Nothing is better than seeing skateboarding grow and become accessible to all new generations and individuals.
Babes Brigade is a Toronto-based, women’s skateboarding group/business that is embodying that vision and making it a reality. United sat down with the founder/owner, Stephanie Battieste, to shed a little light on Babes Brigade, what the group is up to, and what plans it may have for 2017.
For those who don’t know (and trust me, they definitely need too), give us the details on Babes Brigade– What’s it all about? Where, when and how did it start?
Babes Brigade is a women’s skateboarding group and brand. It all started in August 2015. I had an idea to create a Facebook page as a way to connect with other women who skateboard. After spending 8 years skating downtown Toronto and almost always being the only girl, I started to see things change. More girls were hitting the skate park and I thought if we all found a way to connect we could meet up and skate together; I decided to make that happen once a week. I used the Facebook page as a platform to connect and it grew quicker then I expected. Back when I started the group, I also owned a clothing and accessories company, that was quickly put on the back burner. I was now not only hosting weekly meet ups but also hosting contests and events geared at girls and women who skateboard in the downtown core and surrounding areas, as far as North Bay. I decided to make Babes Brigade my main focus; we now offer weekly skate lessons to girls ages 6-17 and women ages 18 and up. The group, which is now also a company, keeps me busy on a full time basis.
Personally, I back it. I have followed Babes Brigade on Instagram for quite some time now. Seeing how it has grown, it reminds me how female skateboarding has done nothing but progress these past 5-10 years; it has been wonderful to see. Tell me more of what you’d like to see in regards to the growth of skate culture/female skate culture!
For me personally my ultimate goal is to create a women’s skateboarding industry. I would like to see women being able to live off skateboarding, this is rare for men and women. My part is running the group and business, creating job opportunities through instructing, photographing or film. In order for an industry to exist there must be money coming in and going out. I believe that everyone should be paid to do what they love. For some of the ladies that’s working as a paid photographer specifically for a skate mag, for others the dream of traveling and getting paid as a pro skater is just as tangible a dream. So my part is to create opportunities for these ladies to pursue their dreams.
What’s in store for Babes Brigade in 2017?
I am in the midst of planning our third Women’s Skate Contest. We are in the fifth month of teaching lessons and continue meeting up once a week to skate. I would like to release an apparel line, Babes Brigade branded skate decks and continue to work with other members of the community hosting events and inspiring girls and women to skate. In the long term I hope to grow this business enough to have chapters in Montreal, Vancouver and New York.
Which females skaters should people be on the lookout for? Who’s killing it right now in your opinion?
When it comes to street skating, Gabriela Mazetto has got the technical tricks down to an art, she doesn’t just land them she skates with mad style and ease. In regards to vert skaters, the well known Lizzie Armanto, sponsored by Vans is getting so big in popularity she is showing other women that is possible to make a living as a female skater.
What advice do you have for people wanting to start/organize their own skate-clubs?
It is important to find a platform to connect with other female skaters. It is also crucial that you are social and not afraid to let people know about the group. It does take a devotion of time and a real passion to continually run the group but if you love what your doing, the rest is easy.
Don’t forget to follow Stephanie [@babes.boss] and Babes Brigade [@babes_brigade] on Instagram to show support and stay updated!