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Geld. Belgie.

I spent a few hours at Stumptown last night hiding out and writing a “sponsor me” letter and proposal. Sacha needs something from me to send out as part of the Vanilla team. I am also going to start scrounging around for donations to help me race through the winter.

One of the things Sacha and I talked about is owing some big company a huge debt in exchange for a cash money or product sponsorship. It just does not feel quite worth it, being the independently minded people we are. It is fair to say that his frame business and my little bike shop are “off the radar” of the bicycle industry. As a bikeshop and framebuilder we can purchase pretty much anything we need for racing at wholesale. So teaming up with “X” company exclusively should have more significant benefits than free bike parts.

The bigger businesses we could approach for sponsorship dollars are likely not interested. In thier eyes Vanilla or Veloshop as businesses can in return do very little for them. You won’t see Vanilla’s for sale in a bike shop and you won’t see a full line of bicycles in the Veloshop.

The product and service Vanilla and Veloshop offer are so atypical of the mainstream bike industry that our place in the grand scheme of racing and race sponsorship is askew. So what does a sponsor get for putting money into the Vanilla cross racing squad?

Being associated with high quality people who understand that it is about more than bike racing.

I am of the mindset that I may not be the fastest bike racer but, I have something a little different to offer than the run of the mill hoser bike racer. My take on bicycle racing and it’s place in the world is bigger than pro contracts and sponsorship deals. That should be worth something right?

The point? This cyclocross season is gona hurt! Fiscally and physically. I’ve got a lot of racing and a ton of travelling planned.

Discussion

4 comments for “Geld. Belgie.”

  1. I’ve been out of the bike biz for a while now, but VeloShop and Vanilla should be able to scrap together a few bucks with relatively minimal effort. With the community vibe I’ve been getting from the PDX bike scene, and from PDX in general, it seems that you and Sacha could tap into the local market to exchange cash monies for exposure. I haven’t had the pleasure of entering your shop yet…do you have the space for a “rep” from Stumptown to hand out or sell espresso’s on the weekends? Do they have a business plan that includes expansion outside of OR? Certainly the Vanilla team can spread the coffee gospel across the US…especially amongst the coffee swilling cross racers and fans.

    Assuming that Sasha has clients with a fair amount of discretionary income, it isn’t beyond possibility that he may have a client or two who might work in some decision making capacity. If he’s willing to pry a bit into the lives of his clientele, perhaps he can learn something and gain a sponsorship that could potentially benefit the team.

    You could also target local chiropractic, orthopedic and PT type firms for sponsorship dollars. Any shop owner worth their weight in salt should be able to give a good PT recommendation to clients…eventually we’re all going to need one.

    Beer…how hard can that be here in Portland? Powell’s?

    How’s your shop layout/merchandising? Any reason, say a flooring company, would want to bring clients to the shop to show how beautiful/hard-wearing/stain-resistant/temperature stable their product is? They donate material and pay for a spot on a jersey and get a working demo in return.

    Are you looking for one company to pop for megabux or are you willing to do a little more footwork to piece it all together?

    Posted by Sean | June 14, 2006, 5:27 pm
  2. Real quick.

    Often for me it comes down to finding the time to pursue and nuture potential relationships like that. I am still pretty hectic at the shop and don’t have any other help here so it is a rare day I can spend putting together a proposal and making meetings and such.

    Thanks a lot for the insight.

    Posted by Molly | June 15, 2006, 11:36 am
  3. Molly! You rock. Your shop is so much better than the shitty corporate giant of a bike shop i am working for. Just thought i’d let you know.

    Posted by Todd | June 17, 2006, 1:16 am
  4. Watch out! If that shitty corporate shop you work for hears how shitty you think they are, you may be out of a shitty job!

    Then I’ll hire you for $2.95 an hour to lace wheels in the basement. No lunch breaks either…

    Posted by Molly | June 17, 2006, 2:29 pm

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