PNW Components: How the Brand Got its Start, and Where the Team Gets Their Inspiration

Aaron and Emily Kerson founded PNW Components in 2015. The customer-focused brand is known for offering quality components like dropper posts, handlebars, and now clothing at affordable prices.

Aaron and Emily Kerson founded PNW Components in 2015. The customer-focused brand is known for offering quality components like dropper posts, handlebars, and now clothing at affordable prices.

In this interview we ask:

  • What kind of bike industry experience did you have before starting PNW?
  • Did you observe any problems you wanted to solve, or were there efficiencies that were being overlooked? 
  • What was the first product PNW launched? Why did you choose that product or product line to start?
  • Who does your product design and development?
  • Is working with local bike shops and brick and mortar retailers becoming more important as the brand grows?
  • What is your customer service philosophy? Is the customer always right?
  • Why did you decide to offer a lifetime warranty for PNW products?
  • What’s one thing buyers can do to keep their dropper post working smoothly?
  • Are there unique advantages and/or challenges to working with your spouse?
  • Is there any pressure to increase prices on the products you sell? How are you keeping prices low?
  • PNW, along with a number of brands, recently launched a line of cycling apparel. Why clothing? 

Learn more about the company at

A full, automatically-generated transcript of this podcast conversation is available to Singletracks supporters.

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Jeff 0:00
Hey everybody. Welcome to the singletracks podcast. My name is Jeff and today my guests are Erin and Emily Kherson, Erin and Emily founded P and W components in 2015. The customer focused brand is known for offering quality components like dropper posts, handlebars, and now clothing at affordable prices. Thanks for joining me, Erin and Emily,

Aaron 0:24
thank you so much.

Emily 0:25
Thank you for having us.

Jeff 0:26
So Aaron, I want to start with you. You had a lot of experience in the bike industry and also e commerce before starting b&w. So tell us a little bit about your background.

Aaron 0:38
Yeah, I mean, it started with bike racing. I started racing BMX when I was like eight years old, and that then progressed into this a weird connection. So it’s, it was a friend’s older brother left his bike at my house. And it was it was a 24 inch wheel Rockhopper at the time. This was like 1995. And I, he, he said, Hey, you know, I don’t have a way to get back to my parents house, like feel free to write it. So anyway, so I completely got hooked. That was when I was like, around 1110 or 10 or 11 years old. And I don’t know something about it, I just, it just totally hooked me. I just it gave me a sense of freedom. And I could go explore I had really bad asthma as a kid. So like playing sports was really, really hard for me, but something about biking, I was able to make it work and kind of became obsessed. So that’s how it started. I got into downhill racing and dirt jumping and freeride and all that stuff, and working at shops to basically fund my addiction of you know, wanting to get to get shot deals on bikes and parts. And that was my whole life. And that’s where all my friends came from. That’s all we did was we’d watch like New World disorder videos and crank and all the I’m probably faking a ton of them. And then we go on ride, and we go back and watch more videos. So anyway, that then progressed into you know, getting into like the elite levels of racing, trying to find sponsors, I was never focused on fitness. So, like I had the skills but I never was willing to like go to the gym or do anything like that Red Cross Country. So it just it held me back. And it just, it kind of was what it was. But so kind of fast forward, you know, through college, I raced and it started to occur to me, Hey, you know, I broke my back at one point, which was really a wake up call, just like, this is a pretty gnarly sport, that’s not probably going to support you ever. So you may need to do something else. So coincidentally, at the time, I really got into my business studies at school got an internship with a you know, it was called an angel investment firms kind of like very, very early stage venture capital, and just got immersed in that whole world while still writing and doing all that. So it was kind of living this dual life of loving business and learning about it and then writing mill. So anyway, was able to get a job as specialized as a product developer. And that was an absolute dream. I remember getting a call where they said, hey, you know, you’re accepted for this position, I you know, I started yelling, it was just like, that was a brand that was the, that was you know, I had known 17 of those over the years, you know, just through working at shops, and you know, basically buy a bike at the beginning of the season and then sell it you know, before the end of that season and get my money back and then buy the next one. So it was really exciting. It was really really exciting time getting in that company was unreal.

Emily 3:29
I still remember that call when he called me and got the job it specialized. It was like elation.

Aaron 3:35
Oh my god. Yeah. Is this Yeah, he’s like, you get to enter the, the heart of the beast, you know, and really see how this was going. And that was a crazy experience. I mean, just the r&d capabilities they have in house. It really was truly unbelievable. Just seeing what year was that? It was that was 2011. Okay, so you know, we’re making more not me, I can’t really do shit but but press keys. But like people were making bikes out of clay and like these beauty and then painting them in the paint booth. And you know, you’re doing all types of stuff. So anyway, yeah, that was amazing. The key there was being immersed into the world of manufacturing. So like, within my first month of being there, I got put on a plane, flew to Taiwan, got to tour factories, and make the connections with the factories and understand how the pricing negotiation meetings work, which are an entirely it’s a it’s a world of it’s an art, seeing, like the best at negotiating on both sides of the table. It’s truly an art it was it was really cool to see that and learn from it. And yeah, anyway, you know, fast forward and from there, ended up at Murrin bikes as the product manager for all their mountain bikes. And that was in 2014 that it was there, or that it started there. And yeah, what else happened? I mean, we had kind of, we had some that was a while ago, but yeah, it’s all blur. It’s all a blur, but backed out. We know we’re here. We definitely blacked out and showed up here. But yeah, we, you know, through a, you know, kind of a family health issue, we ended up moving up to Seattle, I couldn’t travel anymore traveling, you know, 30 40% of the year doing this development jobs, you know, specialize in Moran can do that anymore. So I ended up at Amazon of all places, which I have zero Tech experience. I’m actually bordering on like Luddites. So it was actually it was really, it was like the world of Product Management totally made sense. It’s exactly the same. But the world of like being able to communicate technical requirements in the same way. Like I don’t have the same proficiency as I do with like stuff with tech. Right. So that was a major learning curve. But the two years I was there learned all things, ecommerce learned how like search ranking algorithms work, meaning, you know, how do you get a product to be successful and people are searching for it online? That was very cool. Got to observe and actually work with, like the top 10% brands on Amazon single brands are doing like hundreds of millions in sales on Amazon, like what is their strategy? How are they making Amazon and other online sales channels work for them? And yeah, just getting a total deep dive in that that was that was a really cool experience and was absolutely craving being in an industry where a gave a shit about what I was working on. And B actually knew a lot about it and really cared about it. So wanted to get back connected with bikes. And so that kind of well, I’m sure we’ll talk about how we got started. But that is I guess we’ll leave things there. So that was a bit of my background.

Jeff 6:32
Yeah. Wow. Yeah. That’s quite a quite a career that you had before starting. b&w? Emily, you worked in the bike industry as well, prior to b&w, and I think I read on the website, you worked in a local bike shop and then later at Marin, how did that prepare you for starting this new brand?

Emily 6:51
Oh, yeah. Interesting preparation, for sure. I will have to like have the caveat. When I met Aaron. I was ripping around on my road bike on the Seattle streets. And he had he was like, that’s cool. And I think he’s excited to see bikes in my house. And but he was like, You need to go on a trail. It was like, that’s cool. But you need to change. No, I really seriously though, I got I caught the mountain biking very quickly. But yeah, I worked at Marin as a in marketing. I also worked at a bike shop before then, which I think bike shop experience is the number one thing that I don’t want you to have in this industry. It’s where you learn a lot about your customers. And it’s just fun times. But I think it laid a lot of the bricks for what we’re doing now, I would say in many ways that like that time was more like illuminated. A lot of the things we do now more than even my jobs at bike companies, or working in E commerce because at the same time, I was working at Murrin. I was also doing like freelance graphic design and photography, and then did that for a while. For brands and with an E commerce background. Because I’ve done a lot of studying of that kind of on my own.

Jeff 8:17
Okay. Yeah. Are you are you from the Pacific Northwest? Like were you in Seattle? before?

Emily 8:23
I am? Yes, I am the Pacific Northwest native. And I had no idea the writing was so good here until we came back, actually. So I had lived in California for a while. And that’s where I learned how to mountain bike in Santa Cruz, which still has my heart as one of the best places in the world to do that, but yeah, I that we came back. And then I learned all about the trail system here, which is just amazing. But I think that’s kind of ironic, that I didn’t know that at the time.

Aaron 8:57
You’re an American, you know that right? What?

Jeff 9:01
Yeah, I mean, it’s, the brand sort of pays tribute to the Pacific Northwest to I mean, what’s the connection? Like, why? Why choose to base the brand around that? What does that mean for you guys?

Emily 9:15
Um, I think it meant a lot for us, like, it was discovered, I think I had been writing in Aaron’s Wildtracks, as they say, in in California, and like it was all you know, stuff he is he had written all that. And then when we got up to Seattle, my dad was actually in the hospital, we were dealing with all this stuff. And we kind of would just go on the weekends and write together and it was like this moment of pure therapy because really, when you’re writing pretty intense technical stuff, you don’t have time to think about anything else. And we were under quite a bit of stress. And so I think that connection, that was when you know, we formed this connection with mountain biking that of course he already had but yeah, I think that area brings a lot I have, like, memories to our relationship. And then also like, yeah, getting through a hard time together. So I think that’s kind of why we named it the name that it now has.

Jeff 10:12

Aaron 10:14
yeah. There’s obvious ones too. I mean, the train here and just the weather’s is pretty nasty. So the fact like using this as a testing ground, for product is great. Like, you’re gonna get the grossest, the grossest of the gross, right? It’s everything from snow to mud to? Well, yeah, it’s no not bad. So it’s kind of a great, it’s a great spot for that. For testing. That was one thing that actually made product development and bicycle, you know, complete bikes kind of challenging being in a place like California, and I won’t say it’s impossible, it’s not, but it makes it a little bit more challenging. When the weather’s pretty dialed like, every day. It’s tough, because you get a lot of these kind of fringe cases, like in the UK or up in Alaska, and you just you can’t really relate sometimes, because that’s not the weather, you’re testing this stuff. And so being here, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s perfect for it. It’s totally perfect for it.

Jeff 11:06
Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s cool. Aaron, you worked at a number of like, really big companies, I mean, specialize probably the biggest bike brand there is, if not top five, at least, an Amazon as well. And I imagine you observed, like, I don’t know, some frustrations or challenges or like inefficiencies maybe like what what were you seeing it those brands that made you think like, maybe there’s an opportunity to start start your own company?

Aaron 11:36
Yeah, you know, I think I think the biggest thing was more around company culture. And now that we have, you know, we’re explaining before the call, you know, there’s 28 of us now, which is crazy, but it’s more setting up. I’ll get back to kind of where you’re going with that. But I think that that has been huge for us, as I remember the feeling of just being totally kind of feeling anonymous and replaceable in a lot of these places. And that’s not a feeling that I particularly enjoy. And so I think that’s that’s one area that that we definitely want to focus on a with our customers. And obviously, with with our employees, too, is just making sure like, you’re empowered to make decisions you are heard when you when you have things to say. And just kind of a mutual respect not to say those other places don’t respect you. That’s not true. It’s just they’re huge, right? Like, trying to get anything done. Like talking Amazon, for instance, like it literally felt like your net, you’re in a company made out of like 200 other little companies, because each department is just so kind of doing their own thing. And you have to go lobby with them just to get acne on access to their code, or whatever it may be like, it’s not as simple as you would expect. And to me, God that felt like very entrepreneurial, and like, I just want to go get things done. And I want to get them done fast. And that drove me crazy. It was just like, Are you kidding me? I have to schedule a meeting out with you three weeks from now just to discuss whether we can like get something a conversation started, like, No, I just wanna get it done. So so that was big. But yeah, I mean, in terms of like, kind of where p and W fits in the scheme of things, it’s still really in efficiencies as much as just very different business models, right. So like, let’s say you’re a bike company, especially rewinding, let’s say, 10 years before brands like canyon or yt, or common solid really blown up as direct to consumer brands, like you’re a b2b company, your customer really is your shops, right? Like that’s, that’s your customer, the riders that are buying them, obviously are extremely important. But you have a massive, there’s like a disconnect between them. So like getting immediate product feedback is really hard. And I would travel all over the world, visiting shops and talking to riders because it was challenging, but also really important to to know what the feedback is on the bikes. And then the problem is, let’s say you launch a bike, it takes, let’s say, 18 months to get that bike into the market. By the time it’s hitting the market, you have already like finished and already placed orders for the next version of it the following model year. And what if that product kind of sucks, like you’re stuck with a whole other generation of them? Like it’s really hard to react quickly. So that was something, Emily and I were like, you know, when we’re noodling through how we wanted to set this business up, that was huge as we wanted immediate feedback from customers, and then the ability to immediately do something about it, you know, like that was big. So that goes back to having direct relationships with all of our customers, whether it’s dealers or riders, but then it’s also the factories that we work with, like, we need partners who understand that we are agile, and we have to be agile, and that’s a competitive advantage for us. And that’s not every factory. So that’s also something important that we have always had in mind when we’re out there trying to figure this stuff out.

Emily 14:48
Yeah, I think it goes it’s interesting because there’s nothing wrong with the b2b model. I just think for Aaron and I and our personalities. Like I’m a bit of a data nerd when it comes to marketing. And I know data sounds like, very scary. And I’m not talking about like creepy experiments. But in the way that data is your customer, like your customer is telling you stuff through these metrics. And I always really liked that when you don’t have a direct, like, kind of connection to your sales. You kind of lose that ability to connect with your customers on kind of that wide scale and get this idea of who your customer is. Because I think a lot of times when you’re doing these one off, shop visits, you get the loudest customer and they’re important, but you kind of get a better snapshot. And that’s not to say that IV Ds are not important. They’re incredibly important, but I think it’s good to we both into your business for us.

Jeff 15:45
Yeah. Yeah. Do you think that bike industry was kind of slow to adapt to this new like idea of of working closer with your customers? And like, kind of eliminating layers and things in between you and the customer?

Aaron 16:00
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think it’s funny, because when we were getting started, you know, we’re really looking at almost like, Well, how do I say like very, in a very disciplined way, we were making sure that we were taking inspiration from outside the bike industry, just to ensure we were doing something different. So we were looking at, you know, what was hot in E commerce at the time. So you know, looking at brands like Warby Parker looking at brands, like you know, whatever, Allbirds shoes, or on the cosmetic side, glossier cosmetics, Everlane clothing, like these are the brands that we were looking at, because they were really, I hate this word, but you know, disrupting their industries. And we wanted to have that same impact in cycling, because we knew that like from a customer standpoint, then all of our needs weren’t really necessarily being met in a way that we would have wanted. And we wanted to change that. And the biggest piece, I think, is on the customer service side, I’ve found that the b2b model inherently makes that more challenging. Again, not impossible, but it is more challenging to serve your customers directly, because you have layers kind of in the way of that. So it’s just again, it’s just a different model, but it for us having a direct connection and be able to service people directly. Super, super, super important. A it makes us feel good at night, but also, it’s the right thing to do. And you gain a ton of information very quickly, by doing it that way.

Jeff 17:22
Yeah. Well, obviously with bikes. I mean, there’s tons of products. You know, I mean, everything from complete bikes to components, accessories, clothing. Emily, how did you decide like, which product or products to start with in the beginning that I

Emily 17:38
mean, that’s a question better geared towards Aaron, because it had to do with kind of projects that he had already been involved with at specialized and that’s a huge reason why we picked the dropper post, okay, it also happened to be a really good product for us, because it’s something that the customers need a lot of help with. And so we got to the sizing with sizing, and just because of the nature of I think nothing else on the bike sent, maybe a fork gets as much kind of constant use in that kind of way. So it’s a object that fails sometimes, and you have to figure out why. And then it’s an opportunity to really support your customer. Because at the time when we, you know, came out with dropper posts, you know, a lot of options were exorbitantly expensive, and a lot of ones were just frankly, not working. Like I think we all had experiences with that. Now, the options are much better. But back then it was like, it was a really, really golden product for us to really connect with our customer and give customers a good experience. But Aaron can speak more to why that

Aaron 18:54
why the shopper I mean, from a personal personal standpoint. I mean, I think it’s such a cool invention. I remember the first time my friend Pat showed up to get a KS was one of the first brands to bring one out and he had one on his bike. And I was blown away. I was like this is so cool. So I couldn’t afford one at the time when I was working at a shot but overtime finally got one and they’re just they’re awesome. I mean, they’re a game changer especially for gravity style writing, like like like I was doing it’s a real pain when you’re doing undulating hills and you’re constantly stopping and lowering your seat and then raising your seat and it’s a pain, right? So there’s personal interest. And I also knew, you know, I began development of a low cost reliable dropper. When I was at specialized that we we wanted for OEM use. And I knew the factory that helped us bring that to market. I knew how dialed they were I had a great relationship with them. So that’s how I got started. You know, we wanted to bring that to market create a brand fully focused on on droppers at the time and get the fun part was getting them to agree to work with us. So that took for five attempts. And I’m very Oh, wow, I like I was dead set on this happening. And very tenacious and slash annoying as a person. So I just didn’t leave them alone. I was just like, No, no, you don’t get it man. Like, I like we have a really cool idea for how this is going to work. And I’m telling me this is low risk for you. No, no, no, we’re good. Like, no, no, I don’t think you get it. So I had to keep blowing them up. So yeah, took five times. But they did come around, fortunately, and they’ve been a huge reason for success. I mean, them taking a chance on on us somewhat unheard of. And also guys, I’m extremely happy they did because, yeah, we wouldn’t we wouldn’t be here without them. And their support in the early days. So that’s pretty cool.

Jeff 20:42
Yeah. Did it feel risky at the time? I mean, yeah, it’s terrifying for me thinking about a dropper post. Like, it’s a complicated thing. Like you said, a lot of them at the time had problems. And it seemed like a really complicated product. Was that were you worried about that are concerned it sounds like you’re pretty competent.

Aaron 20:59
Yeah. I mean, when you’re doing something like this, it’s it actually, it feels a lot like when you’re, you know, thinking back to like hitting dirt jumps, right. Like, you put the risk to the side. For some reason, I can’t explain why, but you’re just kind of like, convinced you can do this. And if you crash, Yeah, that sucks. But like, that’s not really what’s crossing your mind. It’s just like, Okay, I got, you know, I have to do this, which now as I’m getting older, I’m like, No, I didn’t, I really didn’t need to do any of that. But yeah, that’s how you feel when you’re in your 20s. But anyway, with with droppers, yeah, it was terrifying. We tapped into our savings, which we didn’t have very much. And this was like, most of our savings, because they hit us that that was kind of their way. It was just like, Okay, fine, we’ll work with you. But guess what, we have minimum order quantities. So I think they’re expecting that to deter us again. But again, I was I was just like, dead set on this happening. So we ponied up the cache. And yeah, it was super scary. My thought was like, Okay, if this totally fails, like, I’m sure we could move these somehow. Yeah. Which I know is not very scientific. But that was my thinking.

Emily 22:02
So that all sounds really irrational. But I think there was a rational part in his brain where he knew how the, he knew the technology behind the dropper posts that we wanted to bring to market in this style. And he knew that it would serve customers better, because it just inherently you can service it yourself. It’s the cartridge is super friendly, super reliable. So there was some rationale.

Aaron 22:27
There’s definitely rationale. I mean, but I guess I’m kind of explaining the mindset of like, yeah, it was terrifying. But for some reason, that felt more comfortable than me working for other people, if that makes sense. Like,

Jeff 22:38
yeah, having the lesser of two evils, right. It’s

Aaron 22:42
like, if I’m going to totally blow it, I want it to be my fault, not because of like corporate downsizing, you know, like that, that was always really scary to me as it’s like, what if I come into work, and then I’m laid off, like, that would suck, and I don’t want to deal with that. Like, I’d rather take this risk and see how it goes. And at least I know, if I blow it, it’s my fault. You know? So for some reason, that felt really comforting.

Jeff 23:02
Yeah. Well, you mentioned kind of starting out with this set of designs or ideas of like, what what the dropper post would look like, who does the product design and development these days?

Aaron 23:13
Yeah, so we’ve got, we’ve got an incredible team. I’m still kind of like, you know, you’re in it day to day, so you sort of normalize it, but our team’s really, really, really good. So we have our product team is so proud, our project manager who’s keeping all these details in line together as his name’s TJ Trotter. He’s been with us he was one of our first employees. So he’s been with us. He started on say, a customer service and sales and now he’s in product. And we have like 20 products in development at any given time. And keeping all those details together, especially during COVID is really hard. So he’s been doing a fantastic job of just owning all of that. We have. Our product manager is Todd Ford. And Todd was doing product development and product management at Cannondale. He then backfield when I left specialized he backfield, my position there as a developer, worked his way up. And then he ended up at Santa Cruz for the last few years as a product manager of some of their mountain and gravel bikes. Really well regarded, regarded in the industry, incredible. Person, incredible writer. So he’s our product manager. And then on the design side, we have Adam Hammerman. He and I work together at specialize. He was there about seven and a half years. So he’s an industrial designer. He’s our director of product design. He’s based out of Switzerland. And then on the engineering side, we work with a guy named Joey who coincidentally used to work with Todd and Adam and he have become good buddies. Now that we’re just through P and w. So Joey is based in Taiwan. He’s an American guy, but he’s been living there for over a decade the guys dialed so. Yeah, we have kind of a dream team on product and then on the graphic side you know, we’ve got we have Emily we have Katie we have Alex on the on the product like packaging and product Graphic. side of things, too. So yeah, it’s a pretty cool team.

Jeff 25:03
Yeah. Wow, that’s awesome. And I mean, I guess too, as you’ve grown, you’ve able, you’ve been able to bring that stuff in house. I mean, early on, though, did you have like a technical person that was helping with designs? Or? Like, do the factories provide that kind of service? Or like, how do you how do you get started in some like that?

Aaron 25:23
Yeah. So it totally depends. On in the Okay, so very, very early days, it was me kind of doing everything. So yeah, I would lean heavily. Basically, pitch ideas to factories, this was a cool thing that I learned while working for these bike brands is, well, the factories that we’re working with have extremely talented engineering, folks, on staff, they have all the in house testing equipment, which usually have to outsource that, which is really expensive. So they’re able to do their own testing in house to make sure this stuff’s passing, like ISO and CE and all these different things. So yeah, I would, you know, work with them to bring things to market, I then, you know, like, for instance, with our grip, that was one where we use like an existing core and clamp, and then build our own grip over it. And so that was something where I contracted with a freelancer, industrial designer to build that out. But then we got to a point where, right, okay, if we’re really, you know, going to own our own destiny, and really take things to the next level, you know, we have to bring this all in house. And so that’s when we flip the switch on that a few years ago. Yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s an interesting way. I mean, by leveraging in house resources with with a factory, for instance, like you’re able to save a tremendous amount in expense that I don’t think the customer really values from necessarily depends on what it is. But like for us to go out and start developing like, the bolts in different things that there’s no, there’s not really any advantage to the customer, yet, they’re gonna be paying a premium just for that, like, that doesn’t sit right with me. Where we’re at in the market, like we’re really focused on value. If you’re doing like crazy, high end stuff, and with titanium bolts, sure, like make them yourself, that totally makes sense. But where we’re at is when we’re trying to, again, provide really a very strong value to riders focus on reliability. And that’s where our factories who are making the things, guess what, they’re the experts in it, so why would you not listen to them? So that yeah, that’s been really helpful.

Jeff 27:22
Yeah. So as we talked about, BMW started as a direct to consumer brand, which was kind of unusual at the time. And now as you’re growing, are you finding that like, local bike shops, and some of these brick and mortar retailers are more important for you as the brand grows? And? And what about like, OE sales? Is that something that’s makes sense as you get bigger?

Aaron 27:49
Yes, uh, starting with retailers? So yeah, I mean, that was, let me guys kind of define how we view ourselves. I guess. We’re digitally native. But we’re not Yeah, we’re not direct to consumer only. That was something we embraced early on. Because we knew that using ourselves as example. If I’m going to research a product, I go online, right? Like, that’s where the information should be. And I knew that, again, like working at a place like Amazon, I knew that there was a lot of us who do that, you know, I could argue the majority of us are doing that. Yet, I saw a massive disconnect of like, but why a lot of bike brands embracing that, like what that seems there seems like a mismatch here. And why don’t we go all in with being digital first, and see how this goes. So that we, and that was, I gotta say, I mean, Emily influenced someone heavily of just like, No, no, no, we got to do this all, you know, online marketing, a big emphasis on her social presence, really embracing online advertising and working with media partners, and YouTubers, and all these things that was speaking for you. But that was a big, big influence that you had. So from there, basically, there’s always going to be, well, a few things. There’s always going to be some customers who want to go touch and feel a product. Shops are also incredible at what they do, right? Like they are informing customers on what they should be buying. And especially with something like a dropper where like, there’s a million sizes, and how the heck would you know what you’re supposed to put on your bike based on your personal dimensions combined with your bike sizing? Like that’s, that’s a lot to figure out. Right? shops do great at that. And then as we expand into other components, you know, we’ve really embraced color and things like that. So we have, you know, stuff that displays well in shops. They’re a major part of our business model. So that’s been really fun working with them. And in growing that like our results through IBDs it has been really incredible and we have been in over 1800 shops now and they’ve all been inbound signups. Oh, wow. So that’s crazy. Really, really, really crazy. And I think that the way that we went about things is kind of interesting. We instead of as a new brand, going out and hiring a big outside sales team or working with a distributor who’s trying to push product into a shop when they’re like Dude, I’ve got a million droppers. Why don’t like No, no, no more brands, we then did the opposite where we went out and basically, you know, attracted riders who then wanted our products, they then go into the shop and request our product, specifically, the shop that signs up with us. And that’s how we kick things off. So it’s kind of a sort of push, it’s more of a pool strategy. Yeah. And that has worked really well for us. So that’s, you know, it’s Yeah. Again, not not saying one model is better than the other, it’s just different. And I think that that is why it’s worked is it’s kind of we think about it a little bit differently than, than other companies.

Jeff 30:33
Yeah, it’s a great position to be in. I mean, did you think though, from the beginning, that that would ever happen? Like, that would be possible? No,

Aaron 30:42
no, I didn’t. I was excited to like, get into like, for instance, you know, the shops, I would work it out growing up, like, okay, those, you know, sure. They’re going to take some stuff in. So I guess you could say, Okay, fine. I did some outreach in the early days to to like three or four shops. But no, I, I had no idea things are gonna take off like this with with IBDs. And I think a big piece also for why we kind of maintain these relationships. It’s not just like a one and done thing is we’re treating the shop exactly the same as we treat our customers. So if they’re having a problem, like we, for lack of a better phrase, like kind of, you know, bend over backwards to make sure that making things right, because like I remember working in shops, you have a customer come in, like, hey, this part that ever my bikes broken, okay, cool. You’re like, no worries, we’ll contact them for warranty support. And then the brand is like not willing to support you, you’re you as the shopper and you’re caught in the middle, like you didn’t even cause this problem, and you’re trying to make things better, and then you’re getting jerked around. That’s a horrible feeling as a shop employee, when you’re on the floor, just kind of deer in the headlights like, hey, customer, I’m really sorry. Like, we’re not able to get your fork warrantied. Sorry, you get yelled at. And that’s never a good thing. So that’s not the that’s not how that’s not how we go about things. And I think that that’s really been helpful is kind of like because we’ve lived it firsthand. Like we really understand the struggle shops are going through. And we’ve catered our program around that.

Jeff 32:07
Yeah. What about you, Emily? Like what’s, what’s your customer service philosophy? Do you think the customer’s always right?

Emily 32:15
That’s such an interesting term. I remember hearing that when I was younger, and working at places in hospitality about is the like, the customer’s always right. And I think that that term, like as an employee is kind of like hostile to here, because then you’re like, Okay, well, where do I fit into that position. And for our employees, like our customer service team, are the, they’re the most empathetic people. And I, you know, a lot of us have worked in customer service. At some point. During our time at this company, like we were talking about TJ earlier, who’s now in product he started in customer service, most of us started in customer service, especially in the early crew. So instead of like the customer’s always, right, that goal for our customer services, like, the customer will always be happy at the end, instead of always right. And that just puts it more as a relationship between, you know, the writer and our customer service agent, which sounds very corporate. But yeah, I think that’s kind of our goal. I mean, bikes are so much fun, but they can be so frustrating to work on. And when they’re not working, right. I mean, it’s your tool for escape, it’s your tool for like, having happiness in your life. So I think when you know, a dropper feels or something isn’t like working right when you’re installing it, or just freaking internal cable routing is the worst task that you can have. And it’s all to do this fun activity. So I think we come with that empathy of like, things can go wrong, and it absolutely sucks when it has to do with your bike. So it’s just trying to get the best solution possible, so they can get out and ride again. And I mean, that sounds like a bunch of poppycock bullshit, but it’s really true. Like, we just want people to enjoy their bike ride and we don’t want our products to keep them from doing that. So that’s, that’s the main goal. That’s our customer service philosophy. Totally go do your bike.

Aaron 34:17
I mean, even things like you know, if we’re interviewing someone for customer service, like the scenario we always throw out is is one that we’ve all lived firsthand and also had customers read in about is like, hey, you know I’ve got like, one day a week or even a month that I get to go out and ride because I’ve got a busy life whatever got a family whatever it may be. And you know, your dropper stopped working and I’m really pissed off you know, like and then like I would you work with that customer on that and kind of hearing the responses really helps guide like our decision to be honest like that. And it’s a really good example of just like, well, well, God, I would first start off by saying like, I’m really sorry, that would piss me off as well. I totally get your frustration like what let me let me see what I can do to help you out like that. That’s a great way to think about it. You And with that, you know, we support our products with a lifetime warranty. And the reason for that is like, we got to a point where we had enough data to understand how our products work over, you know, a long period of time basically, like, if they’re gonna fail, it’s gonna happen quick. And otherwise, like, you know, there’s consumables that were out, but like in terms of craftsmanship, like, yeah, it’s pretty, it’s pretty obvious very quickly whether this thing is going to work long term or not. And so we have confidence that, you know, we’ve got great, like Great products, great support from our factories to help us do these things. And we wanted to, like really live the, how do I say this, like we in order to really embrace being a customer centric company, like we viewed lifetime warranty as that that kind of final step of just like really taking ownership of our stuff, and hopefully instilling confidence with writers that we really do take this serious, and we will support them. And that’s, that’s, that’s why we did it. It’s pretty, pretty, pretty straightforward. And it’s been been really cool seeing that. And I think that it really just takes the stress off of people writing in because they don’t need to be like, Hey, I got this, you know, it’s been two years. But, you know, I still have my original warrant, my original receipt, and I’m really like, I hope you’ll help me out. Because like, the warranty is only a year. Yeah. And it’s like, I don’t care. Yeah, of course will take care of you. Right. Yes. Right.

Jeff 36:23
Yeah, eliminate some of those arguments or those? Yeah, those kind of like adversarial customer service relationships, where people are like, Well, hold on, tell me exactly what you did to this thing. And I don’t know how we’re going to do it. I mean, yeah,

Aaron 36:37
that was an absolute nightmare. You know, growing up racing downhill in the era before there were like, dedicated downhill bikes, you know, like, we’re okay. The one that really was tough was racing to swallow. And like, there was no such thing as a slalom bike, we would buy, like women’s cross country, bike hard tails, because they’re small. And then we’d throw you know, short stems and stuff on and these things were not made to do slalom, and they always would break. And you know, you file a warranty claim through your shop. And sure enough, you’re not gonna see what brands they were. But they’d be like, Well, what were you doing? Like, it seems like you were maybe racing or like, I don’t know, this seems like you’re you were abusing it and not using it for what it’s made for. So no, we don’t honor the warranty. And I had so many of those over the years, that I still obviously still remember that I have a bit of a grudge, because it happened to me. And I don’t want to treat people the same way. Because that was, especially as a kid. I mean, that was that summer was over, I don’t have a bike anymore. Because like I didn’t, I didn’t have a job. So or a good paying job worked at a shop and you’re not getting support on a bike like you’re kind of done. So. Yeah. Anyway, yeah, those type of memories are definitely influencing why we want to do the opposite.

Jeff 37:43
Yeah, yeah. Is there are there things though, that like buyers can do to make sure that their dropper post stays working well and don’t need to replace it? Or they’re not going to run into any trouble?

Aaron 37:55
Yeah, use it. That’s like the best thing for and honestly, same thing with cars, too, like these cars that are collector cars, they sit and then the gaskets were out, and then they leak. So yeah, using the thing is the number one. And if even if even if that’s like, I don’t know, let’s say you’re not getting out riding but just like cycling every once in a while. It just keeps the fluids moving and the grease moving around. But like, you know, joking. I mean that that’s not a joke that is true. But like, keeping the wiper seal kind of clean is always a good idea. Like it does its best to shed mud or dust or whatever sand. But yeah, just kind of making sure there’s no grime building up behind it, because there’s grease that sometimes will will pass through. So keeping the wiper seal clean, and then rebuilding them or not rebuilding but servicing them. It’s always a good idea. So we have all those instructional videos on our website, we don’t have like a prescribed amount of hours or anything, because it totally depends on how you’re writing and where you’re writing. But generally, if the thing starts to feel a little sticky, or if you’re bored, and you want to drink beer and work on your bike, it’s always a great reason to to tear the thing apart. It takes like five to 10 minutes to service one. So it’s super easy.

Emily 39:02
We wanted to do that’s a big question. To see who could do it. Like it is like service. You can do it. Very, very.

Aaron 39:11
I think if you had all the tools laid out in the post was already out of the bike. I mean, you could probably do it in like two minutes if you’re really fast. Yeah. Oh, yeah. We should do that. See? Ya see? As fast as but

Emily 39:24
I will take 15 minutes and everyone else.

Aaron 39:28
You get beer at least Yeah,

Jeff 39:29
the 15 minutes. That’s not bad at all. That’s a pretty

Aaron 39:33
good, like bleeding. Or like rebuilding a fork or something. That’s pretty good. Yeah, so that’s a big one. It biggest thing is just Yeah, keep an eye on keeping it clean.

Jeff 39:43
Yeah. Cool. So I want to ask you both what are some of the like unique advantages or maybe challenges to working with your spouse?

Aaron 39:51
There’s none what else? Okay, so you take advantage so I think that we have very complementary skills. And I think that we were talking about this yesterday, I think for better or for worse, I mean, we don’t have the communication barrier that you might have in other work environments, meaning like, we’re able to critique each other without holding back because we have, we know each other very well. And we have confidence in our ability to communicate, that you just wouldn’t have with another what you wouldn’t likely have with another co worker, right. So I think that allowed us to really just like, get to the root of an issue figured out and then we move on, in fix things and build. So I think that was very good. I think really, the biggest one is just very complementary skills, like, you should see the type of marketing doc in sales documents I was making in the early days. And then immediately what happened when Emily got involved, the brand would not be where it’s at, at all, I don’t even know if it’d be around without without Emily. So that that was, that was very helpful. And also we think about things very differently. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off each other. And she’s got a really, really, really good head on her shoulders, about customers and brand and how we should be communicating, like with, with with our customers, like that’s been huge. And that’s something that like, I’ve learned a tremendous amount from her. So I think that’s been helpful.

Emily 41:21
I think also, the way we view bikes is very different, in a good way, because we kind of represent two different customer buckets. I mean, as Erin was going through his history, I mean, he’s, you know, been in kind of an extreme niche of the sport that I think a lot of people in the bikers industry actually come from. And then I come from this kind of more holistic, like, bikes are really fun, and I really like being out there, but I would never want to race my bike anywhere. I just, like, enjoy it for different reasons. And I think that our customer base extends, you know, to that core person who you know, wants to ride every rock garden and go to all the races, and then to people that it’s really used as a tool in their life for community, and fun. So, I think that’s also a really good thing that we both brought to the table, because I think a successful bike company needs to honor both sides. Yeah.

Aaron 42:22
Yeah. Also, too. I mean, I think we knew very early on in a relationship, you know, we wanted to work together and create a business of some kind, you know, I think it was very focused around like lifestyle business. And we started this with a company is still fully remote, but like, we started it that way, for a reason. So we could, you know, travel while still working. And, you know, obviously, the company is more far, far, far, far beyond that these days. But that was, that was the original intent. And this was kind of a nice, is a nice way to get started. Because it was it was like the the business involves things that we’re experts in, in very different parts of the business. Right. So like, we were able to come together and do this thing, which is cool.

Emily 43:05
Yeah, I mean, yeah, I think that what’s very interesting is when you start a business like this, I don’t think we had anything in mind of what it is today, we did not start, you know, thinking that we would have a lot of employees, nothing like that. I think it was just based on we wanted to work together, we saw this opportunity, and we were excited about it. And we saw it as a side business to be quite honest. And for the first, you know, almost four years of the business, it we were working with contractors, of course, but it was just Aaron and I, and we didn’t actually have our first employee, we hired our and you know, our business partner in 2019. And then we quickly got a first employee after that, but between 2015 and 2019, it was just us on the day to day, which you learn a lot about your partner. And it was it was really fun. I mean, I think we look back on that time. And it was it was just, it was so fun to get stuff done and get stuff done really quickly. Now, you know, we’re a bigger operation. There’s incredible amounts of learning and fun that we have now. But it’s just different

Aaron 44:17
years. Well, we’ll get into challenges here in a second. But like one other thing is Yeah, I mean, during that building phase, everything’s new and everything’s just crazy, right, like, landing back country for the first time. I mean, I remember coming home and just like I think we I don’t remember what we drank but yeah, we open something beer or wine or something like that. And like that was a huge, huge, huge deal even though you know, order. Like for them to take a chance on us back then. That was like 20 late 20s Yeah, that was in 2016 I think 2017 But that was a massive accomplishment. It felt like and you know that relationships really grown but like That was crazy. Just like whoa this thing we’re doing out of our house like they want to be part of it is huge. To like reputable brand, like, it’s amazing, right? So I think and you’re sharing that with your partner. And also, you know, we work together too. So it was kind of that Dual Advantage, I think, you know, challenges, you know, you’re living with your business partner. So it was really important for us to work on defining that boundary between work and off time. And what really made it challenging was during COVID. A, the computer is always sitting there staring at you, it’s very easy to just get caught up and stuff, you can totally relate to that, I’m sure. And then also, we weren’t able to do the things that were like, our non work activities, like we weren’t able to go out and travel together, we weren’t able to go out to dinner, we weren’t able to do these distractions. So then it very much became work, work, work, work, work, work, work all the time. Okay, hold up, like we got to create that separation somehow. So that we’re not like, CES. It’s not just that we’re working all the time. And now that things are starting to clear up with, with COVID. Obviously, like, that’s made things a lot better. But yeah, it’s hard. It’s really hard.

Jeff 45:55
Yeah. Do you guys have any sort of like embargo on work talk? I know, that’s, I’m, I’m really bad about that. Because Lee and I work together. And so like, you know, I don’t know, it’s probably on my mind a lot like stuff that’s happening with work. And so yeah, like, it’ll just come up in conversation, like dinner or Yeah, night or whatever. And it’s like, yeah, do you do set boundaries with that? Where you’re like, No, we’re not going to talk about that. Or at least try not to talk about it.

Emily 46:22
I think what’s really funny about you mentioning, like, usually, I was about to say, you know, a lot of this as well, I think we both try to set boundaries, but then the one that sets the boundary, like, I know, I’ve asked here, and I’m like, okay, sometimes like before, I had, like, Aaron doesn’t drink coffee, which is extremely weird to me. But like, I’m a coffee addict, and I need my coffee in the morning. And he’ll like, be really excited to talk to me about something about work. I’m like, Man, I can’t. On the other side of things, like at the end of the day, like our internal clocks are just so much different. So then I’ll be like, really excited to talk to talk about work at the end of the day, and he’ll be like, I’m just trying to, you know, wine down, drink a beer, and I’m like, but let’s talk. So I think it’s like, but I think we always try for the boundaries. And then if we’re excited about something, we’re gonna blow right through them. So

Aaron 47:19
or if you’re even if you’re upset about something, it’s just, it’s hard to let it go. Like, you just you want to chat through it with someone and you want to chat through it with your spouse, who also happens to be who you work with. So like that? Yeah, that’s been something. I don’t know, we’ve gotten a little better about it. But we’re still not great about it. It’s very easy to start talking about work. No matter what.

Emily 47:42
I don’t know if you felt but especially through COVID is like, really going on. So you think we fell into some habit right? With that, that we’re slowly coming out of? Totally?

Jeff 47:56
Yeah. And I mean, I imagine that it’s the same for all couples, you know, even if they’re working different places, you know, that’s where you spend your day and your time and your energy. And, you know, you got to spend time like catching each other up. Maybe it goes faster. Because you know, exactly, you don’t have to give Like the whole backstory about like, you know, this is the thing I’m working on, so you know exactly what each other is working on. And so you can kind of jump into it, and hopefully, hopefully get past it quickly and then start having fun again.

Aaron 48:26
Totally. Exactly. Yes.

Jeff 48:30
So Emily, you mentioned being more sort of focused on the fun side of of biking, and sort of the enjoyment of that as opposed to like racing and competition. Like, aside from the raw product specs where people are, you know, want to know how much travel does this dropper have? And you know, how much air pressure can I put in it and stuff? How important is that versus like color choices? Because I know P and W is kind of unique, that you all offer all kinds of colors, and even the dropper posts now you can get like little bands to put on them to like give them color and stuff. Is that what a buyers think of that? Is that like important to the?

Emily 49:14
Well, I would argue that it’s extremely important. We aren’t robots as much as I wish that we all were. Yeah, I think it’s always a form of personal expression, which is, which is pretty awesome. We kind of stumbled into that without even like honestly, I didn’t even they I was just like, Yeah, we’re gonna have colors that’s going to be knit in through all our products as much as we can. I feel like that was a really defining feature for our loan lever, which is an amazingly technical product, but then has this kind of visual aesthetics that are new, interesting and weirdly satisfying. I still find that product I look at the product so often and I’m very satisfied by it which I guess is like cutting my own shoulder. But I just I like it. And I think that addition of colors is so fun. But yeah, I think it happened kind of naturally just because of, you know, my background maybe. But it’s something we fully embraced and we see customers really like it. I’m always curious, like, I feel like anyone listening to this podcast, like, let me know what color you want to see on your bike. I’m always curious what that question brings up to be honest, because it’s all over the place and you get a lot of things like, you know, electric yellow, and you’re like, really?

Okay. All right, we can run with that. But yeah, I think it evokes emotion. We’re emotional people. I think we’re really emotional about our bikes in a good way. Yeah, so love it

Jeff 50:48
was one of those like yin and yang things for you guys. Like I can just imagine Aaron being like, what, like colors that know our supply supply chain, this is going to be ridiculous, because we’re going to get the wrong colors and you know, end up with a bunch of pink ones. And so out of the orange, like, the conversation.

Aaron 51:07
Right, Andrew? Honestly,

Emily 51:09
it’s more Andrew, our other business partner that’s like, Is this really necessary?

Aaron 51:13
He’s our head of operations. So I’m actually kind of bad about it. Cuz I’m like, Yeah, more colors. But yeah, but yeah,

Emily 51:19
I would say that you’re strongly opinionated. Like, we’re seeing a really interesting like, push in the industry right now, to go with these really interesting earth tones, and kind of tacky and all this stuff that we haven’t seen, I mean, primary colors have been in for so long. And they’ll, they’ll always be in. But like, there’s all these interesting things. I’m like, I really want to try a sage. And I know that sounds really weird. But one of the first, this is like my random geek out on color, one of our first colors like that cement Gray, that was inspired by Toyota Tacomas. So I’m always looking at Toyota Tacoma colors, because they actually do some really interesting genre pushing colors. And what you see in Toyota Tacoma has, you will see like Santa Cruz bikes in the next couple of years. It’s very interesting. So

Jeff 52:12
we did a survey, and that was like, the most popular truck or vehicle among mountain bikers. So

Aaron 52:18
I believe in any scheme everywhere.

Emily 52:21
There’s definitely some science going on there. Yes, I get really,

Aaron 52:27
really stepped was it as aftermarket brand, I think that’s an interesting one, actually, that we’re kind of debating right now is like, what direction? Do we go with color because you are accommodating a lot of people, like if you’re a bike brand, you have to do what’s new and cool. Like you have to stay ahead of the trend as best you can. So like, we, you know, we would always travel to like trade shows for ski and snow because they’re they’re pretty up on things running, obviously, or just athleisure in general, very much setting the trend in terms of colors. And then the bike industry would embrace things, usually three years after they were not not not that’s not a dig. It’s just it just it is what it is. It’s kind of out.

Jeff 53:02
Well, I mean, but we were late on E commerce and stuff, too. So yeah, I mean, you’re kind of painting a picture.

Aaron 53:07
Yeah, for sure. So. So now for an aftermarket brand. Like we have customers who have bikes, ranging from like, early 2000s, through the newest stuff, and there’s a lot of trends that have happened through that time period. What do we choose, you know, like, we can’t have every color. So that’s a really interesting one, because now that we’re seeing a lot more of these, you know, like, Italy calls them like less saturated, you know, earthy tones on new bikes, like what percent of the total market of aftermarket buyers are those customers? Is it enough where we want to bring a whole like line that is like a sage green, or, you know, kind of like a clay blue, versus like our safety orange and our like hot pink or purple? Or like these colors that do really well? Like, when is the time where we start transitioning away from those. So anyway, we’re trying to figure that out. You guys know the answer? Let us know. Yeah,

Emily 54:02
I think the answer is everything. All of them all of

Jeff 54:05
it. Right, right people, somebody’s gonna want every color. So

Aaron 54:09
there you go. So well, so 10s Stilton, right.

Jeff 54:14
Well, so yeah, while we’re talking about color and sort of this idea of of fashion, P and W, along with actually a number of other brands recently launched a line of cycling apparel. So why clothing was was the idea behind getting into that.

Aaron 54:32
Yeah, I mean, we it’s, I mean, it stemmed from customers asking for it, you know, like technical apparel. So that’s where it started. And we started to kind of chat through the with the, with the rest of the team and came up with with some pretty compelling features that we always wanted. Like for instance, with our jacket, you know, we created this weight waist belt system that it’s optional, you can take it out, but basically like if you have these pockets on the back of the jacket and you’ve got it loaded up with whatever, you know, spare tube and your phone and keys. As you’re going down the hill, like those things tend to start creeping up your back. So like how do you keep them to stay? Like how do you make them stay put? So we have this internal belt that does exactly that. So like that that was a cool idea for the jacket. Like, for instance, on the women’s shorts, what you should talk about that one, I don’t wear one shorts, but there’s a lot of complaints.

Emily 55:25
Oh my gosh, yeah. Or women’s shorts. I mean, I think I had so many problems, finding them. And there’s a lot better options now than there was when I started mountain bike riding. I will caveat that there’s a lot of people doing amazing things. And I think you can’t mention women shorts and not mentioned treacly, which is an amazing company. But just that longing for a short that was understated and didn’t give you the thigh gap between your pads. And you know, the hem of the short and then also pockets. I know we talk about pockets a lot as women, we just don’t get the same attention with our pockets that you men get. So yeah, there’s

Jeff 56:06
not enough of them, right? I mean, a lot of men listening don’t know this. So yeah, we should be explicit. If they’re so

Emily 56:13
tiny. It’s like sometimes I can’t even fit my hand in it. Like I can get one shot clock in here. And that’s it. Not even a whole thing of shop, just one. But we have we the same technology, the item, even technology and clothing is kind of funny. But we have a cell phone pocket, it fits my phone, which is the size of the house. And it disappears while you ride. Because obviously if you put that in a front pocket, like it just is terribly uncomfortable. But we have kind of this cool side pocket. And honestly, I’ve forgotten that I have my phone on rides, which is a gift. But yeah, so pockets, you know, the right hand length, those were really important for us in the women’s shorts, so I’m very stoked about them.

Jeff 57:01
Yeah, yeah. So it was kind of identifying this need that that wasn’t being met with a number of the clothing items that were out there. Is that is kind of where this all came out of.

Aaron 57:14
Yeah. And it’s Yeah, totally. It’s also a fun place for us as a brand to kind of push the limits of like, what, like, what do our customers want from us, and also be able to like experiment with something that’s not hard goods. So that’s a whole new learning experience for us. And then also, it gives us a great ability to play with colors and fabrics and all of these things. So yeah, kind of a check a lot of boxes for us and writers too.

Jeff 57:42
Yeah, yeah. Is the manufacturing. And like the lead times is that is that like easier? Because again, it’s like, it was weird, because in the last year or two, it’s like every bike brand came out with clothing as well. And, you know, it kind of seemed like maybe it was because they couldn’t get bikes. And so like, is clothing, like easier to manufacture? Or like, how does that work?

Aaron 58:05
I mean, weirdly enough, the lead times with so I guess to start off, I don’t know, I don’t know if that’s what influenced these other brands with our lead times on hard goods going the direction that they did. Apparel always seemed ridiculous, because you know, you’re talking like nine months. That’s sure better than 500 days. So that yeah, that was I guess that was like a side benefit. It definitely. I don’t think we were really even thinking about it at the time. But then all of a sudden, we’re like, oh, wait, we’re gonna get these way before a new pedals. Like, that’s cool. So yeah, that was helpful. And for some reason, yeah. It just was not affected in the same way like the supply chain was not affected in the same way. I’m going to guess probably, when you’re making fabric, it’s not the same as like, mining, like raw ore for you. I mean, like, I think that’s probably why it’s more available. But it was during this this whole time. So that’s part of it. But anyway, yeah, it definitely like lead times were helpful. Why a ton of other brands jumped in is an interesting one. I think it’s going to create a situation where like, the market will shake out over the next probably 18 months of who’s going to continue with apparel programs versus not and that’s that we see that a lot like you see with like gravel bikes blowing up a ton of brands start popping up out of nowhere, and then it kind of shakes out to who’s going to kind of continuously stay through, you know,

Jeff 59:34
yeah, yeah. Interesting. Well, I’m curious to know to a little bit about your pricing, you know, obviously inflation is a thing right now. And it seems like you guys have kept prices like a dropper posts in particular pretty steady throughout the years. How are you able to do that? How do you keep the prices so low and continue to keep them low?

Aaron 1:00:00
Yeah, you know, we got we I was doing a little research the other day see, I mean, we’re up 13 13% inflation since 2019, or shipping costs have gone up, you know, like almost 30 to 50%, depending on what type of shipping we’re talking. Our product costs have also increased a lot, numerous times, we kept getting, you know, kind of incremental jumps. So we did our best to absorb what we could, because we wanted to maintain that kind of promise to customers that like we’re doing everything we can to support them. We did recently implement some price increases just on a few products, not everything. We really, we had no choice we had to. So yeah, I think that’s a very conscious decision to do, again, what we feel is best for our customers. And I know that I’m sure my business professors are cringing if they were to hear that, but that’s a big part of it. And I think that for us, like we’re hoping that that, you know, is a very clear message to, to writers that we’re very serious about what we say and that we are willing to sacrifice a bit of margin in exchange for that. But like I said, I mean, we did, we did raise a few recently, like, the more sensitive things like grips went up a bit, just because like our cost to ship those is very high. And we had to we had to basically absorb a bit of that. And then a few droppers, we were pretty tight on margin, too. So we bumped those up.

Jeff 1:01:26
Yeah, but yeah, I mean, you’re still though way less than most of the other brands that are selling dropper posts. And so yeah, I mean, I’m curious, is that because your suppliers are?

Aaron 1:01:38
Yeah, well, yeah, I mean, it’s the relationships with suppliers. I mean, we’re getting really, really strong pricing, just based on these relationships of buying, you know, hundreds of 1000s of things. When I was specking bikes, like obviously, we’re not paying that many now. But like having that kind of historical relationship, and also, they know what, that they know that I know what this stuff can cost at a big brand. So like, I’m going to, I’m not going to just bend over and pay 50% more just because it says like, that’s helpful for sure. The other parts, our business model, you know, the fact that we don’t sell through distributors, that is immediately a 20 to 30% savings to the customer, we just pass that directly on. And then the other part is, you know, we’re really selective with what type of marketing and advertising we do anything we do. Like we need a trackable return on it so that we can make sure we’re being efficient, and again, pass the savings on to our customer. And so that’s why being digitally native is such a strong asset for us is that exact reason, you know, like, if we were to go sponsor, I don’t like Big World Cup race teams. That’s sort of a question mark, as to what your return is on that on that investment. You know, there’s a million examples out there, you know, print ads are always a tough one to swallow. You know, they have their place and but for, but it’s tough, because it’s like, okay, I paid X 1000s of dollars for this ad, I have no idea if I’m gonna get a return on that. Like, it’s kind of tough to tell. You can kind of assume that like over your total marketing spend, like sure your sales are going up. But like you can’t you can’t say for sure, it’s because one person saw one ad. So that was always been a tough pill for us to swallow. So I think those, those are the big reasons why we’re able to have such competitive pricing for the quality that we have, like, we’re not the lowest route, the cheapest brand. But we’re definitely not the most expensive one, especially for the quality.

Jeff 1:03:33
Yeah, yeah, definitely. So looking ahead, and what’s what’s the vision? What’s the vision for the future of P and W?

Aaron 1:03:43
Yeah, we have a very busy schedule ahead of us. So we’re, we’re continuing to launch a lot of products. I think we have another Gosh, 10 or so to come out this year. Oh, wow. So we’ve already launched eight, this year, something like that. Six, six, and we have two more coming very soon. So anyway, yeah, we’ve got we’ve got a pretty packed schedule there. Our big one is expanding internationally in a more is you can say like, more meaningful way, like, technically we will we ship overseas to, you know, for instance, into like the UK and mainland Europe. However, super expensive. I’m amazed and for those of you listening, thank you so much for the for taking those extra costs us to get to stuff but like we need to have a local presence there. So we’re getting the UK ramped up first, and then mainland Europe, likely out of Germany. And just, you know, aside from that, like, we’re constantly trying to push the envelope for how we can take care of our customers best and I sincerely mean that like that really is the most enjoyable part of this. There’s a lot of there’s a million different careers out there that we could have jumped into, but like the fact that we can really stick out people and they’re appreciative of it, it means a lot so that that’s something that we really win wanna continue doing? And we have a lot of ideas for that. You’re probably looking for like, we’re looking to achieve, you know, 45% CAGR annualized growth. But like, yeah, you know, we have growth targets and all that. But it really it’s around those three things.

Jeff 1:05:14
Yes. Yeah. What about for you, Emily? Wait, what are you what are you excited about for the future of b&w? And to do more of, or maybe less of,

Emily 1:05:25
oh, yeah, more of and less of, I’m really excited about the digital landscape right now it’s changing really fast, which means we’re going to have to adapt. So we’re didn’t just have another fun amount of learning to do. And what’s great is because of the bike industry, we can kind of take cues from Aaron mentioned it earlier, but like glossier the makeup company, and I know that sounds weird to say that a makeup company is inspiring a bike company. But there’s actually similarities there a lot of makeup was one of the hardest things to get people to adapt to online early in the days of early e commerce, because it’s something to try something you’re used to going into a store to, like, you know, look at color tests, all of that. It’s very similar to how people feel about bikes, they want to go in, they want to see it, they want to make sure it works with their bike, etc. So it’s definitely something that I’ve taken a lot of cues from, which is probably a bit horrifying for some of your viewers maybe. But yeah, so I think just watching and learning and looking at what’s happening name, I mean, digital changes so quickly, I mean, we’re already seeing a mass change to how people want to be advertised to, of course, with Facebook changing or meta, changing a lot of what they’re doing, because they have to, because of the apple, but there’s just a lot of interesting things and then pushing that line of how we can create community in a digital space, and then having that translate to, you know, in real space. I think that’s always the one of the goals that we have. So lots of exciting stuff.

Jeff 1:07:13
Yeah, very cool. Yeah. Well, it’s awesome to follow the brand and to see how you are able to kind of think outside of the industry and take these best practices and things and apply it and clearly it’s working. You know, people love the brand and love the product. So yeah, very cool to see. Well, thank you both for taking the time to chat with me today as really great and looking forward to see what else is coming from b&w

Aaron 1:07:42
Awesome. Yeah, thank you so much for for thinking of us. And yeah, it was fun, fun, fun talking shop.

Jeff 1:07:48
Yeah. Well, you can find out more about the P and W brand at w And we’ll have that link for you in the show notes. So we’ve got this week to talk to you again next week.

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