By Samantha Masunaga
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Moxi” which sells retro high-top skates has built on Southern California’s rich history of roller skating to tap the fashion and fitness industries.
The women of the Moxi skate team whiz through the streets of Long Beach on their roller skates, first gliding in serpentine patterns, then performing back flips, midair splits and handstands off skateboard ramps.
These moves, as seen in YouTube videos that have netted tens of thousands of views, helped push the Moxi brand mainstream.
Today, the Long Beach company’s customers include experienced skaters as well as fashion-forward newbies attracted to the whimsically colored, retro high-top skates.
Fueled by a hot market for nostalgia and savvy social media marketing, Moxi has built on Southern California’s rich history of roller skating to tap the fashion and fitness industries.
The brand has grown from its start in 2010 to sell more than 10,000 pairs of skates last year.
In fiscal year 2018, Moxi accounted for 20 percent of the roller skate revenue reaped by its manufacturer and brand partner, storied skate maker Riedell Shoes Inc. Riedell declined to provide annual sales totals for the brand.
“I really see it as a practical thing that Americans need,” said Michelle Steilen, 35, creator and founder of Moxi.
“I wanted to create a brand that brought roller skating back to everyone.”
In Los Angeles, roller skating evokes memories of the 1980s, when skating along the beach was immortalized in Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” music video, and indoor roller rinks like Compton’s Skateland helped give rise to hip-hop in L.A. Across the country, celebrities like Janet Jackson could be seen on television, skating at indoor roller rinks during the disco craze.
Steilen first learned to roller-skate as a child growing up in Bucks County, Pa., just northeast of Philadelphia.