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The Spinja: Ricky The Ninja Sign Spinner



Martial Arts and Sign Spinning go hand and hand. That's why some people have called us sign spinning ninjas, or a  spinja for short. But we can't take all the credit for it, because there is really only one true Spinja. And that man is Ricky Thesenga out of Seattle. He's known for starting sign spinning in the Pacific North West when no one else would.

"Spinja" is more than just a cool nickname for Ricky. He sees it as a merger of cultural heritage and new world skills. After all, Ricky is Japanese-American and he spins signs. So it's a natural fit for his background, his heritage, and if you know him, his personality.

Ricky had a rare opportunity and everything just ended up working out the way that it did. Ricky wasn't from a huge business background or business school. Rather, he just went out there and did it. There was plenty of ups and downs, and learning opportunities, but Ricky wouldn't be who he is today without those experiences. Ricky began his journey as The Spinja with a moment of serendipity.

 

Ricky is a sign spinning Ninja Ricky is a sign spinning Ninja

The Spinja: Origins

Years ago, Ricky had suddenly lost his job as a machine worker in Seattle. With a family at home, Ricky quickly sourced other work at a temp labor agency. In no time, he rose the ranks and became a manager overseeing the operations and odd jobs that came his way. One day at the agency, one his clients had requested human directionals, or sign holders as they are commonly known. (You can probably already see where we're going with this)

The client wasn't happy, as the service she was receiving was awful. Half of the employees were off the corner, and the other half just stood there. Sound familiar? So Ricky was quick to respond on the scene. He got some new people out there and had requested them to move around like the real sign spinners on the internet. Then big surprise, one of the temp laborers spun actual signs for AArrow back in California. So between the two, Ricky was able to reverse engineer sign spinning internet videos and have his team do some of the basic maneuvers and tricks.

Instantly, the client changed her mood and was satisfied. Ricky not only learned how to be a sign spinner, but how to manage sign spinners. He knew then that there was something more to sign spinning than just temp labor. It wasn't until his happy client told him that he should be in business for himself that he put it all together.

Ricky Sign Spinning in Seattle Ricky Sign Spinning in Seattle

Enter Creative Ads

So Ricky set out to make his own signs, and find his own client and just try it out. Ricky had everything: the management, the sign spinning, the sales experience, but most of all he had the entrepreneurial spirit. And sometimes that's all it takes, because the first place Ricky walked into wanted 5 sign spinners at multiple locations across the Seattle area. Ricky's sign spinning business, Creative Ads, was born overnight.

Ricky would run Creative Ads as a part time project for a few years until he finally decided to take the leap of faith and spin signs full time. Little did he know, there was no going back to a normal life after being a sign spinner. Sign spinning was simply a success in the Pacific North West. Ricky and his team of Spinjas had spun signs all over the Pacific North West - all over Washington and Oregon with some awesome clients and homegrown sign spinners. Naturally, they became awesome at sign spinning (any number of hours on a street corner will level you up) and the only natural course was to have a PNW Sign Spinning competition. Ricky didn't know it then, but his sign spinning career was about to go to the next level.

 

Ricky and the Seattle Spinjas Ricky and the Seattle Spinjas

 

Accidentally AArrow

So how did Creative Ads and the Spinjas exactly end up becoming AArrow? Well the whole thing was a happy accident involving Mike Kenny, a competition, and a Space Needle. Ricky was trying to host the first Seattle sign spinning competition and was trying to book space at the Seattle center near the space needle. Somehow, his email was slightly similar to AArrow Cofounder Mike Kenny's email and they ended up looped into the same chain about sign spinning championships. Mike reached out to Thesenga and invited him to LA to talk about joining forces and the rest was history.

Since joining AArrow, Ricky's business exploded (in a good way). National branding, access to state of the art training material, network of sign spinning reps, and the AArrow business model would transform Creative Ads into the success that it is today. Seattle sign spinners regularly place in the top 10 sign spinners at the World Sign Spinning Championship and you can see their red shirts and signature moves all over the Pacific North West.

 

Best Sign Spinners in Seattle Best Sign Spinners in Seattle

Once a sign spinner, always a sign spinner

Ricky Thesenga knows just like anyone at AArrow, if you aren't having fun, then you're doing it wrong. That's why Ricky isn't afraid to wear the red AArrow Polo and hit the street corners himself. It's one thing to talk about doing work, but its another to roll up your sleeves and brace the elements, and SPIN IT!

Ricky's favorite tricks line up with his Spinja spirit, he's all about sword slashes. He's all about spinning anywhere in downtown Seattle, its such a cool environment. His favorite pizza is supreme, of course it is. And when he isn't spinning or running AArrow (which is rare), he's a busy being a family man. Ricky actually is a father of 5 and his household is just as busy as his business. Big shout out to you Ricky and everything you have accomplished! Glad to have you on the team :)

Ricky Thesenga is the Real Spinja

Ricky Thesenga is the Real Spinja

Click here to check out more from AArrow Seattle!

Click here to check out Ricky's story on the news!

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