How would you change the BMX industry?

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2/18/2016 12:18 PM

This is my first post. I'm writing here to get your feedback on what makes a great BMX company and how we can change the industry. I welcome you to reach out to me - may we can change the industry together.

My dream was never to be a pro rider (I have never been good enough and that's not where my life took me) but I love to ride. So, where did I end up? Corporate job, law school, marketing manager, small business owner - all with a high level of success. Yet, no matter where life takes me, I always come back to riding. There's a certain level of satisfaction I get from the freedom and creativity that can be explored on two wheels that I fail to find elsewhere.

Recently, a friend and I were discussing venture funds, small business, and how many small industries have been overtaken by companies that care little for their customers and cannot relate to their own products. On the flip side, many of the companies that have a passion for their products lack the ability to create marketing and distribution channels that keep their business alive. This is especially true in the BMX industry. We've seen too many great rider-owned companies come and go while corporate juggernauts that see riders as dollar signs continue to thrive.

Among these thoughts, it hit me - as a financially stable rider that doesn't need to make his living from BMX, why not start a bike company? If a profit is scratched out then great. If we lose a few thousand dollars per year, I'd still keep running shop. But here is the thing... I don't want to be like the other companies. I don't want to be the rider owned operation that lasts five years and disappears. Yet, I don't want to be the corporate juggernaut that puts profit over people.

Below are the four tenants of equity I have scratched out thus far:

Team Equity
Provide the pro team with an equity stake in the company that expires upon their departure. Pay each team member a dividend of a shared profits pool. Grant team members a fair share in profits from signature products.

Community Equity
Dedicate a set percentage of company profits to fund projects that further the sport of freestyle BMX. Specifically, donate funds from a share profits pool that aids communities in building dirt jumps and skateparks.

Grassroots 'Equity'
A rebate program that awards grassroots supporter of the brand by giving post purchase discounts to those who rep us. This program keeps the incentive for shops by taking the profits from the company rather than local bike shops. It creates an incentive for riders to support the brand by providing a superior price.

Shop Equity
Provide shops with deep discounts based on volume ordered, thus enabling small bike shops to turn larger profits on a more competitively priced product.

I would love to hear your input on what would make a BMX company more than a brand and how the BMX industry could be further democratized. What can we do (short of making it a non-profit, which actually makes it more expensive due to the normal taxation on profits plus the added cost of administering the non-profit) that would change the BMX industry?

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2/18/2016 12:55 PM

The best and easiest way to make bmx awesomer, put Steve crandall in charge

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2/18/2016 1:23 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/18/2016 1:28 PM

For what makes a company more than a company, a GREAT example is Chad Degroot and his brand Deco. He owns a shop (Mr. Bikes and Boards in Orlando), a brand (Deco), and runs all kinds of Jams, donates all kinds of stuff for other's jams, has rails that locals can come and use to session out front of the shop, he treats riders well, and most of them respect him for it. He is ACTIVE in his local scene and his brands are active in BMX.

I think that right there is a GREAT way to get your brand to be more than just a company. Respecting those who support you, be it that you gave them a sticker and a hi five for landing a trick, threw them a deal on a part, or straight up signed them to the team. Treating riders well. Even if they aren't on your team, they represent you by buying your products, and displaying your logo. Also respecting riders on other teams.

Don't bash other brands because you don't care for them. A little joking is ok, S&M and Volume did a little messing around like that in the past, which was fun, but straight up calling another brand crap or whatever is just pointless, and you lose respect fast.

Being active in BMX locally to where your company is, and even having the occasional trip elsewhere with a jam at a park there. Showing BMX that you care. Seeing owners being out and about with the trips or jams to me is a huge thing, interacting with the riders and such.

Supporting the dealers that sell the products. Contacting the shops and asking how it is going, what is and isn't selling, and giving ideas on how to set the merchandise up for sale.

Team support-taking good care of the team, paying a fair wage, and being totally transparent about what is expected as a team rider.

Team trips or videos-having the team riders create edits that kids can see and relate to will gain more fans, and in turn sell more products. Look around the forums here by searching a pros name, and you will find a LOT of people supporting the brands they ride for, in many cases because "soandso rides for X brand, and the parts are solid". A killer team seems to equal support in and of itself.

Be reasonably priced, especially coming in as a new brand. Don't expect kids to shell out hard earned cash (and lots of it) without any reviews or proof showing the parts are "indestructible" etc. Kids want to see it is good, not be told in writing.

Make the parts look good. Kids buy based on appearance a LOT, have a few color options and clean welds/designs.

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"Hey anybody ever make that mistake like right when you wake up in the morning and you believe in yourself?" -Kyle Kinane

"BIKES!" -Tom Segura

2/18/2016 1:52 PM

get rid of most of the companies

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2/18/2016 1:58 PM

ticaleb wrote:

get rid of most of the companies

What would you suggest for a model to achieve this goal? I am very interested to hear input and how you would approach a new BMX brand. I believe one of the difficulties in adopting a co-op model is that the company is put at a greater risk of failure with more than one or two down years.

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2/18/2016 2:07 PM

knowing the difference between NLGI 000 and NLGI 6

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2/18/2016 2:14 PM

lucasbmx2016 wrote:

What would you suggest for a model to achieve this goal? I am very interested to hear input and how you would approach a new ...more

no idea. i just think the industry would be better off with a lot less companies and a lot less SKU's. i don't need 73 options for the same part. if the support could be given to a handful of companies instead of spread out to however many companies there are now, i think that would be ideal. how to make that happen? fuck if i know.

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2/18/2016 2:23 PM

ticaleb wrote:

get rid of most of the companies

lucasbmx2016 wrote:

What would you suggest for a model to achieve this goal? I am very interested to hear input and how you would approach a new ...more

Honestly coming in with stronger, lighter parts and a lower price than most with a solid team that has very skilled riders that puts out numerous insane videos would put any company on the fast track to popularity/sustainability.

That's not an easy task out of the gate. Having a few parts that are made REALLY REALLY well and look good would be a great starting point, and as the success comes in from there, expand to more parts. Maybe offer seatposts, bar ends, sprockets, stems, and hubs and go from there. In time you can look into bars, cranks, forks and frames.

BUT the hard part is that for the most part you can pick two from cheap/light/strong.

Going cheap means lower quality usually, going strong can come with weight on parts or high price, and going light typically means either really expensive, or low quality/high breakage. There is a fine balance point.

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"Hey anybody ever make that mistake like right when you wake up in the morning and you believe in yourself?" -Kyle Kinane

"BIKES!" -Tom Segura

2/18/2016 2:31 PM

the biggest contribution to bmxing , build a park , Invest in wood , gain audience , push metal

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2/18/2016 3:08 PM

I'm just gonna say this.. less hate, we all do the same thing there's no need to hate each other.

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2/18/2016 3:14 PM

grumpySteve wrote:

The best and easiest way to make bmx awesomer, put Steve crandall in charge

you win the internet my good sir. I was gonna say less Sean Ricany type vibes and more party and fuck shit up vibe

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Honestly? Who gives a shit. Its the fucking internet. I hate all of you equally.
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2/18/2016 3:18 PM

Invest in a company that already exists instead of just being another competitor to other companies that are trying to do the exact thing you are. Unless you're bringing something totally new to the table why compete with existing brands that are using the same materials and same geometry? Just my thoughts

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2/18/2016 3:19 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/18/2016 3:50 PM

I'll try to dive into this more later, but just wanted to make note that "team equity" does exist within some brands. I won't directly say who (if they wanted it public, it'd be public), but that idea does exist and, in my opinion, works well.

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2/18/2016 8:58 PM

grumpySteve wrote:

The best and easiest way to make bmx awesomer, put Steve crandall in charge

Agreed

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2/18/2016 9:58 PM

I'd say try to make your products simple, but effective...(quality over quantity?)Try to promote young riders and make products affordable, but have a higher end market as well. If you start this company, please don't be like one of those companies that's full of pot-smoking, pants-sagging, "sketchy" looking douche bags (nothing against pot or pot smokers) because if anything that's going to get a parent to not let their kid ride is opening up a video of riders acting like asses and doing illegal shit. I'd say try to touch every aspect of BMX too. Like stuff for flatlanders, dirt, race, street/park, or try to make products that work best for all round use. Again, simple, but effective. And really, really focus on rider input! Thought of any names yet? You definitely got a future buyer here smile Also, try to make really dialed completes! And stay away from hate tongue

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"haha, did you steal that bike? hurhrhrurhurr" "no, fuck you thats just the brand."

2/18/2016 11:05 PM

So we all agree that in order to make bmx better, we're all now only going to buy fbm parts? Maybe some S&m parts just so we have a bit of variety too. Then I'd suggest profile, sun, and odyssey for the other parts. If we all only bought from them, the world would be a better place.

I'm sure we could squeeze in a few other brands if we really need to.

In all seriousness though, I genuinely think fbm have got it right. They've stuck to their roots and done everything off their own back. They could've easily out sourced and had their parts made in Taiwan to make their profit margin bigger but they haven't. They're constantly on road trips and holding diy jams, getting locals involved etc. Out of the whole bmx industry, they're the company I look up to most, and if I ever started my own company, I'd want it to be very similar to fbm (only difference is i don't drink, and i don't like metal music, I'm a bit more settled than those guys seem)

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2/19/2016 11:14 AM

Change the big contest styles , add lots of pyrotechnics and strippers dancing in cages , with a big stage with loud metal and punk bands playing beside the courses , make it more of a spectical , more people would be stoked on it , explosions and tits make everything better

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2/19/2016 11:36 AM

grumpySteve wrote:

So we all agree that in order to make bmx better, we're all now only going to buy fbm parts? Maybe some S&m parts just so ...more

Actually they had completes for a while that were from Taiwan if I recall correctly. Designed here, but made and assembled there and shipped back here.

Their aftermarket stuff is American made though.

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"Hey anybody ever make that mistake like right when you wake up in the morning and you believe in yourself?" -Kyle Kinane

"BIKES!" -Tom Segura

2/19/2016 12:17 PM

Less assholery. Help existing companies.

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2/19/2016 1:33 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/19/2016 1:33 PM

grumpySteve wrote:

So we all agree that in order to make bmx better, we're all now only going to buy fbm parts? Maybe some S&m parts just so ...more

dave lawrence wrote:

Actually they had completes for a while that were from Taiwan if I recall correctly. Designed here, but made and assembled ...more

Yeah they did, they had 3 bikes but they were only out for one season. I guess they were testing the water to see if they could make some money out of it. It would help subsidise the American made stuff, and they're such a small company they do struggle compared to pretty much every company. They have a following of dedicated fans and if it wasn't for them, I doubt fbm could keep going. Just because they're not cool amongst the kids. They make some of the best stuff on the market, and it's all pretty. Beards and beer doesn't really appeal to 13 year old ex scooter kids though unfortunately

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2/19/2016 3:14 PM

grumpySteve wrote:

Yeah they did, they had 3 bikes but they were only out for one season. I guess they were testing the water to see if they ...more

That last sentence sums up a lot of BMX actually hahahaa.

Kids these days think Coors is beer, it's fizzy piss that is lying about being beer.

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"Hey anybody ever make that mistake like right when you wake up in the morning and you believe in yourself?" -Kyle Kinane

"BIKES!" -Tom Segura