Armed with a name for the brand and the decision to launch I was off and running. My head was, and still is, filled with tons of product ideas and designs. Back in 1985 at Bellview Middle School I took a Home Economics course for six weeks and made a truly rad bright pink and black flannel apron. Yet, I still don't know how to use the sewing machine my wife has here.
One of the major precepts of the brand I wanted to create was to keep production in the US. I knew I could likely find sewing houses in New York or LA but didn't the Southeastern United States have a rich history of textiles? Thank goodness for the Google machine. One morning, after coming in from an early morning run, I sat down and started searching the inter-webs with the hope of finding something closer to home. Maybe a sewing facility in North or South Carolina or Virginia. After roughly 5 minutes I came across a video for an athletic apparel factory about 25 miles from my house.
Having been around the apparel team at Specialized I knew what kind of things the factory would need to be able to do. The video highlighted the abilities this factory had; from pattern making to laser cutting to embroidery. However, there was on part of the video that really caught my attention. It appeared on the screen for just a a brief moment. I could have easily missed it but fortunately I didn't. Right there on the screen was footage of a large format sublimation printer running. Being printed was a brand I knew well from the cycling world. I had to watch it over again, several times. Making sure what I thought I saw was really what I did see. And yes it was. An Italian brand, one of the foremost names in cycling, was being made at this factory just around the corner from my own home in Snellville, GA.
A week later I was on the factory floor with the owner learning all about their operation. Family owned and operated for more than 30 years. Producers of more than 100 brands of athletic and leisure wear. A place where family and people matter. In the summer time the factory owner arranges for a daycare program for those workers who have children. Workers bring their children to the factory each morning and then a daycare provider loads them all in a passenger van and takes them for the day. They go to the library, the pool, the park...and the factory covers 50% of the cost. Working with people who have a positive impact in the community where they live and play is important to me.
Just like that, Reăl had found its first production facility. Who would have thought, Snellville, GA? Now, to get some of our designs made.
This was taken from a journal entry from November 22nd 2018
Lance Watson, triathlon hall of fame coach, takes on, perhaps, the most asked question in Ironman, 70.3, Olympic and Sprint triathletes minds. How do you warm up for a swim start where you are not allowed in the water prior to the race start?