Hello all. It's Debi Grupe here. I am going to tell you the story of how this fan page got started and why, because it might help answer the question about the cost of the jerseys, while giving you a bit of our short history.
My husband Mitch Tarr told me about a Facebook page that he started, called I Love Road Cycling. He had it about 6 months before he told me, with about 80 fans on it. He didn’t post very often (once or twice every couple of weeks), but when he did, it was usually about a ride we just did, or he asked if anyone was going to watch certain cycling races, like the Tour de France (which we love to watch every year).
Anyway, when I looked at the page, I thought, hm, this could be fun, I could help and add more content to it, like adding pictures of our rides and posting the odd cycling quote or joke. I wasn’t working (other than making my art, which is another thing I Love to do), so I had time.
I had been doing this for about 7 or 8 weeks, when Mitch told me about this online course which helps take your fan page and sell t-shirts on it. Since I was looking for work, I thought this would be great, since I was enjoying the fan page and it could become a job that I loved to do. I could work at home and still do my art.
Through this course they taught us how to set up a private VIP Group, which are all of you!!! I can’t believe how fast it grew. It will be one year Oct. 1st, that my first fan joined, I think his name is Scott. Randy Howell being the 6th person to join!
I love reading all your stories, the great camaraderie amongst the group and getting to meet the odd VIP member along the way (you all know who you are!). I also hope to meet many more!
Anyway, I managed to sell a few t-shirts, nothing to write home about, considering all the time and money I invested. I found it tricky and very costly to get right. I have even had people steel my designs which I paid for.
In the meantime, the VIP group continued to grow quickly, with some people asking about getting a jersey made. This was great, but I had the problem of my own rule, that there are to be no sales in the VIP group. I figured if I didn’t do it someone else would. Plus this would be the exception to the rule. There was some pressure. I also didn’t know how to do it. This was around the time this all started to not be fun for me. I had to pick a company to make our jerseys, I had many people PM me with who to go with. I checked the different company’s out, got one of our members to design the jersey, Antonio Martinez (he was paid and did a great job), and decided to go with ZAAVY (Formerly Fast Freddies Apparel) US Made, which meant quality and more importantly to me, keeping jobs in America. I could have gone with many cheaper places, all out of China, but I didn’t. Another important thing, was that we didn’t want to carry much inventory. It would be way too costly.
So this brings me to the occasional question about profit on the jerseys. I am not sure why I have to justify adding some cost to the kits, which helps a little bit to pay for our time, efforts and direct expenses. After all, ZAAVY gets paid and Antonio got paid. I don’t know why we should do it for free.
We had no idea how many jersey’s or kits we would sell (which wasn’t many), since it was our first time ever doing this. We chose our prices based on comparable quality, in the marketplace. By purchasing a jersey, you are supporting my effort to keep this awesome group going. I also want to add that there is no obligation to purchase anything, ever.
So here we are with this online forum of people from all over the world, that get to chat all day and night long about cycling, making new friends and learning so much, all for free.
I am so glad that this group has turned out to be as awesome as it is!! I have worked hard to keep it clean of advertising, people asking for donations, getting rid of negative content as much as possible and more.
It is so awesome to read Kevin Phatdaddy’s hilarious good morning posts, checking in on the latest fikeshots/fishershots, seeing where Jan and Jim Tucker-Roberts have been lately, reading Jeffrey Hendrick’s inspirations for the day, accompanied by a quote from 'wheel brothers' usually, getting to cheer on our VIP Members as they enter races and getting to read the many awesome stories of people that have overcome weight issues by riding their bikes!
Thank you for your time and everything you have done to keep this group as awesome as it is!
Sept 24, 2015