Words: Miljan Milekić
In a world where sustainability and recycling are less than some boring, scary words, and more a necessity, small businesses such as LCC Woodwork can bring a little glimpse of the future. Rising from the Osijek, Croatia-based skateboarding collective of the same name, which grew to be much more, LCC Woodwork came to life with a simple, yet powerful idea. Under the slogan “Vozi, Slomi, Nosi” (Rise, Break, Wear) they are turning old, broken skateboards into various other projects, giving them a new life. We caught up with our long-time friend and the current mastermind behind the project, Andrej Mikulić, to bring you their story.
First of all, thank you for your time to do this.
Andrej: Sorry for waiting like three years for this interview!
So, tell me what LCC is, and when did you start it?
Andrej: LCC stands for skate crew from Osijek, and we began to use it in 2011, or 2012. It’s an acronym for something very personal and stupid for a few of us, and we keep the real meaning for ourselves. But for public use, we say it’s “Lijepi Cvjetići Cvjetaju” (Nice Flowers Bloom) or “Local Crew Commitment.” Or any 3 words phrase that starts with LCC. As for the LCC Woodwork, I think that project started early in 2016, and it’s based on recycling broken skateboard decks into some new and useful products. Very simple, you have an idea for something and you try it. (laughs)
Who is behind the LCC name, and how did you get together?
Andrej: LCC has two paths, one is our crew which includes all skaters from our local skate park in Osijek, and another is a woodworking project which was founded by El Hefe, CEO, and head engineer Boris Čolović. He lacked the name for the project, so he simply chose our crew name to be a brand name. Usually, he is a lot more creative with other things. (laughs). I saw on his Instagram that he started sanding broken skate decks, and loved the idea instantly.
One day I was drinking coffee in his workshop and he was showing me how he does it. I immediately fell in love with the noises his tools were producing. It felt so relaxing and frustrating at the same time, and I asked him if I could be his apprentice. (laughs) He was working with only one tool and sanding papers, so I offered him to buy some better tools – a belt sander, better saw, clamps, and other basic woodworking tools. Basically, I bought my place in his project, because I had no woodworking skills, but he was patient enough to teach me the basics, and the rest is history.
What are the idea and the inspiration behind the project, and how long did it take to bring it to life?
Andrej: I really think Boris was inspired by Haroshi, a Japanese woodworker famous for his sculptures made from skateboard decks. He made a trophy for Battle at the Berrics game of skate contest, which we were watching for years. Apart from that, Boris is just a crazy guy. (laughs) I can’t describe him any other way than a crazy, positive person, and when he sets his mind on something he is 100% in it.
Another inspiration is his father Rajko also called Raja, a living legend, a skilled craftsman with a lot of work and life experience. He taught us almost everything we know about it, and he was a great help with his creative solutions for all our problems. I think the first presentation of our products was in June 2016 at the street art contest in Vukovar. Such a mess – we didn’t care about anything – just beers, and skating, but still managed to earn some money and reputation points in that community.
Where do you see LCC in the skateboarding scene of Osijek and Croatia?
Andrej: Well, first I’m gonna laugh a lot about this question before answering. Or not answering will speak for itself? In my opinion, the Croatian skate scene is very fragile, and has lots of potential, but lacks skate shops, sponsors, and any kind of investments into this fast-growing industry. There are a lot of fractions in the scene, and that doesn’t help our little skate community. Skaters are not sticking together, so it makes it much harder to develop the scene, organize contests, or any other activities. We all hope it will get better with time.
How did the skate and extreme sports community, in general, accept what you do, and what were reactions from people outside the skateboarding world?
Andrej: In general, people who are not part of that scene don’t realize that products are recycled skate decks and that enlightenment on their faces is precious. We really think people accepted it fine because it’s a new way of reusing skate decks, and we are still riding as much as we can, so the brand speaks for itself, I guess. I think stickers stole the show, so it’s the number one product. (laughs)
You focus on different things, from creating clothing, various accessories, and other products to the concert organization. What do you see as your biggest, and the most important works so far?
Andrej: I really can’t point to something that will get the gold medal. We are proud of all our products, events, workshops, and stands at festivals, all of which made such great memories and new friendships, followed by hours and hours of swearing and frustration in a dusty workshop with worn fingers. If I must highlight something, that would be our sticker game in 2016 and 2017. We were fanatics, never leaving the house without at least 100 stickers, and getting back home with some stickers left was a shame. No one and nothing was spared, we were everywhere, LCC EVERYWHERE! The game is different these days, but we are working on it. (laughs)
Where can we see, and how can we get your products?
Andrej: Our products are available on Facebook and Instagram. Little DIY profiles for presenting our work. You can also find us under hashtags: #elcece #lccwoodwork #vozislominosi.
You have great momentum going, so what are your plans for the future?
Andrej: No plans, we were always without a plan, and those little plans we had, were always a huge battle to stick to. So we are keeping it our way, that’s just our path. We never liked that strict way of setting our goals, the focus was on quality products, and huge amounts of stickers, other things will happen somehow. We enjoy time spent in the workshop and forcing anything ruins all that fun.
Although the last few years were hard – Boris left me alone and moved to Zagreb hunting his medical career. (laughs) But that’s life. So I’m all alone, it makes things harder, but he will eventually return to Osijek, capital is not a place for such a wild spirit, but we’ll see. I don’t like being alone in the workshop, so our new photographer Marin Stupar is often with me, giving me the push I need. Plans – new clothing sometime in the future, new products, and more fun! (laughs) Peace out from LCC Woodwork. Vozi, slomi, nosi!