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Meet Dave Manchester

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave Manchester.

Hi Dave, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
For many bike people, the bike came into our lives as children. Whether it was going back and forth from school, getting to that summer job, or racing, the bike was an integral part of my life. As does for so many, life got busy with education, families, and day-to-day life.

I was very fortunate that as I pursued my professional career, I was able to secure roles with some of the world’s premier cycling brands, such as Cannondale, Schwinn, GT, Charge, Diamondback, and more. Serving as a key executive I was able to contribute to those iconic brands’ growth and success. After more than a decade of 275+ days of global travel, I left my role as Senior VP of Sales and Marketing in late 2018.

After recognizing the trends in cycling apparel for customization and personalization, we launched Athlos in 2019 at the Interbike Trade show, the cycling industry’s premiere US tradeshow. Our goal was to provide a “start to finish” solution for custom performance apparel. We haven’t looked back and have developed a great business focused on customer service, and customer retention, with amazing products and designs.

We have a host of professional athletes competing on the global stage of the competition and support the future stars in the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, NICA. Incredible biking programs for student-athletes. We are also the proud technical sponsor of the 2022 Maryland Cycling Classic.

This is America’s top one-day cycling event with the best cyclists from around the world coming right to Baltimore on Labor Day weekend.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
With 20+ years in the cycling industry, we were able to leverage our relationship to grow our business quickly. We secure early partnerships to get eyes on our brand and support cycling events such as the US Pro Cup, Bubba Burger New England Race, and NICA.

We also secured a host of professional teams and athletes such as Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling and Twenty20 to drive the credibility of our brand. It’s a daily challenge to ensure we meet our customer’s expectations. We have high customer retention, but we have certainly had challenges along the way. From FedEx having plane mechanical, causing delays, or missed deadline.

Our biggest challenge came with Covid. Our factory was shut down for almost 5 months with thousands of orders in the system. All major events were also canceled having a huge negative impact on revenue. Stress was at an all-time high. We made a wise, or lucky decision to temporarily pivot our business into cotton masks.

We were fortunate to be ahead of our competitors and the mask business sustained us until our factory reopened.

We’ve been impressed with Athlos, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Athlos is a custom high-performance apparel brand with a primary focus on cycling and running. We have a full creative team at our customer’s disposal to help bring their brand, club, team, or charity to life.

We offer a diverse assortment of products that can outfit the best cyclists in the world, but also offer a cost-effective solution for novice cyclists or schools on a budget. We offer a “start to finish solution” to make the process simple and easy for our customers.

Internally we say we are a “customer service team first” and a “product company” second. We live in an Amazon world and consumer expectations are extremely high. Whether it is 2 or 3 units or thousands, we are ready.

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
My twin boys! No greater joy than my sons Danny and Jack, identical twins.

On the personal front, riding my bike, whether it’s a long 100-mile ride, or a trip to the store, as soon as I am on my bike, I think to myself, “I love riding my bike”. Riding a bike gives you freedom, brings adventure to your life, and keeps you healthy. It is great for the planet.

Bikes change lives and bikes can change the world. On the business front, it’s the satisfaction of helping bring our customers’ vision to life. Getting the excited messages about their new kits, their event or ride, and their satisfaction with Athlos.

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