We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian De Groodt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve always been a horrible employee. Mind you, not that my employers would know this, because I do care about anything that has my hand in it. Rather, I believe a truly good employee is concerned about the mission of the organization they work for.
I never had that feeling. I felt there was more for me on my own than under someone else. Even if that meant shouldering more risk, the reward of owning my own business was a small price to pay, to me. The pain of not taking a chance was greater than the benefit of ignoring it.
I grew up believing individual agency as the most sacred of all American values. However, as the saying goes: With great power, comes great responsibility. I knew enforcing my desire to have full control over my life meant not having a lot of safety nets you typically find in larger organizations. Win or lose, it was all on my shoulders.
I took my chances. This isn’t my first attempt, but I think I finally got this right. It’s still a daily (hourly) learning process, but the foundation is there and I’m building a business and a community daily.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started Dispatch Custom Cycling Components in 2017 with a simple belief: That the image of what has been pushed as the definition of a cyclist simply wasn’t so. The exclusive/elite, 135 pound cat riding around on a $10k carbon road bike is definitely not your average cyclist–but that’s what most of the ads and product pushes from the industry promote.
The problem with that is it creates a vicious cycle that promotes entry and fast exit from the activity when you fall for that image, buy the bike, head out to a group ride (or solo) and realize the industry isn’t actually talking to you. So the bike goes in the garage and the tires go flat and you’re out the back, as they say.
I wanted to build a company that acknowledges all are welcome–and mean it. Not a whitewashed statement of inclusivity, but truly a community of cyclists of all types. From commuters to the Pro Tour rider.
It turned out a small piece of customization for your bicycle in the form of a headset cap was the perfect part to get people inspired. To take that bicycle out of the garage, put their new piece of kit on their bicycle, pump up the tires and ride. Smile. Repeat.
I know it’s working. Not from our financial metrics, but from the individual emails I get in my personal inbox from our customers. The stories are amazing. Some heartbreaking lows. Some epic highs. All by way of the bicycle. Those stories are better than any paycheck and they keep me going.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love the mountains. We’re so fortunate to have the beautiful adventures we have available to us in our backyard.
My personal getaway is going to be on the west side of the state. A two-wheeled adventure from Crested Butte out to Montrose–or however far we decide to make it. Definitely self-supported. Pack it with you, if you need it. There are so many small towns and amazing people along that route, so every dinner is, of course, an opportunity to meet new people and hear their stories–and sip some of Colorado’s fine craft beers & spirits. After a few days on the trail, we’d end up in a hot spring somewhere recovering and marinating in the memories made.
Let’s plan on rolling out in late August or early September.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My story doesn’t happen without a lot of influencers and mentors that are far too many to list individually. I’ve been inspired by many.
I’d will say no business is built on its own. There are teachers, friends, mentors, and even rivals & doubters that shape a business. I’ve had the good fortune of some very smart people in my life and an even better supporting cast. My wife and closest friends come to mind immediately, but if I named one, I’d have to name 100
Photos: JMV Digital