So what’s your full name and where are you from?
David Lee Mckinney and Im from San Diego, California.
Growing up in a different country, how was it finding skateboarding?
Growing up in Japan and skateboarding was hard, access to boards and other skate stuff was really limited. We had to order our boards, etc. from the back of Thrasher and shipping could take up to 2 months.
A little taste of what hangs on the walls in the creative studio at Edison.
Did you and your brother and friends just skate street or did you guys have skateparks?
We were lucky enough to have a skatepark with lights that had a small 8ft tall vert ramp and another 8ft quarterpipe that rolled in to a roller skating rink. We filled the skating rink with DIY jump ramps, wall rides and any other contraption we could steal enough wood for. Having an older brother who skated helped a lot, he and his friends helped build most of our ramps.
When did you move to the states, and why?
I moved back to San Diego in November of 1989. My father was retiring from the Navy and they decided SD was the best spot to live.
Have you ever done any other sports or D.I.Y crafting as a kid?
The only other sport prior to skateboarding was Motocross. My older brother and Dad were into racing and seriously wanted me to follow in their footsteps. But as soon as I found skateboarding, that’s all I wanted do.
I grew up with my father being a hot rod and motorcycle junkie. So I was always surrounded by that DIY, handcrafted scene. Till this day my family owns and runs a motorsports shop based out of Temecula.
Backside Wallride right after hitting Pizzeria Luigiz.
at was the first skate company that you worked for and what did you do, and
how did you land the job?
The first skate company I worked for was Osiris Shoes. I designed the Apparel for both Osiris and 88 Footwear. I had already become friends with the Brian and some of the crew at Osiris via the SD skate scene. So when the position became available I was able to secure a interview and got the job.
What did it feel like working for a company and designing apparel, something you were obviously already passionate about, but what was it like working under Osiris’s wing?
I was super hyped to get offered the chance to work in the industry. I think everyone who grew up skating wanted a chance to work in skateboarding. Osiris was an interesting place to work at. Not only was it a weird time in skateboarding but Osiris was also under going huge team changes. But, i it was the perfect stepping stone for me at the time.
Frontside Lipslide OB Park
Now you’ve worked for a few different skate brands, what has been your favorite in particular and what’s the hardest part of working for them?
My favorite brand to do any type of work for was Brixton. Hands down the most authentic brand out right now. A lot of brands try to convey certain images through marketing and trends that they actually have no real roots in. Brixton’s staff is exactly as their image projects.
The hardest part for me came down to dealing with corporate mentality and the disconnect they have from real skateboarders. Like MJ was talking about, skateboarders are the ones who ultimately determine whether a company is going to be successful or not. That disconnect is and will always be the hardest part for me.
When did you decide to start sewing and making leather goods? Was it something you picked up for fun or for a career?
Leathergoods and the whole sewing thing kinda came on by accident. I had a friend who was making leather keyclips and I tagged along with him one day to the leather shop. I bought a cheesy leathercrafting kit there and started messing around. I made a couple of keychains and put them in a local store on consignment. The following day I got a call from the store and they had sold out of the keychains. From there it just kind of took of on its own.
How long have you now been running Edison?
I started Edison in 2010. So, three years now. Time flys.
A few years ago could you imagine that you’d be in this position today? Making Edison a rad grassroots leather company, having a store-front, being able to pay the bills and follow your dream?
I never could have imagined I’d be in the position I am now. So thankful for all the support. I feel really fortunate to be able to take the next step and open the first Edison brick and mortar. The space will mainly focus on the leather workshop with a small retail area. We are shooting for a early September opening.
Any advice for fellow D.I.Y. motivated skaters?
Just for them to not be afraid to try. Follow whatever your dream is and always put passion before profit.
Shout-out and Thank you’s?
So many to list but… All the homies who have been there through thick and thin with me. Zack at Typical, my family for all their support, my girl Lauren, all the brand supporters and most of all skateboarding.