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Feed the Engine Apparel is Up and Flying…  The Long Way Around Getting Sponsored! 

(Originally posted on fitrecovery.wordpress.com)

I’ve written about my pet project in the past, but in the process I finally found someone crazy enough to pay me to ride a bike:  Me!  It turns out sponsoring yourself is pretty expensive too…

Feed the Engine Apparel™ started with a desire to have a cycling bumper sticker for a century.  I had the 100 mile oval, but I wanted a bike on it so people wouldn’t think I ran a hundred miles because, dude, that’s crazy.

Then, two years ago I wanted Specialized to make a shirt for my Venge…  Pretty simple, a red Specialized “S” on the front and “Venge” on the back.  I tried contacting the marketing division at Specialized and my suggestion went nowhere.

The truth is, being a middle-aged cyclist, what I wanted was clothing that said I was an avid enthusiast cyclist but wasn’t designed for a teenager…  I didn’t want the ridiculous flash – and because I’d be likely working on my bike in the shirt, I wanted black rather than white (which wouldn’t last through one maintenance day).

That got me to thinking.  Why mess with trying to get someone else to make what I want?  Work was good and I had some disposable cash that my father left me, so I decided to put a chunk of it to use.  Rather than invest in someone else, I decided to invest in what I wanted rather than wait for someone else to come out with something I liked…

I pulled out a sketch pad and got to work.

Once I got the design down, I hired a Trademark/Copyright attorney and got my design, company name and tag line Trademarked.  That took a whole lot longer and cost a lot more than originally anticipated but it was finally done around the first of the year.  After that, all we had to do was get a website made, logistics and shipping figured out and marketing straightened out.

Do we mess with a storefront?  How about a warehouse?  Do we go with one of those printing websites and allow someone else to make money off of my ideas and live with their limited style selection?  Uh, no.

Let’s just say the whole process has been an interesting learning experience, turning a passion for cycling into a full-fledged company.  It’s not cheap, it’s not easy and it’s anything but quick


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