which evolved into figuring out how to run my own BMX / Skate Park events for profit through sponsors etc, which evolved into starting my own event management business, which lead to me owning a skate park / shop. So I guess I learned by doing stuff slowly over about 10 years - I never went to business school, but I started small and worked my way up.
Were your BMX industry contacts already made before you started your shop, or did you meet more people along the way?
Rampfest: Through riding myself and running events / demos etc, I had a heap of industry contacts already - and I originally bought the park with another BMX Store - so that helped me to be pretty connected in the Aussie industry.
Who are some of the people that helped out in the beginning, setting up the BMX shop?
Rampfest: Tonnes of people - way too many to even try and name for risk of missing someone out! Everyone from close friends who became loyal customers and advocates, the suppliers I knew who extended us credit to get started, my friends through other business ventures that gave advice and tips along the way, the local riders who are a rad bunch and always keen to jump in and help out when we need a hand… there was a lot of people to thank.
Are Oldschool BMX parts some of your business?
Rampfest: Not a huge part - we have a few rad customers who come in and are chasing specific old school gear, but as a skate park (with foam pits, rest etc), we tend to attract a pretty young crowd, who aren’t super interested in old school gear.
How big is your local scene?
Rampfest: In Melbourne, the scene is pretty big. We’ve got a good bunch of regular shredders who come in to ride all the time, and plenty of young kids to travel to the area. The scene is definitely smaller than it was a few years back, but the guys who’ve stuck around are a tight group and really committed to riding bikes and having a good time.
Name some of the things you have to do to keep the local scene interested in BMX and your shop?
Rampfest: The biggest thing for us now is Coaching Programs - we run weekly clinics, holiday camps, beginner classes etc. Not only at our own indoor park, but at outdoor council parks. Plus we host a couple of annual comps etc. and support a bunch more local comps around the city.
Do you believe there are people out there killing the BMX market with agressive pricing?
Rampfest: Honestly, I don’t spend too much time thinking about that. There are certainly some online stores that do crazy pricing and I think this hurts the scene because they don’t really do anything to support locals - but I don’t see much point complaining about it. My theory is that no pricing can beat an awesome face-to-face experience with a customer / rider - so I think we’ll always have a place as long as we keep delivering that.
Why would a rider have to go to a specialized BMX shop in your opinion?
Rampfest: Well, we should know what we’re talking about for one - plus, we’re putting money, effort and time back into BMX. Basically, we give a shit about what we’re doing and aren’t just going to sell you the highest margin piece of garbage we can get our hands on…
International shipping, what's your take on it?
Rampfest: All power to the businesses that make it work - good for them. But I’d tell everyone who will listen to shop local and support local - that’s where the scene is and they’re the guys who’ll help you out to make BMX better. Dan’s Comp aren’t going to keep the shop open an extra half hour for you when you’ve blown your tube at 6pm Saturday night and are desperate to get one before tomorrow… When you buy local, you’ll be playing your part in keeping the scene alive.
What are some of the better months for your shop and why?
Rampfest: We have pretty different peaks throughout the year - School Holidays are big for us - because of the skate park. Plus your classic retail times like Christmas obviously.
What's the best advice someone has ever given you?
Rampfest: Don’t be a dick… haha. It’s a pretty good tip for all of life, not just work. Purely on a work side - I like the idea of just focusing on what you do, and what you can control. There are a million things outside your power and I see a heap of people in business (not just BMX stuff), worrying and complaining about it or getting caught up on competitors, industry things etc. Focus on what you can change - not what anyone else is doing.
What would a good day at the BMX shop for you look like?
Rampfest: Every day is pretty varied - the Skate Park really adds a different side to running a regular shop. A good day to me would be any time someone comes in to buy the first BMX. I get so stoked when we sell a kid his or her first 16inch, or 18inch etc. That’s definitely a good day.
Who laces the wheels at your shop?
Rampfest: Definitely not me - I couldn’t lace a wheel if my life depended on it! A couple of our staff can do it now - after a bit of trail and error…
What company has the easiest bike to build up out of the box?
Rampfest: They’re all much the same to me - but not gonna lie, I haven’t built a bike in a couple of years… I’d have to ask some of the team! Haha…
Does a local riding spot and local events really help with your business?
Rampfest: Again - I’m probably in a different boat because we have our own skate park… but 100% I think it does. I’ve seen a few shops in Aus move closer to local parks and spots / start putting on more jams, and events and it seems to be working for those guys too.
What should/can be done to increase the BMX market?
Rampfest: I think we need to make it easier for parents to get their kids started in BMX. I see a ton of parents come through regularly with their kids, and a really common theme I hear is that parents don’t get Freestyle BMX, don’t understand how their kid can progress / improve etc. Parents get mainstream sports - soccer, athletics, cricket, football - they can see their kids learning, progressing, winning, improving, getting in the best team etc. It makes sense to them, so they’re right behind it. I think we make it super hard for parents to support kids riding BMX because we’re so anti-rules, structure etc. It’s not like we have to suddenly start wearing team jerseys, and doing anything crazy, I think it just means we need to embrace local comps and events, get local series running, host local “coaching” clinics - basically just make it easier for parents to get comfortable that their kids are in a good sport, full of good people. On a local level, why not team up with another shop and run a comp series across your city? Why not host “Come & Try BMX” days at your local skate park with the local shredders? Why not run a clinic one day a week at the local park to help kids learn something new? These are the kind of things that I think would make our sport grow exponentially. And that would be good for everyone involved in the BMX industry.
Rampfest: Thanks of the interview - stoked to have been in BMX this long and looking forward to being around the scene, the people and riding my bike a lot longer!