So as an artist in the fashion industry I find it hard to not find a way to allow one field to benefit the other. Just recently my first batch of gear came in. My first ever helmet and neck collar. I noticed whilst perusing websites for equipment (within my rookie year budget) and i was hard pressed to come across any cool designs, vibrant color schemes or truly anything out of the ordinary. I have a passion to change this but at the same time I do not wish to set forth on launching a custom line to test the waters without a slight bit of feedback.
I can do this in any color desired. I will also be able to do glove, boots and even some custom suit work at this very moment!!
2018 will be able to handle helmets
As a designer who has been working in this space for the past 5+ years, I can tell you it’s not easy.
What exactly are you doing? Just re-coloring logos? And how are you doing it?
Are you saying it’s not easy art wise or to market and sell?
Sell, most karters would rather spend their money on tires and spare parts than looking good. You need something truly unique to make an impression on them.
Colored logos can be achieved with paint marker and a little patience, so I would venture to guess the sort of people who would be interested in this would rather spend the $5 to buy a paint pen and do it themselves. And the people who have money to spend on aesthetics are going to go full-bore and buy a custom suit or painted helmet etc.
But still not quite sure on what you’re actually intending to sell as a service.
Logo color changes would be the beginning and eventuallu Rvinbow Coalition Concepts: Rvinbow Racing division would launch its own line. Motorcycles, karting, skiing/snowboard. Head to toe like troy Lee designs
An informative answer for sure if ever did see one. I need to gage the racer community in terms of expendables and what they prefer spending the extra on. Thank you so much and may you be blessed for the time you took out your day to help me.
Full-on custom sports gear (especially race wear) is a super tough market to crack. I’ve been working on the “Troy Lee path” for 5 years, and have offered my own line of custom suits, custom gloves, and helmet paint. It’s difficult to find good vendors and have control of a quality product. Lots of trial and error and lots of investment. And then marketing and selling is tough as well, and I already have a fairly established brand within the community and have experience working corporately in the sports apparel industry.
If you can do it, go for it! It would be really cool to have something like Troy Lee has.
I think it would be tough unless you’re offering your own custom brand like TJ. I’ve bought gloves and a suit from him because of the cool designs and to support someone doing unique things in the karting world. Kart racers aren’t like the moto and bicycle guys who have multiple “kits”. I think most just don’t think about it or care honestly.
You probably have three streams of opportunity, some people/companies do 1 or 2, other do all. In my opinion they are;
Aftermarket Customization: That is adding something to customize it. Helmet paint, helmet wraps, sticker kits (karts, bikes, tool boxes, trolleys, phones), suit patches, graphics (stickers, decals, visor decals). Medium to rare, there seem to be more of them then before social media but still the same number of good quality companies.
Specialist OEM customization: These are items that require some sort of specialist technical knowledge to manufacturer in the first place, either they are homologated or certified or the expected quality is to that level. Race suits, kart suits, gloves, boots, nomex underwear. These are pretty rare, the Torq (me), FreeM, K1 and to a lesser extent (they mainly focus on off the shelf) the big guys, OMP, Sparco etc. The quality can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Non-specialist OEM customization: There are tonnes of these, customizing clothing either through importing plain clothes and embroidering/printing in North America. Or getting everything done elsewhere and importing the finished product.
The problem you’ll have is getting known and being trusted. Motorsport can be pretty clicky and its about who you know. A lot of people who work in it are ex or current racers who started doing whatever they are doing for free or as a side job and I would suggest for every successful one there are at least 99 that didn’t get to a point where it was their sole money maker. Troy Lee is a perfect example. Once a pretty successful motocross rider from a motorcycling family, he started painting helmets in 81 so its taken 36 years of hard work to get where he is now and that including the time prior to the company when he was just painting for fun (apparently started when he was 11).
So that wasn’t meant to put you off. If you are interested in doing some freelance design work in the future you can email me your portfolio to [email protected] and we can take a look at you for future team wear designs.
This is the exact reason why I joined Kartpulse. Without this forum I would’ve spent an obscene amount of money and time and effort to very little avail. I have done that getting my fashion business reputable and it was so difficult and is still a grind… (doubt that will ever change)
I’m not necessarily put off as I am aware of this opportunity being one which will subtract rather than benefit in the process of growing my brand.
Even with qualification it appears that it would be a hit or miss business venture. Looking for solidarity and a way to build culture and clientele. Lots more plans and ideas to cultivate and pursue for motorsports… this is only the first.
Thank you for all of your responses and for your honesty above all else!
I think you will find the new suit TJ is making me to be amusing.
Regarding custom gear, does anyone have any experience with Axcel graphics? They do custom suits for about $450, which makes me wonder about the quality of the suit. I’ve somewhat recently tried the lower end Alpinestars and Sparco suits but didn’t like the feel and construction compared to my decade old, higher end Sparco suit. Also, being that I’ve lost about 30 pounds, my suit still fits me well in terms of height and shoulder mobility, but is way too lose in the waist. I think I’ll have to get a custom size next.
@tjkoyen You said you’re involved with Troy Lee for custom suits? What do those go for if it’s just a standard design but custom size?
I think you’re referring to Axcel Sports doing the suits, not Axcel Graphics. Axcel Graphics is a helmet painting company in California.
Axcel Sports makes a decent product from what I’ve seen, but what some of their former customers (now my customers) have told me is that their customer service isn’t great. But no first-hand experience with them on my part, so that’s hearsay.
I’m not involved with Troy Lee at all. My post was simply referencing them as a goal I’ve had for a long time, which was the influence that lead me to getting my own Oktane suit line going. However, due to a variety of reasons, I’ve quit making Oktane suits and now am a dealer for the Torq brand (working with Torq America aka @NikG) , which is a newer company based in the UK producing really high quality suits and race wear in Italy.
I won’t turn this post into an advertisement for my business, but if you’re interested in some info and pricing on custom Torq suits, feel free to email me ([email protected]) and I can hook you up with pricing, sizing, and design information.
Yes, that is who I meant and I appreciate the info. I’ll email you at some point in the near future. Need to get the new-to-me kart on track to make sure it’s raceable without putting my suit budget into it. Haha.