that because we survived our first full year as a company. Woohoo! StrangeLove first stumbled out of the gate much later in 2018 than hoped—a midsummer release was originally planned but production delays put us further into early fall, which, in turn, bumped our projected Halloween releases well into Christmas and… St. Patrick's Day?! Yep, that's right. Best laid plans and all that idiomatic jazz, you know, especially when it comes to gambling on positioning in the screen-printing queue.
You know what's fun about running your own skateboard company? Being able to fulfill all sorts of silly fantasies. The flip side to this, however, is that in my whimsical case it often means doing so to my own detriment, because running is only a typo away from ruining—but not today! No, today will not be yet another instance of me shooting myself in the foot, because I finally feel like I managed to successfully stitch up a loose thread that's been dangling through my life.