Esta es la version en español.
What exactly made you want to get into the clothing business?
I’ve dabbled with the idea in my head for a few years. I talked with a few different people about doing something, but it never really went anywhere. At an event in Ecuador they sponsored, I got a Briatong sweater and the feel of it was better than anything else I’ve ever worn, so the idea restarted in my head.
Give us a little background on Briatong…
Briatong started in 2007. They are based in Peru – where some of the best cotton in the world comes from. The brand was started with the mentality of creating a better product, especially after the experience of working with other brands. At first it started as a hobby, but the public acceptance was so great that they decided to continue growing and go full force with it. The mentality is still the same – offer the best product and support artists and riders. As people say, if you look good, you’ll ride good and you’ll feel good.
How exactly did you get involved?
I posted a photo of me wearing the first sweater I got on social media. They contacted me and asked if I wanted a few more things. I was curious if everything else would feel as good as that sweater, so I said sure – but with no further intentions. Around a year later, they hosted an event in Lima – which I decided to attend – and saw how involved they were in BMX and that so many locals were repping the brand. We kept in touch and talked about possibly doing something together, but last October I decided it was time to get serious. I flew to Peru to meet in person and see what we could do. They showed me the factory and how everything was made, which made me fall in love with the product even more. We decided to move forward then and expand Briatong internationally.
Briatong is a strange name. How exactly is it pronounced?
Bri – uh – tong.
Where does the name come from?
Like I mentioned earlier, the brand started as somewhat of a hobby about ten years ago. At first, the only real serious matter was the quality of the clothes. The name started as a joke based on different brands with similar names. Although it may be a strange name at first, I like that it stands out. After seeing the high quality of the product, I stopped looking at it like a strange name and simply associated it with the quality.
And what’s your role within the brand?
I’m their first international rider. I’m also in charge of their sales, distribution, and marketing internationally. It might sound like a lot, but so far it’s manageable.
I know the brand is pretty well established in Peru. What are you doing to grow it everywhere else in the world?
The plan is to support riders and events in the States to get started. Advertising through other channels will be next. We believe the most important way of spreading the message is word of mouth, so we are focused hard on creating product and getting it out there. Everything is handmade in Peru with the best materials and with deep attention to detail.
In your opinion, why is Briatong good for BMX?
I think it’s been a while since clothing of high quality has been in BMX and we would like to change that. Usually brands buy a random blank shirt, add a logo or design, and consider it done. Although we have a couple of shirts with our logo, our focus is to keep it fresh and different.
The soul of the brand isn’t about making money – otherwise they wouldn’t support BMX as deeply as they do The idea is to make the best product possible that can support others in achieving their dreams.
What sorts of things is Briatong doing to give back to the BMX world?
So far, they have hosted some of the biggest events in Latin America. They support local riders, jams, and more. When we sat down to talk about the possibility of working together, we kept bringing up what we could do to better the sport in itself and help it grow. That’s an important part of why I got involved.
Within BMX, who else is representing the brand?
I’m Briatong’s first international rider. Peruvian riders Henry Rodriguez, Irvin Padilla, and William Perez are on the team, along with BMX photographer Oscar Pereira. A couple of them will be at FISE in Montpellier later this mobth. The idea is to start hooking up some guys internationally until we form an official team. Hopefully this will be done in the next few weeks once we receive our next clothing shipment.
What exactly can you tell us about future plans?
Right now, the focus is quality over quantity. The next move is to start supporting riders and jams in the US. From there, hopefully working with other distributors around the world to spread the product and the message. We want to help in whatever way we can, while providing the best product. Also, I think it’s worth noting that we’re constantly releasing new designs. We think it’s important to keep things new and fresh. The entire line isn’t available internationally just yet, but expect that in the near future.
For those who are interested, where are Briatong products available?
What’s next for you? Is this a step towards retirement?
I’m getting ready to start the season in a few days and it seems like I’m gone somewhere every week or two until December – mostly for contests. I don’t think I’m ready to slow down yet. I still ride every day, am in great shape, and enjoy competing. With the talks of BMX park in the Olympics, I certainly don’t see myself slowing down anytime before 2020.