TWMX All Access: Allsport Dynamics

This week we caught up with Jeff Brewer, the founder of behind Allsport Dynamics, whose wrist and ankle braces have become staples in the MX community. The slow-talking and friendly Texan is a familiar sight in the pro pits, and has hooked up plenty of riders with some extra support when necessary. We fired up the recorder, and let Jeff drawl us a picture of how he got to where he is today…

What’s your background? How did you get started with Allsport Dynamics?

I broke my ankle. That was pretty much what got me going into it. I used to do electrical work, and was coming out of a job site. I tripped over a cord, and twisted my ankle.

I’d graduated high school in 1980, and went straight to work. I didn’t go to college, and went do doin’ construction work. But I’d grown up riding dirt bikes. I think I got my first one when I was six or seven, and started racing. I raced up until I was 15. Back then I was racing against Jeff Ward and Brian Myserscough and a bunch of those guys on minicycles.

Unfortunately, my little brother fell on a nail and it punctured his eye when we were at the nationals at Rio Bravo. When he did that, it kind of threw a damper on everything. My brother stayed in the hospital for a couple years, and my racing dreams kind of went along with it. Ever since that incident happened, I always wanted to be involved in the motorcycle market, and years later after I broke my ankle and kind of came up with my first brace, I was like, ‘Ah man, there it is…there’s my way in.’

After I made my first brace I went to Lake Whitney and started showing it to some riders. At that time, there were a couple pro guys who were there. I started working with those guys, and that’s how it all started.

I got a patent on my ankle brace in 1990. The patents are important. It gives you some grounds for recourse in the event someone tries to rip you off. That happens all the time. A lot of the neoprene sleeves and neoprene bracing and stuff like that are non-patentable items. What I want to do is create items that are totally unique, and totally different. Not a me-too product.

How big an operation do you have now? How many employees?

I think our facility is right at 13,000 square feet, and we have 16 people working with us full-time…steadily growing. I’m imagining that by this time next year I’ll probably have 30 to 40.

We do everything ourselves. We don’t go overseas. Everything is done in our facility. We chop the Velcro. We do it all. Build ’em. Sew ’em. That way we can control the quality and we know what we’re getting, and we know what’s going out the door.

My past experiences have been that you don’t have control of your quality. I want to know if a customer has a problem with a product and they’re unhappy with it I want to know it. I want to be able to pinpoint the reason.

I also look at it like people here in my hometown need jobs. If I’m going to need more people, then I’ll find some people looking around town. They’re not hard to find.

Are all the things in your product line now things that you’ve designed?

Some of the products like cold packs are private label, but wrist braces, our custom ankle braces, and that type of stuff are things that I designed. Through the years I’ve gotten some people that are working with me now. I don’t do all the of the design work. I’ve got a friend of mine who started working with me about two years ago. He does a lot of the engineering on stuff now.

How much of what you sell is custom versus off-the-shelf?

Well, I basically built my business with the off-the-shelf ankle braces. Right now we’re currently supplying probably 80 hospitals and their emergency rooms here in Texas, and we’re also into about 80 to 90 retail stores. That’s kind of what I’ve built my clientele on. It’s repeat business. That’s what I built the businessn.

Then I started working with composites back in the early 90s. Back then, a lot of the tools and a lot of the composite materials were really expensive, and really hard to work with. Everything still is, the main investment is getting set up to deal with it.

You obviously have an affinity for motocross. Is it still due to personal interest? Or just because MXers make such great customers for your products?

(Laughs) It’s kind of funny, though…you can get hurt in just about any sport. I like to look at it like I’m there to help. I hate seeing people get hurt, but I’m there to help.

What other sports are you involved with?

I’ve done some work with the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Astros, and worked with athletes at both the professional and collegiate level. Basketball…I’ve done quite a bit of work with virtually every top athlete that you can think of. This December we’ll start our 15th year of being in business. I never thought it’d get there.

I look at what you do with wrists and ankles at Allsport Dynamics, and it looks like there are parallels between you and Innovation Sports (makers of the CTi2 knee braces) with their product.

That’s what’s kind of crazy. I remember when Innovation first started out, when I first started my company I always wanted to pretty much emulate their program. They were very professional and always treated their customers well. I really liked the way that they did business. All their literature was professional looking, their staff and everything about them was good. So I always wanted to pattern myself after Innovation Sports. Even with just having a couple of products, like I’ve always said, I’d rather have a couple of products and sell a lot of them, versus having to make 30 products and just sell a little bit of everything. From a manufacturing standpoint it can be a nightmare.

We actually just signed a manufacturing and marketing agreement with Innovation Sports on the off-the-shelf and custom wrist braces. They will be handling all of our marketing, and we’ll be handling the manufacturing. It’s one of those type of deals, like I said, when I first started my business I always emulated what they did, and always wanted to do business with them. I tried doing business with them back in the early 90s, but I was already in a contract on my ankle brace. I couldn’t get out of it. That kind of stalled that whole program. We started talking back in February, and we finally put it together.

December 1st is when everything’s fixing to bust off. They’re getting brochures and all kinds of stuff ready.

What will this do to your business? Are you expecting explosive growth?

Well, those guys have been in business for 20-something years, have a good reputation in the motorcycle market, and one of the areas that we’re looking to really grow into with my brace in particular with them is the medical market. That’s a market that’s hard to get into and cost a whole lot of money. They’re already established there, have the name. Right now we’re working on samples for all of their sales people. I think they have 130 sales people.

It’s a totally different market than what we’re doing. I’m going to continue working with Tom Carson. I’ll be showing up at the races and working with Tom, trying to help people out if they have any questions with the wrist braces.

Working out of the Asterisk truck?

I won’t be able to make all the races, but I will be attending quite a few of them this year. I

It’s just an awareness thing. Like right now in the motorcycle market, I’ve had a good response from a lot of different guys. I’ve helped out a lot of different riders—LaRocco—just a bunch of guys. I think that is one of the things that Innovation saw was that we made a good product. The fit was there, and it was a good fit for both of us. It made sense for me, and made sense for them to do this venture.

Do you think your customers are buying gear as preventative protection? Or are they finding you after an injury?

Like Brian Deegan, for instance. He’s been wearing my ankle braces since 1992 or 1993. Robbie Reynard’s the same way. He’s been wearing my ankle braces since the early 90s. Those guys, they wear them all the time. I think in the future you’ll see more people start wearing the ankle and wrist braces as a preventative measure.

Right now, Dan Pastor wears my wrist braces every time he jumps on his bike. He recently crashed and broke his back and hip, and knocked his teeth out….all of that. I got a phone call from him right after he was leaving the hospital. He said that he’d crashed and everything, but his wrists had held up. That was kind of neat.

But I think safety equipment is one of the best things going. If a person can ride with it, and do it comfortably and it not cause them problems, then it doesn’t make sense not to wear it.

Are riders wearing enough? Is there such a thing as too much safety gear?

You know, there are a lot of people out there, if they could ride naked, they would. They’d put on a pair of boxers and jump on a bike. I know I would. It’s more comfortable, but at the same time, it’s not really smart. To me, nowadays if there’s a piece of equipment out there that can help someone, and it doesn’t hinder their abilities and it makes sense, at least give it a try. I guess one of the latest people I’ve helped out with wearing the wrist brace is Nate Adams. Unfortunately, he just busted his femur, but he’s been wearing my wrist braces now since before the Gravity Games. His doctors didn’t even release him until they got my wrist braces on him. That was kind of cool.

The doctors down in California have been prescribing these things. You can get a prescription, and insurance will pay for them. We also have our off-the-shelf braces as well.

What’s next for you? Do we see something like in auto racing, where they’ve got the HANS device equivalent for motocrossers? Have you ever thought of doing helmets? What’s next?

You know, it’s kind of funny you mention that. I broke my neck about five years ago, and laid in bed for almost a year…about eight months, and didn’t really do much. I laid there and got on the phone and started thinking about a brace that could be made very much like what you said. A HANS device, but it would be more mobile. I’ve done some work with Wardy and he was wearing one of my wrist braces not too long ago. I’ve talked to some people who drive cars and my ultimate project to get going is a neck brace. But again, it’ll have to be like nothing that’s on the market. I imagine it’ll be pretty expensive to make, Everything I do seems like it’s a pain, and seems like it takes years to do, but when it’s done, it’s like, ‘Man, this is cool .’

I made my first wrist brace for Brownie in ’95. At that time, it had a lot of the same characteristics, but looked totally different from what they do today. There was a lot of refining going on.

As of December 1st, all orders will be going through Innovation. I’ll be turning into the manufacturing company.

What else do we need to know about Jeff Brewer?

I need to thank my lovely wife, Amanda. Without her help and support I wouldn’t have been able to do this.

I love the sport of motocross. I think that it teaches kids a lot of values they don’t really understand until later on in life. One of the things that I learned from the whole sport was that you learn how to win, you learn how to lose, You learn how to treat people that beat you. There area lot of good values that come from the sport of motocross.

I also learned to never give up. You can always do it, and to keep your chin up no matter what. Just this year I lost my dad on Father’s Day, and then a few weeks ago my se for them to do this venture.

Do you think your customers are buying gear as preventative protection? Or are they finding you after an injury?

Like Brian Deegan, for instance. He’s been wearing my ankle braces since 1992 or 1993. Robbie Reynard’s the same way. He’s been wearing my ankle braces since the early 90s. Those guys, they wear them all the time. I think in the future you’ll see more people start wearing the ankle and wrist braces as a preventative measure.

Right now, Dan Pastor wears my wrist braces every time he jumps on his bike. He recently crashed and broke his back and hip, and knocked his teeth out….all of that. I got a phone call from him right after he was leaving the hospital. He said that he’d crashed and everything, but his wrists had held up. That was kind of neat.

But I think safety equipment is one of the best things going. If a person can ride with it, and do it comfortably and it not cause them problems, then it doesn’t make sense not to wear it.

Are riders wearing enough? Is there such a thing as too much safety gear?

You know, there are a lot of people out there, if they could ride naked, they would. They’d put on a pair of boxers and jump on a bike. I know I would. It’s more comfortable, but at the same time, it’s not really smart. To me, nowadays if there’s a piece of equipment out there that can help someone, and it doesn’t hinder their abilities and it makes sense, at least give it a try. I guess one of the latest people I’ve helped out with wearing the wrist brace is Nate Adams. Unfortunately, he just busted his femur, but he’s been wearing my wrist braces now since before the Gravity Games. His doctors didn’t even release him until they got my wrist braces on him. That was kind of cool.

The doctors down in California have been prescribing these things. You can get a prescription, and insurance will pay for them. We also have our off-the-shelf braces as well.

What’s next for you? Do we see something like in auto racing, where they’ve got the HANS device equivalent for motocrossers? Have you ever thought of doing helmets? What’s next?

You know, it’s kind of funny you mention that. I broke my neck about five years ago, and laid in bed for almost a year…about eight months, and didn’t really do much. I laid there and got on the phone and started thinking about a brace that could be made very much like what you said. A HANS device, but it would be more mobile. I’ve done some work with Wardy and he was wearing one of my wrist braces not too long ago. I’ve talked to some people who drive cars and my ultimate project to get going is a neck brace. But again, it’ll have to be like nothing that’s on the market. I imagine it’ll be pretty expensive to make, Everything I do seems like it’s a pain, and seems like it takes years to do, but when it’s done, it’s like, ‘Man, this is cool .’

I made my first wrist brace for Brownie in ’95. At that time, it had a lot of the same characteristics, but looked totally different from what they do today. There was a lot of refining going on.

As of December 1st, all orders will be going through Innovation. I’ll be turning into the manufacturing company.

What else do we need to know about Jeff Brewer?

I need to thank my lovely wife, Amanda. Without her help and support I wouldn’t have been able to do this.

I love the sport of motocross. I think that it teaches kids a lot of values they don’t really understand until later on in life. One of the things that I learned from the whole sport was that you learn how to win, you learn how to lose, You learn how to treat people that beat you. There area lot of good values that come from the sport of motocross.

I also learned to never give up. You can always do it, and to keep your chin up no matter what. Just this year I lost my dad on Father’s Day, and then a few weeks ago my mom died. It’s kind of been a heck of a year, you know? There for a couple weeks, all I did was lay around. I cried, and went out to my lake a lot. After a little bit of time I kind of came to and decided that my parents would be kicking my butt if they knew that I was laying around, crying, and not pushing forward and trying to do the best job that I could do.

Contact:
Allsport Dynamics
2724 S.E. Stallings Dr.
Nacogdoches, TX 75961
(936) 569-1003
www.allsportdynamics.com

my mom died. It’s kind of been a heck of a year, you know? There for a couple weeks, all I did was lay around. I cried, and went out to my lake a lot. After a little bit of time I kind of came to and decided that my parents would be kicking my butt if they knew that I was laying around, crying, and not pushing forward and trying to do the best job that I could do.

Contact:
Allsport Dynamics
2724 S.E. Stallings Dr.
Nacogdoches, TX 75961
(936) 569-1003
www.allsportdynamics.com