Let the good times and the good vibes roll! This summer, we’re keeping calm and skating on with Moxi Skates. Founded by Michelle Steilen, aka @estrojen, the LA-based brand is wheelie awesome with their cute-as-can-be colorful designs. In between skate sessions, we sat down with Michelle to discuss what makes Moxi Skates spin. Keep scrolling and rolling to learn more about Michelle Steilen and Moxi!
Life on Wheels
Just like Michelle, the Steilen family was raised on wheels from an early age. “My dad is a skateboarder. He and my younger sister, Lolly, who I named our first line of skates after, both were really good at skateboarding and would skate together. In hopes to include me, my Dad would try to get me to skateboard. I fell really hard while learning and pretty much decided right then and there that skateboarding wasn’t for me. Soon after that on one of my birthdays, my Dad surprised me with a pair of roller skates that he had come across and I instantly fell in love with them.”
Michelle Steilen’s life on wheels continued as an adult when she moved to California to pursue roller derby. However, Michelle couldn’t help but notice that most of the roller skates at the time were only available in basic black and white. “I dreamed of candy-colored roller skates and roller skates in every color of the rainbow.”
How Moxi Got the Ball Rolling
To create the colorful creations of her dreams, Michelle took matters into their own hands. Or their own skates, if you will. “I wrote to all the skate manufacturers and asked if they would be interested in helping make these skates. I heard back from Riedell, the only USA-made skate factory, and they responded that they were interested. They encouraged me to show that there was indeed a market that existed for these bright-colored skates that I dreamed of. If I could prove that, then they would help me start my own brand. So I opened a small shop on Retro Row in Long Beach, CA. With the help of some friends, I started marketing roller skating as a lifestyle that everyone could take part in.”
From the outset of the Moxi brand, Michelle was dedicated to creating skates that strived for inclusivity – on and off the rink. “There is so much joy to be found by lacing up a pair of roller skates and that feeling can be shared by anyone by simply lacing some up and going skating no matter where you are in the world. So when Moxi first started, we chose to add soft outdoor wheels to our skates so that you would be able to take them outside of the rink and still be able to attain that roller skating joy by being able to roll anywhere at any time.”
If you’ve found yourself scrolling through Tik Tok or Instagram recently, it may feel like roller skating is having a revival. However, Michelle is quick to note that, “Roller skating hasn’t died or gone anywhere. I wouldn’t say that what we are experiencing today is a ‘revival’ of any sort as the black community has been holding down roller skating in roller rinks for decades. What we are experiencing more recently are people’s need and urgency to want to find new happiness in life.”
If anything, Michelle accredits the recent roller boom to the positivity that the roller skating community radiates. “People are in need of new freedom and liberation in life these days and roller skating gives out a lot of wonderful feelings and can offer so much to many different people. One thing that makes roller skating so special is because it really is something that’s for everyone- it is inclusive and it’s diverse.”
Rolling Into the Future
In regards to what the future holds, Michelle has a wheelie awesome outlook. “I envision more people roller skating. I would love to see roller skating grow exponentially until there are millions of people finding happiness on roller skates and using them for their regular transportation. We really believe that roller skates are the shoes of the future! Moxi will continue to employ roller skaters and keep the culture within the skating community growing by empowering more entrepreneurs within roller skating.”
As for advice for new skaters just starting out, Michelle Steilen has a mantra that can be applied to skating and to life. “My advice to a new skater would be to learn to fall and get really comfortable with falling in every way possible. Everyone’s skate journey is different so enjoy the ride!”
Get Things Rolling With The Moxi Skate Team on Their Instagram!