OK, I have a confession to make. Airdrop Bikes is just me. It is - at least for now - a one-man-brand. I'm the owner, the designer, the finance guy, the web guy, and the guy that makes the tea. Plus anything else that needs doing around the place. I just wanted to be straight about that.
My name's Ed Brazier.
By Summer 2014 I'd been a professional designer for 12 years. Working for someone else was grinding me down. Sitting there, staring at my computer while the sun shone outside was not fun; I could even see the Peak District on a clear day. So I quit. It was the hardest and best decision I've ever made.
I always wanted to build a company. I didn't always know what we would do, but I knew what it would be like: a small group of like-minded people doing something worthwhile, something worth doing well. It would be hard work but we'd enjoy it. It would have substance and integrity. It would be honest. It would be a good thing. It would be everything that my day job was not.
"If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well."
That vision may seem naïve. It's what I thought it would be like before I discovered the harsh realities of business in the real world. Initially I was hoping to find a job somewhere that fit the description, but it became clear that if I wanted it to be that way, I'd have to make it happen myself.
I didn't have a plan, but after working so hard for so long, I needed a break. So I rode my bike every day and it soon became clear. Mountain Bikes. It had to be about bikes. Slowly I became obsessed with the idea of building a new bike brand. It seemed so hard as to be ridiculous, but not impossible. Once that idea took hold, there was no shaking it. I had to try.
The good news was that I'd been saving. Every month I put a bit aside so that one day I could set up on my own. I also knew that you don't need to reinvent the wheel to succeed, you just need to be committed, work hard and make sure you do everything well.
The bad news was that I had no idea how to start a mountain bike brand. But that was also the attraction: the challenge of solving a problem so big it seemed almost impossible.
The first thing I did was sketch down some principles. A typical designer thing to do. I didn't want to just set up any old company, it had to be right. If I was going to be fully committed, I had to really believe in what I was doing. So what I wrote down that first day was:
I stuck that up in front of my desk as a reminder.
To be continued...