I was given the platform and opportunity at the 2019 Door County Century Expo to speak about his personal brand story behind Creature of the Wheel™. I haven't done a lot of public speaking in my life, but I can talk all day long about this particular topic...
I originally registered for the DCC this year to ride the 50-mile route (In retrospect I probably could have done the full 100-mile ride, but at the time of registration I wasn't sure what I would be capable of after my recovery from my near-death e-coli experience). I also signed up to sell COTW gear at the Door County Expo - this would be my first time selling my gear at point of sale, I was very excited for that in and of itself!
A month or so past when out of the blue I was contacted by the DCC ride director via email - he said that he likes to check out the website and brand story of new vendors and he was very intrigued with the COTW story. In the email he asked if I would be interested in sharing my story for about 20 minutes or so at the Expo this year...I jumped at the opportunity!
I actually did a talk earlier this year at a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Green Bay on my 40th birthday so I had talked about my story in a public setting before this event. However, I would be sharing my story with a new demographic - cyclists. I had to tweak some of the speech just a bit to gear it towards the COTW brand and what cycling had done for me. It was an interesting segway going from being a "salesman" for Creature of the Wheel one minute, to bearing my heart and soul in front of random people only minutes later. I will say that the more I talk about my story and challenges the easier it gets each time - it's very cathartic to talk about some of your inner demons in a public setting.
The most interesting piece of validation that I received that entire weekend was that Creature of the Wheel is going to be a successful brand - I know it will. Everyone I talked to about COTW loved the concept and the designs and brand proposition. This was BEFORE I even told them about my near-death experience just prior to originally launching the brand in late 2018. I had hemmed and hawed for months about whether or not I should integrate my personal near-death story into the brand of COTW.
"Is it too emotional?" I would repeatedly ask myself. Looking back I was committing "paralysis by analysis" as they say - it was a no brainer to include my story into what is an emotional, passionate brand at it's core. I'm glad I made the right decision.
I could go into great detail in this blog about all the things I talked about at the DCC, but my book is the best resource available. I encourage anyone to check out the print, e-book or audiobook format of this book if they get a chance. It's an easy read, I promise.