With the shear amount of clothing companies stuffed onto the limited shelf spaces at retailers, it is a challenge for a brand to stand out. Some will go for the latest trend, the biggest celebrity endorsement possible, or the edgiest look in hopes of gaining recognition and a following, but rarely do brands make it past the initial launch. Temecula, California’s We All Ride was a former believer in the last aforementioned tactic, but a recent overhaul has them shedding their “hardcore” look for a more simple, widespread appeal. We stopped by their new offices and warehouse recently and spoke with President and CEO Brandon Hearn, who shared with us both his and the brand’s past, present, and future.
What is your job and title at We All Ride?
I am the President and CEO of We All Ride and Federation 48.
The brand has started to grow over the past few years, but how long has it been around?
It has been around since 2006. It was a very hardcore, aggressive moto brand, with lots of skulls and tattoos. I came into the brand in 2011 and we redefined the brand the same year. We cleaned it up and got rid of the “hardcore” image, look, and group athletes that we were affiliated with to align us with the clean, core group of motorcycle and cycling enthusiasts.
Which is basically what you did this season with MotoConcepts…
This year we wanted to get together with a team, and we got together with MotoConcepts. What we were interested in was knowing that Mike Alessi would be up front in every race he lined up for, and the icing on the cake was having Jake Canada, Vince Friese, and Tommy Weeck. We got together with a clean looking team.
We All Ride is known throughout Southern California, namely Riverside County, where the brand is seen everywhere. What markets have you seen a growth in this year?
We have actually seen our biggest growth come internationally. We have done quite a bit through Central and South America, Australia, South Africa, Canada, and even Puerto Rico. We have seen a substantial growth there.
Who are the biggest retailers the brand works with?
The people who have been supporting us the best are Ryderz Compound in the States, West 49 in Canada, Cycle Gear, Rocky Mountain ATV, BTO Sports and Chaparral. They have taken great care of us.
How difficult is it to break into those stores?
A lot of good business and hard work is the best way to get in the door. We have done things with Tilly’s and Zumiez, but they want to focus more with the hip-hop and urban crowd. We are not going to chase that, because we want to follow what we are doing.
You mentioned that the focus switched from only motocross to cycling as well. What was behind the push?
We know all the guys that race motocross ride bicycles and usually cross train with road cycles and mountain bikes, so knowing that made us want to dabble in the market. We picked up the 2011 champion downhill mountain bike racing team and the KHS team. It went hand in hand, and we wanted to expand what we are doing. We don’t want to get too far off track, but we know that cycling is the next best thing. We know that someone who rides moto probably has a BMX bike, mountain bike, or a road bike in their garage.
How hard was it make the cycling kit? Was there a lot of testing behind it or was it something you can fall into with it being a standard market?
I liked what SPY Optic did. I saw their kits and it was kind of inspiring to me, so we made our own kit. We have almost perfected it and have sold it at events. What we like is that every cycling jersey seems so plain with simple blocked panels that have nothing crazy or intriguing to them. So, we put our style in with some of our logos and got together with other companies to put their names on their, like wheel, pedal, and bike manufacturers as well. It has been a good transition, and in fact, all of the MotoConcepts guys were knocking on the door to get a kit to ride in (Laughs).
It seems that everyone in Southern California owns a clothing brand, but they are overdone and gaudy with the designs. How hard is it to stand out in the marketplace?
I worked with FMF from 2005 to 2010 with the apparel program, as it was a licensing deal. What we learned was when everyone was spinning off with the girls, the skulls, guns, knifes, and tattoos, we stuck to what we believed in. It was big logos and graphics that kept it streamlined for Mom, Dad, and the kids. With We All Ride, everyone has a clothing brand and everyone is doing their thing, so our philosophy is to do something that can fit a customer in the early ages to adults, something that works for both customers. I think everyone that is doing their deal with the loud art and photos is great, because the have their niche. But we want to be around for a long time.
Coming into the holiday season and 2013, what do you have planned?
We will be wrapping up for this year and getting product out the door. This year we have a full line of cut and sew fleece, and it seems to be doing very well at trade shows and with customers. We will do a few more local and grassroots events, and then for 2013, we will have different deal for Supercross. We will put more of our money and focus into the amateur ranks next year, because I believe it is a big category to go after. We will take a lot of the money we used to sponsor the big teams and use it to push into the amateur kids. They are the future and are the ones going out and buying the product. It is nice to have the big names in the sport, but we want to align with the young kids and athletes who are up and coming.