You might have noticed that FELT is on the FATBMX program this year. We decided to check in at the FELT offices in the USA and caught up with Alan Foster.How are things at Felt?
Alan Foster: Felt is good. We're at the end of January and we're working on '06 product now. As far as team activities are concerned, Scotty Cranmer is staying on the team, which was a fight, and so are Paulie Lange and Scott Walkowiak. Those are our main three guys and we do two grassroots teams, one is a race team out of California and one out of Connecticut. Then we have a flow team with Rob Jensen
from NorCal who has been getting a bunch of coverage in DIG, he used to ride for Solid. Then we have Ronnie Chalk, he’s riding the Felt frame and parts, Manual Prado, a flatlander who rides the frame and bars and we hook up a bunch of other riders with stuff.
Scotty has been going nuts. He’s got a lot of new tricks that people have not seen yet. Just keep an eye out for an upcoming FOX poster in RIDE with Cranmer doing a turndown front flip. It’s not like the other guys do it, no disrespect to Berringer who is doing them rolling off the lip, but Scotty is jumping like he’s jumping a spine. He’s also doing a flip double whip, kind of like a barrel roll, it pretty wild.
So you’re here for the marketing side and product?
Alan: Kind of anything image related BMX-wise, I guess you can call it BMX marketing. Felt is not that big and we do a lot of stuff outside of BMX. It’s a 4 days a week job for me and not even 8 hours a day but I’m putting in extra time because I like doing this. I also have my pre-school that I need to take care of so it’s working out fine.
Do you have anything special coming up?
I would love to do a video but I think if we want to make a video, we have to be able to beat every other video out there. I think at this time we don’t have a deep enough team to do it.
What about the European riders?
That is in the hands of Bodo Hellwig and I have little to nothing to do with that. I would like to do a short video which is more like a demo tape for dealers that they can show in their shop. Nothing like an Odyssey or Etnies video who spend loads of time and money on a video project.
It seems like Felt is growing and growing?
It is. Sales are better than last year in the USA, that’s where I focus on, but I know the European orders are up too. We were brand new last year so we came from the ground floor. The market is kind of levelling off or sales are down but that’s not the case for us. Every day they’re opening up new dealers. If the market is stable maybe we’re replacing other lines. With Penny Westman and Mike Russell here, we’ve got some pretty heavy hitters from the sales world. I started working here a year and a half ago and we had 14 employees. Now we’re up at 23. We never had a customer service person, everyone just helped, and now we do. We used to have one person running the warehouse and now we’ve got a warehouse manager and two people working in the warehouse. The product manager used to be the purchaser too and now we’ve got a person for that. We now have an adult marketing manager which gives me more time to concentrate on BMX. The more time you can spend with the riders, the more ideas you get for product, ads and that kind of stuff.
Felt does design a lot of their own parts?
And we’re proud of that. You can get a copy of the big parts catalogue and order a sprocket or a new seat. When things get tight it’s tempting to do so. Just recently we had to make a call like that but Geoff Schochev was like; â€œNo way, that’s not what we’re about. We’ll design our own.â€?
Thanks for your time Alan.