Beginning of 2020, Indy Jamma Jones announced that she is going to create videos on Planet Roller Skate EVERY.SINGLE.DAY! A decision that kinda comes close to giving up privacy and basically living on YouTube. But her step came as no surprise (if you read the interview with Indy around a year ago in our fourth issue). Indy, who legally goes by Amy West, built the world of Planet Roller Skate to be able to go full time with roller skating. A thing that not many people managed so far. Her YouTube channel is fun and super successful and she keeps growing her audience. And it has been only three years since she started it. A thing that seems to have changed though: her newer videos started to get way more personal. Smart move. Because it makes her more authentic and approachable (you know, she seemed a bit on another planet compared to the average human, like Roller Woman…). While this new concept of PRS is only a few days young and we are watching what else she has up her sleeve, here is the interview from DogDays #4 where Indy told us what it takes to start a successful business on roller skates.
Hi Indy, how did you come up with the idea for Planet Roller Skate?
The idea came from thousands of different inspirations. But mainly it was at a time when I was teaching many people how to skate. Whenever people skate down the street for the first time something happens. They get a spark in their eye and feel a freedom associated with being a child. It’s almost like the world transforms for them. I realized that if we want to create any real change there needs to be a shift in perspective, and roller skates did this for so many people. For me Planet Roller Skate is this shift in perspective. It’s the world full of opportunity you see when there are wheels on your feet. My goal is to share that experience with as many people as possible. To achieve that I knew I had to teach people how to skate. That’s when I started my YouTube channel.
How much time do you invest into producing your videos?
First off I was filming for a year before I successfully could make an episode. In that year I was trying to get good at talking to the camera and gain confidence presenting information. There was a lot of experience and hours of practice to put in before I even got to the point to make an episode. (Side note: Indy lost all the footage from that first year. Her car got stolen, so it is all just gone)
The first time I had a solid idea for an episode was for “What is a roller skate”. I probably filmed the episode three times before I was satisfied. The filming always went pretty fast. But it took me about 18 hours to edit some of my first episodes. Now the editing takes me four hours and posting to all the different platforms also takes about four hours. That’s the time-consuming part.
What advice would you give someone who wants to make a living from skating?
To be honest: I think living in Los Angeles is the only way I am able to make it work. I moved here from Texas three years ago to pursue skating. Good weather, lots of willing skate students, film and performance job opportunities, and being home to so many skate companies makes becoming a professional skater or even YouTuber much more realistic. Before I was able to make my YouTube profitable I had to have so many different skills and be able to do many different things. You also have to be very flexible, be willing to sacrifice financial comfort and security, and not be afraid to take big risks. But definitely living in LA is a huge benefit, especially if you are filming. It’s not impossible to do elsewhere, but it will take being incredibly pro-active, seeking great mentors, and lots of hard work.
Did you ever got to the point where you questioned everything or you struggled?
Every day (laughs). Sometimes I think: what if I just get a job tomorrow. I could make so much money and then skating could be my hobby again. But I love being my own boss and I love being able to share something I love with people and hear the stories about how their lives have changed.
What’s your goal with Planet Roller Skate?
I am looking at the bigger picture. That keeps me going. I would love so many things. Books, songs, tours. I will always be looking for sponsors both in and outside of skating. But my number one focus is to keep listening to my audience and giving them exactly what they need. And their questions are just not stopping. The more skaters we have the more videos I will have to make to answer all of their questions. It’s a beautiful and rewarding cycle.