Brett Richard will be the first to tell you that he's only half the stache of Handlebar Mustache. He and his wife Ashley moved to Colorado a few years ago and started Handlebar Mustache--both holding down day jobs as well. I'm happy to say our paths finally crossed out at Interbike this year. All I had to do to get an interview was ask where he was from and insinuate that he had a slight accent. Boom. I had myself an interview. Piece of cake...or rather...chunk of mustache wax.
[303Cycling]: How long have you lived in CO? What was before CO?
[Brett]: I am proudly from Independence, MO, home of Harry S. Truman. NO ACCENT on this guy, straight Midwesterner…no "fixin or y'all", that is all my wife. I moved to Memphis, TN and got stuck there (aka served a 13 year sentence there). Memphis is basically Detroit in the jungle...high crime and nasty weather. That is where I met Ashley (she is from that sad place). I started cycling in Memphis and even though it is one of the worst cities in the US to ride in, I was hooked on the sport.
After falling deeply in love with the sport (leading us to attend the TDF 4 times), I began to have IT band issues. I was in PT there, saw 5 MD's, had 3 MRI's and had 9 cortisone injections in 15 mo. - with no diagnosis. One Dr. even asked me if I could "live with it" . I bought Andy Pruitt's book, diagnosed myself and booked an appointment to come see Andy. I can honestly say, if it wasn't for Andy and the procedure he invented with Dr. Jim Holmes (Dr. Holmes did both my surgeries), I would not be riding a bike or living here. I had an IT band release on my left leg in Oct of '03 and the right in Sept of '04. I rehabbed and am all good now!
We fell in love with Boulder during all this, and knew we would get here some how, some way. It took 7 years, but we made it happen. I had the opportunity to transfer with my job in Oct of '09 and we knew we had to do it. It was a crazy time period, but we made it work. We moved from one of Forbes 3 worst cities to live in to Frommer's happiest city in the US that year.
[303Cycling]: Do you have jobs aside from HM? If so, how do they help you with HM stuff?
[Brett]: Day jobs, yes we have them. No, we don't talk about them/are not allowed to talk about them, by our employers.
[303Cycling]:That is wickedly secretive. I love it.
[Brett]: Thank you. I was in apparel retail for 15 years. All that time learning about fit, finish and textiles was a HUGE piece of how/why we started.
[303Cycling]: How does your family help with the business?
[Brett]: My wife plays a huge part in the company. I might be face/stache of the brand in many ways, but she is the wizard behind the curtain. I will have an have an idea, and she does the design work to bring it to life, CFO duties, etc. Ash is amazing and has been the reason we have made it. Our cats are very active by sitting in front of the computer while we work. The dogs work security and on occasion the teenager helps pack up an order or two.
[303Cycling]: What does your garage/basement look like? I envision a lot of bikes and an old-timey newspaper-like printing press that you do your shirts on. There is also some kid dressed like a cast member from the movie "Newsies" who hangs out on your corner and puts the newest shirt designs on every corner along the Front Range. "Extra, extra, read all about it! New t-shirt design is OUT!!!" Am I right?
[Brett]: I like the way your brain works. It's a typical S. Boulder 1956 garage. Happy to say we are moving in a new space for Handlebar Mustache in N. Boulder this month. We will be splitting a studio space with our friend Megan Dean that builds Moth Attack bikes. She just moved here from Vegas.
[303Cycling]: Where's the coolest place your tshirts/products have ever ended up?
[Brett]: Man, that is tough to say. Our T's and socks have been on cool folks and been to RAD places. Sven Nys and Tom Boonen both own a BELGIANTFU shirt I gave them at Interbike this year and Cipo owns a Cipo for Prez shirt I gave him last year. We love seeing Ben Berden and Nicole Duke wearing our socks and putting them on podiums each weekend.
I gotta say WE LOVE to get pics of customers out wearing our stuff - it's as awesome to see someone out riding in a cool place in our kit as it is to see our T's being worn on a Podium. We have recently been sent pics of our pink socks worn by groomsmen at a wedding and during the birth of someone's first child. Our FUCANCER shirts/jerseys have been with people and helped them express themselves. Those moments are tough, but very special for us as well. Coolest place I have taken our gear was our trip to Belgium and Northern France in June. Wearing our "I Cobble RBX" the day after riding Roubaix was pretty cool.
[303Cycling]: Do you remember your first official sale of a shirt?
[Brett]:Oh jeez… sometime in Nov of 09. Don't recall which shirt it was. I do remember that Brando Newcomer, now a close friend, was one of our original 20 customers. We met him shortly after moving here at the Boulder Theater. He was wearing our "Pedalin Squares" tee at the showing of Ride the Divide and we had to meet him. Started riding a bit and now he is a part of our Co. in many ways!
[303Cycling]: Speaking of, you guys have recently started up the Handlebar Mustache Racing Crew. Can you give us the current status of said crew?
[Brett]: We ended up with 17 members for 2014, not to mention some pretty amazing sponsors; 92 Fifty Cyclery, Ergon, Mad Alchemy, The Boulder SC, Pro Gold, and Skratch Labs.
[303Cycling]: What are your future plans for Handlebar Mustache?
[Brett]: Keep growing our brand and keep doing custom work for people in the cycling industry. We are blessed to have snuck/kicked our way into the industry not with our athletic prowess but with a belief that we could do it a bit different. We enjoy working with teams, shops and companies in the industry to bring their items to life.