So in case I haven't mentioned it a 1000 times - this week was Interbike - the cycling industries yearly convention. This was my first time here and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually know a little about a lot. The past two months have been meeting after meeting with sales reps figuring out what I want to carry in the shop. Its a constantly evolving lineup. Initially it was on-line only...then a brick and mortar...first a clothing boutique...then a true bike shop in all senses of the word. I feel confident in the direction I am headed and hope that y'all like what I have picked out.
Interbike afforded me the opportunity to actually see, touch and use many of the products I had been considering. This was so invaluable as things are just NOT the same online or in a catalog. This really drove home to me the reason that distributors basically required me to be a "brick and mortar" store. You just can not fully appreciate these products without seeing them in your hands and trying them out.
Being here surrounded by the things (and people) that I love and admire was amazing. And the ability to come in and support a smaller manufacturer or supplier is something that is near and dear to my heart. In many ways the biking industry still has a sense of artistry about it.
Some of my high points.....
Artcrank - just amazing to see this gallery of art. I have followed and admired Artcrank from afar for a long time and was privileged to not only meet Charles, the man behind it, but also to purchase a piece of art for the shop. I look forward to the upcoming show in LA.
surly - great steel bikes and eccentric employees that love them. No pretentiousness about having to qualify to sell their stuff. You like it and want to sell it? We have the confidence that you can and will. Plus there was some weird fox taxidermy and a sales rep that happened to be carrying a hunting knife. Minneapolis company of course. I need to move there. I wish the weather just wasn't so shitty for 5 months of the year.
twin six - I love this line of clothing - another favorite thing out of minneapolis.
shebeest - the return of one of my favorite lines of women's cycling apparel happens this spring. The styles are much the same, the patterns and colors are great. The clothing is classic, at great price points and accessible to all women. This is one of the few lines that always had plus size offerings in their lines, and that is so important to me.
The shimano tech guys - I am planning on upgrading my road bike to DI2. Now - I know how to wrench in a very basic fashion, and can follow directions well, but a tech guy basically walked me through the steps of Di2 installation on a very busy sales floor. He gave me his time and skills and I was so appreciative.
Seeing - if not meeting - some of the people I most admire in the business and bike blogging world. Charles from artcrank, Robin from Pedal Chic, Sarai from girlbikelove. I never got to see bike shop girl, but hopefully next year.
This list could go on and on (George Hincapie - in person!) but I feel so much more a part of this business now. Of course there was the usual "boy's club" from some vendors, but I will do as I always did and vote with my dollars. If you don't have time to respect women's cycling - I have no money for you. Even if you are one of the biggest brands in the industry.
So - after two days and a slight case of the Vegas flu, tomorrow I head home. I have a shop to open.