On today’s podcast, we present a rather quintessential American Success Story that goes by the name of ENVE Composites. If you ride bikes and have a thing for high-quality gear, you already know ENVE. But you almost certainly don’t know the whole story.
You’d never guess from the look of things now, but ENVE’s trajectory wasn’t exactly a rocket ship, but more of a roller coaster ride with lots of peaks and a number of nerve-wracking valleys.
Last week I headed to Ogden, Utah, to visit ENVE’s headquarters and tour their factory, and I then sat down for a conversation with three people who have each have played (and continue to play) an important role in ENVE’s past, present, and future.
We were joined by ENVE’s CEO, Sarah Leeman, about the highs, lows, and the absolutely pivotal decisions that were made when the company’s future looked very precarious.
Also with us is ENVE’s chief engineer Kevin Nelson, and we talk with Kevin about working with carbon, why ENVE’s use of it isn’t simply about making lightweight bike parts, and what it means when ENVE talks about doing carbon the right way.
And last but not least, ENVE’s product manager, Jake Pantone, is at the table. Jake has been at ENVE since the early days (back before the company was even named ENVE), so he’s basically seen it all.
Topics & Times:
• Our guests introduce themselves, and we discuss the origins and the early days of ENVE. (3:25)
• Sarah talks about the “Cinderella story” of ENVE, including the dark days of cease & desist notices and name changes, and the company’s major decision to keep manufacturing in the US. (6:20)
• Why carbon, and what does it mean to “Do carbon right”? (29:45)
• Manufacturing in the US vs manufacturing overseas: What are some of the misconceptions, challenges, and benefits? (36:10)
• Will an intermediate rider even notice the performance benefits of an expensive carbon wheelset? (46:40)
• ENVE’s future: what does ENVE’s plan to grow look like, how is “price” related to that growth, and how does ENVE hope to continue to differentiate itself as more companies get into their space? (50:00)
• Working with the Santa Cruz Syndicate — which Syndicate rider breaks the most stuff? Which rider provides the most product feedback? (1:00:00)
• Team Dimension Data vs The Syndicate — Which team is providing the most feedback? (1:03:30)
• Sarah’s best day at ENVE (1:07:57)
• What’s next? (1:10:00)
• My Grand Finale Question (1:11:53)