Tiny New York City apartments aren’t exactly breeding grounds for creativity, but Lauren Andino and her boyfriend, Derek Mabra, managed to start an entire company out of their living room in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood in 2011.
When the couple first met, Mabra realized he had to up his game to get as good at skating as his girlfriend. Just a few years later, the pair channeled their mutual passion for stakeboarding into a viable business. Crafting retro, custom-made skateboards, which quickly became cult favorites, the pair built DL Skateboards from the ground up.
Each DL Cruiser, as they’re called, is shaped like a small version of a surfboard and hand-painted, making it unique. “We found solid planks of cured oak, drew our shape from scratch, and hand made what we really think is the coolest skateboard in the world,” the duo writes on their website.
But New York was too confining, and even after moving the workshop to a truck on the street, they decided to pack up for the more board-able boulevards of the West Coast. Andino and Mabra relocated to Topanga Canyon, California, where they have room for a woodshop and—despite avoiding PR or advertising—have blossomed in their niche, being featured in Vogue and Cool Hunter. In January 2013, the pair told The New York Daily News that they draw their inspiration for the hand-painted boards from “the 60s, surf style, or a classic kid toys. So even if you get the same design, each board is different.”