A while ago, we managed to catch up with Samara Pepperell, AKA Lady Trample, co-founder of the amazing Chicks In Bowls. Between her busy schedule of touring, teaching, playing roller derby and running the business, Lady Trample was kind enough to answer some questions for us…
Chicks In Bowls is a very well known name now among keen quad skaters and almost everyone in the roller derby scene. How did it all start?
Back in 2012 I was in my rookie year of rollerskating. Right at the end of the year I met a skater called Michelle Cutthroat who had just moved over to NZ. I was taking her on a skating tour of the city and she asked if there were any local skateparks. I was very confused by the request but went along with it anyway. Cutthroat jumped on the miniramp at Victoria Skatepark and proceeded to blow my mind. I watched her drop in and stall and wanted nothing more than to do it myself. That day Cutthroat taught me how to pump and roll and I was addicted. Over the coming weeks we became inseparable. We hit the ramps in every spare moment and progressed pretty quickly. It wasn’t long before we had drawn other local quad skaters out. We had a pretty rad posse and one day after hearing something Cutthroat said, I went home and whipped up a little logo for our gang. I formed a page for us to post up our falls and stalls. Over the coming months the page started to grow in interest. My partner at the time, Nick, had also gotten into park skating and had built us a minicamp. We decided to do something with this awesome community I had accidentally connected with and that’s when CIB really came into itself.
When you first got CIB together, what were your plans and ideas for the brand? Was it on the cards to always become a brand?
When we first started, we were running blind. We had a passion for this new adventure and wanted to share it with the world. The goal of CIB was to show skaters around the globe what this sport was and create opportunities for people to learn it. We built a website and started to come up with some designs. Nick used his background in skateboarding and experience on skates to develop the CIB Sliders. While all this was happening, we were contacted by some amazing skaters in Argentina who wanted to form a crew to share the passion in their local community and that was the birth of the CIB Chapters.
Our brand has grown since we first started and there have been some amazing experiences and opportunities we hadn’t planned for, but the mission has and always will be the same. To spread the stoke for this amazing sport and make it more accessible to skaters around the globe.
You are known for your roller derby skills as well as your skate park skills. How do the two types of skating compare? Do you have a preference?
For me I have two passions that complement each other. Derby for me is my team sport. We work together for a united goal. There is structure and goals and rules. Ramps is freedom of expression. I push myself as hard and far as I can go in a day. I set goals and I don’t frump if I don’t achieve them because my time on ramps knows no limits. I don’t prefer one over the other. I do know that my time in derby is limited… don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on retiring any time soon, however there will come a time when I am no longer playing competitively. There is a balance for me right now, and its slightly tilted towards my derby training.. I need my time on the ramps just as much as my time on the tracks.
We were lucky to have a chance to play a very small part on your European Tour this year. What are the best and worst parts of touring?
Touring is the ultimate adventure; you get to see so many amazing parts of the world. The only complaint is the schedule was so jam packed (pun intended), that we only got to see snippets of all the amazing places we visited. Thats hardly a complaint though. We had so many wonderful adventures and experiences. There are lots of places we’ll be returning to for sure!
Who are your idols, skating and non-skating?
I am blessed to have a life full of inspiring people. I could list a bunch of names of people I know within the community, like my coaches, competition and most importantly my amazing team mates in both derby and ramps, or the forerunners of these sports that have lead the way for the next generation of rollerskaters, however I’d like to highlight some incredible people who inspire me outside of the quad world, like my best friend Sam Dowdall who runs a charity called Barter Barber, a travelling barbershop trading meals and donations for haircuts, he uses the opportunity to open conversation in the community about mental health issues. Another close friend has recently started a community of female skateboarders in Melbourne, Thrusher, you should check them out. I think what inspires me the most about these people is that they have taken their passion and turned it into something they get to share with the world. I am inspired by the risk takers who put their heart on their sleeve and share their passion freely.
How would you describe your skating styles?
I’m often referred to as graceful however that is not how it feels for me. I feel strong when I put on my skates. I’m aggressive and I won’t shy away from a hit.. or from hitting the bowl. I like to laugh, and experiment and enjoy my time on skates. We’re not paid to play so I have to enjoy what I’m doing, otherwise, what’s the point!
Chicks in bowls has brought in this trend of sleeveless denim jackets with patches on. Where did that come from?
My business partner Nick is a tattoo artist and I think a lot of the designs we created lent themselves to that style naturally. I really like the ability to express yourself through patches. You collect pieces that tell little stories about what excites or inspires you, and when I see CIB patches as part of peoples’ collections that inspires me.
Did you intend to start a fashion, or was that completely unexpected?
Everything about the CIB adventure has been a surprise. I have a BFA in graphic design but I have always had an interest in fashion. A lot of what we create is a collaboration. Either myself or Nick will come up with a design or concept and then we’ll experiment with the different ways it can be used. It’s a wonderful feeling to see something come from a sketch on a pad, to a wearable item.
Is Chicks In Bowls now your full time job?
CIB is a full-time job that we both do part time.
I’m very lucky to be able to live a very full life. I work 2-3 days a week for CIB, often catching up on emails – sorry guys, and then working on designs, products and all the different hats I get to wear within that role. I also work part time in Marketing helping other start ups…. and then in my ‘spare time’ I skate ramps and train and coach… oh and plan future tours!
What advice would you give to people who want to start up something as unique and successful as CIB?
Find your passion and follow it. The people I mentioned above inspire me most and have found success because they are doing something they believe in. If you don’t believe in your idea, no one else ever will.
Thank you so much to the very talented Lady Trample for this awesome interview! We love hearing about the background of brands and how they have grown. We hope to get another opportunity to take part in future CIB tours!
Be sure to check out our range of Chicks In Bowls products on our website and drop us any questions you have via email or Facebook.