The Coeur Sports Manifesto
Posted on August 24 2016
Hi everyone. We hope you all have been having a great summer. At Coeur, we’ve been busy spliting our time between creating new products and cheering for all of you as you’ve made your way through thousands of workouts and across as many finish lines. We’re currently, in the final stages of our Interbike preparations and can’t wait to show off some of the new products for 2017 at the largest bicycling trade show in North America.
As luck would have it, we launched at Interbike, so we’re also preparing for our fourth birthday! Despite the craziness of trade show preparation, we did find the time to reflect on our first three years in business and we took a shot at documenting what we’ve learned and what we stand for.
So, here’s the end result of that process which we’ve taken to calling the Coeur Manifesto.
We’re fans of endurance sports, all-out efforts, and good people. Everyone at Coeur is an athlete of some sort, but as important, we’re also fans. We’re fans of sports in general and especially endurance sports. That’s why we cheer so loudly for our customers, pros, ambassadors and friends. Of course, we love seeing the Coeur colors out on the course, but we’ll cheer for you no matter what you’re wearing. Just, be a good person and try (really, really) hard. If you do that, we’re in your fan club no matter what the result!
We loathe the cheaters. We hate to “go negative”, but over the years we’ve seen how incredibly hard athletes work day in and day out. That’s why it absolutely drives us mad when we see someone cheated out of a result that was earned fair and square. Whether it is someone who used performance enhancing drugs or cut the course, we just don’t think there’s a place for them in our sport or industry. Which sort of leads us to…
We really, really, want to do our part to make the world better. Yes, it’s foolish to think that a small company like Coeur can “move the needle”. There’s no doubt that life can be brutally tough and the issues in the world are mind-blowingly complex. Even the challenges in endurance sports are daunting. Once when we were emailing everyone we knew in the industry trying to figure out a way to allow more pros to earn a living doing what they love, we were told to “quit thinking about how things could be and accept how they are.” No kidding. Not making this up.
Despite that figurative “pat on the head”, we’re still intent on trying to do something positive.
We acknowledge the Pollyanna-ish nature of that thought, but we are determined to make our (positive) mark on the world and creating a community of encouraging women seems like a darn good place to start.
Is this the start of a revolution? Or just great pizza? Or both??
In our heart of hearts, we believe the process can be a bit like a row of dominos. So, please just push that first domino over by smiling and saying hello to the person next to you in transition, at the start of your run and your ride, or in the lane next to you at Masters. We promise, it will put them in a better emotional state and with luck, they’ll pass the good vibes along.
For us it starts with the clothing. All of the above being said, we know that nothing happens if we don’t create exceptional garments and back them up with “from the heart” service. If we don’t do that, nothing else occurs. No community, no sponsored athletes, no “make the world a better place”, and (of course), no paycheck for any of our employees. So, we honestly obsess over the clothing and strive to create the best gear and the best value out there.
We know some of the gear is on the pricey side, but it’s not because we’re stuffing the profit in our pockets. It’s because we insist on great fabric, top of the mark trim, exceptional sewing and “Made in the USA” quality. Which leads us to…
We Love our country. We are definitely our "parent's children". Several of us had parents and grand parents in the military and a deep sense of patriotism was instilled in us. We know this country isn't perfect, but it has given us an environment where we can take a risk and start a business and we have the freedom to swim, bike, and run for fun. A lot of people made, and continue to make, unbelievable sacrifices for these opportunities and you can absolutely bet that we recognize and appreciate what we've been given. Now, there are business reasons why making our clothes in the U.S. is a good answer. The supply chain is short and the quality is high, but it would have been really easy to go offshore. Other companies have walked that path and following would have been easy. Despite all of that, we wanted to do our best to make our clothes here. We were lucky that there are several factories in Los Angeles and we’ve found two that are owned and staffed by honest, hard-working people. We know we pay a premium and that there are risks, but we see the quality and think it would be foolish to bet against the U.S.A.
The growth is cool, but it also makes us concerned. We're not going to deny the fact that we live for wonderful reviews on the products and kind words from our customers. The warp speed sales growth is also amazing. All of these are indicators that we're on the right path and it is so much fun to welcome new people onto the Coeur team. Plus, right now, we have the luxury of being able to hire friends who completely get what we're all about. That being said, we do worry about our ability to stay true to our path as we expand. It's relatively easy for a small team to be aligned, but what happens when we're much, much bigger? Like we said, growth is awesome, but we know we have to do it the right way.
There are other really good people in this industry. Sure, we’ve come across some turkeys and machismo-fueled competitors who will do anything to keep from being “chicked”, by a woman-owned apparel company, but we’ve also come to know many of the founders of other clothing companies and there are some flat out good people in this industry. This list isn’t exhaustive, but we can honestly say that some like Wattie (Wattie Ink) and Hillary (from Smashfest) are outstanding human beings. When you expand the net to include people in the industry who don’t make clothes, the list gets even bigger. If you ever meet someone like Bob Babbitt from Babbitt Media & CAF or Stef Hanson, from Witsup, you'll see what we mean and we know you’ll be better off for the experience.
Bob Babbitt is one of the Founders of CAF
They are honestly trying to improve and grow endurance sports and we feel lucky to be able to call them friends.
Gratitude. A lot of incredible things had to happen for us to be in this business and to get to spend time with all of you. We’re not going to lie, there were some really tough times in the beginning, but we never lost sight of how fortunate we were to be in this industry doing what we do. To this day, we still get a thrill when we see someone on a race course or in an event wearing Coeur.
These pictures make us incredibly happy
You all have entrusted us to create the clothes that you’ll wear during some incredibly challenging events and we’re incredibly grateful for that trust. We promise that we’ll do our dead level best to never let you down.
So that’s where we are at this point in our existence. Thank you to everyone who has played a part in this journey. We look forward to serving and cheering for you for many years to come.
Now, get out there and have some fun!
Happy Training and Racing!
Your friends at Coeur