Like most stories in life, RacingLine's starts with love. I met Jamie, now my lovely wife, at our first job. It was a consumer electronics start-up company. Jamie was a talented graphics designer just finishing up her Master’s Program at Pratt. And I was an aspiring accountant pursuing my MBA degree and preparing for the CPA exam. Most of the members in this start-up were in their 20's just like us, brimming with career ambition and self-confidence (to put it nicely). The youthful excitement and a hint of naive anticipation of instant success were palpable and contagious. That excitement and dedication from everyone propelled the company to grow at a staggering rate, an average of 30% year over year for almost the next decade. We were consumed with nothing but work and in return, it consumed us.
My wife eventually resigned when our second baby was born. We realized that it would be impossible for us to raise our two children while both of us were working 60 to 80 hours a week. I continued to serve for another 8 years climbing the corporate ranks. As the Director of Global Planning and Controller, I participated in planning and launching of Business Units all over the world including in Germany, Canada, Mexico, and three factories in China. Unfortunately, in early 2013 things quickly unraveled. Within a blink of an eye the company went from performing record breaking sales of $500 million plus to filing for a bankruptcy. The company had to lay off more than 3,000 workers globally, many who had dedicated their lives to the company for more than a decade. I stayed as long as possible helping the company close its doors. Needless to say, it was one of the most challenging things I had to go through in my life.
As difficult as it was at the end, my tenure at this company provided me with a wealth of experience and knowledge. I was faced with an opportunity to dictate the next chapter of my career. It would perhaps be my last chapter, so I had to be honest with myself and make a decision that I would not regret. Although I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of my tenure at this consumer electronics company, one thing I did not enjoy or have passion for was... well "consumer electronics". My true passion and love belonged to Racing, more specifically Auto Racing. I loved every aspect about racing; the pursuit of cutting edge technology, and how that technology became an extension of you competing against others and yourself as you perilously pushed your limits. I loved how the technology from racing contributes to the society in improving safety, and how it established new trends in other industries. But most of all, I loved how it evoked emotions like no other sports could.
Being an accountant at the core, I’ve always needed to have the certainty of income and expenses, and plan accordingly. The thought of not having that certainty to support my family was foreign and frightening. Upon much consideration and late night discussions, we decided to take the plunge into the world of entrepreneurship. Fortunately, Jamie and my family were very supportive. Although, I do have a sense that my mom is secretly wanting me to fail quickly, so I would get back into what she perceives as the comfortable corporate world. But for the most part, we were overwhelmed with the amount of support from family and friends. As small and humble as our company might be at this stage, we would not be where we are if not for those generosity and support from family and friends.
The company would be www.RacingLineUSA.com. We would combine my passion for racing, Jamie’s design expertise, and my experience from business planning to provide exciting Apparel and Accessories for Racing Enthusiasts. We put up our house for sale, cleaned out our retirement account, something I always advised others against doing. We worked day and night to learn as much about the fashion and racing industry. We sought guidance and mentorship from our friends in both industries. And after months of preparation, we finally launched our eCommerce site in December of 2013.
As any entrepreneur can testify, launching a new eCommerce business is extremely challenging. For us, partnering up with vendors and service providers that are as passionate as we are about racing made that mission-impossible very possible. Another aspect that contributed to overcoming the mission-impossible was those words of encouragement from friends and family. They were worth the weight of gold since in any given day there are over 100 different things that can beat your entrepreneurial spirit down. However, the most uplifting act of support to this day was when my 8 year old daughter bought one of our hats at full price to show her support for the company. She certainly knows how to melt her daddy's heart.
So, with the second chapter of our career just starting out, we’re rolling up our sleeves to write the rest of that chapter. We hope that our passion and dedication shines through in our products and service. And for those that have purchased our products, we thank you for your support. Please come by and say hello if you see our booth at your local race. And tune into www.RacingLineUSA.com time to time to cheer us on.
Wishing all of you an exciting and safe race season,