Of course, FMF is primarily known for their exhaust business, and for good reason. They’ve been helping riders boost the power from their MX equipment for nearly three decades. The red and gold FMF logo is one of the most recognizable icons from the MX industry, and like Fox Racing, Alpinestars, No Fear and a few others, they’re exporting the MX vibe and lifestyle to the world beyond the dust of the racetracks.
FMF International is a new offshoot of the venerable exhaust company, and it’s headed up by longtime No Fear partner (and Carlsbad 500cc GP winner), Marty Moates. Marty explained how they got started this way. “Donny (Emler, FMF’s founder) was an investor in No Fear two or three years ago. When he invested in No Fear, he asked sort of out of the blue, ‘Hey, why don’t you guys make my t-shirts.’ We said, ‘Yeah, we could do that.’ The next thing you know, we’re involved in a license, and I managed the process and it was working quite well. but Mark (Simo, another of the original crew at No Fear) decided if we want the brand to grow like it should, we should put some effort into it. So we decided to move it into its own building, bring in its own sales staff, its own marketing guys, and its own warehouse, inventory. That’s how we ended up here, and with FMF International. I’ve been a partner in No Fear for so long. It was just a great opportunity.”
From their current location, Marty says, “I can almost hit where Carlsbad Raceway used to be with a golf shot. I get to kind of run the show here, call the shots, and it’s been really fun and exciting. It has doubled its business in the first five-and-a-half months, and we’re already outgrowing our current building.”
Starting with a well-established logo helps make their job easier, but they’re also expanding beyond the familiar. Marty says, “It’s a wonderful brand, and has been around a long time, and has no bad habits. The name is so strong. If you go to a Supercross race and see 20, 000 trucks, 10,000 have an FMF sticker on it. There’s a lot of brand loyalty.
“You know, it’s kind of like the Nike swoosh. You don’t change something that works. We’re always going to have that oval, and the red and gold are always going to be the company colors. That logo will always be attached to some part of the garment. But we have a lot of designs that’ll show FMF in a design graphic for people to wear.”
Design influences come from their art staff, external designers, and the FMF family. “Little D (Donny Emler, Jr.) comes down one day a week and helps out on some of the design and ideas. I’m an old guy. I may act like I’m 12, but I’m going to be 50 next year, so he comes down and gives me ideas of what he’s looking for.”
“We started with t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats. Now we’ve developed some knits, and we’ve got shorts and surf trunks coming this summer. We’ve also got this new jacket that’s gone crazy. We ordered 1,800, and they’re sold out so we just ordered a bunch more. We’ve also got some ladies apparel, but we don’t have a women’s designer.”
Distribution is as varied as the designs themselves. and are both inside and outside the industry. “No Fear’s about 42-44 percent of our business right now. We’re in Pac Sun, Tilly’s and Zumiez. We’re in all the Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky, Western Powersports, MotoSport Outlet, and all the good shops. NCY, MotoWorld, and Chaparral. The product’s selling really well.”
While there are still some long hours involved in the company, it’s easy to see that Marty still digs what he’s doing, and was getting ready to head out for some lunchtime karting to celebrate his birthday. “We don’t mind coming to work every day. We love what we’re doing. We go to the races, we get to ride, we have fun, and love what we’re doing. Besides,” he added with a smile, “Golf takes too much time out of the day.”
- Marty’s mom refused to let him play high school football (because she was afraid of him getting hurt), but was okay with him racing motocross.
- The current broken bone count for Marty? 63...and counting. “I retired from racing in ’84, and most of them happened after I was done racing.”