And not to worry. We're coming at you with all the tasty goodness you've come to know and love, from our new and improved Kustom Baja Hoodies to some stuff we hadn't even dreamt up until after last year's show!
So stay tuned true believers, we'll be bringing you updates as they happen. And be sure to check out the Events, Shenanigans & General Mayhem page, where we'll be posting new shows, rallies and debaucheries as we confirm them.
Keep it real and stay warm gang, we'll see you all in Abby.
You gotta know where you're comin' from, to figure out how to get where you're goin'.
It had been a bit of a break that almost no one around would, or could, wrench on old iron. Then a new shop, specializing in vintage bikes and bobbers, opened up in town. Guys with longstanding ties into the local crowd and a licensed restaurant to boot. Now competition is good. It helps to build the culture, and these guys hit the scene strong which was great. Tough to keep up with though, when you're the little guys, bootstrapping out of a shop that you've built onto your house. Hell, we literally got our start with a little red tool bag wrenching in a parking lot. I used to have to pack everything up whenever I had to go inside for a leak, so that nothing would get stolen while I was gone. We've come a long way.
As time passed I moonlighted to keep things going, even working a stint at our local Harley dealership, where I learned just how very, very good HD is at what they do. Their focus on selling maximum financing, rather than on actual motorcycles, brings in boatloads of cash. Generating an "American Made" image, while placing their brand onto foreign made products is genius. Their followers will shun gear and parts because they don't have the HD label. quality and where the stuff is actually made doesn’t matter. It was an education on how to make money in this industry and it left me in doubt that a small business, putting people and bikes first rather than dollars, could survive.
Comes the Friday of the last long weekend of the season and Adrian, who by now had a serious case of grumpy-pants at not being able to throw a leg over, was in for one stunner of a visit. We drove over and shocked the lucky guy with box after box of new and used bits. You never saw such huge shit-eating grins all around. We threw in a T-shirt for luck and hearing later that he put it on the second we left made me feel pretty damn fine. Adrian is a capable wrench in his own right and even though we had to hit the road, he had his machine up and running in time to ride that weekend.
Whole thing was one of the most badass things I've been a part of, and it really drove home what being your own boss could mean. Try convincing a corporate bean counter to let you put in the work to pull off something like this, and then to let you drive to a neighbouring town on a Friday night for the big reveal. Mom & Pop shops get to rock all the feels. This was the first time we met the Browns.
Meantime, I'd been throwing idea after idea at the wall, trying to get ahead while being outspent by the deep pockets gang. Our website was showing some results, but we needed to reach out into the community and start getting our brand in front of folks. The obvious answer was to do up some shirts, which meant it was time to ditch the generic Vistaprint stuff. Time for a logo design contest, which was a story in itself, but hang on, here came the Browns again! We were looking for a new pro logo for the shop, and entries had been stellar, when suddenly Char sent me a submission from her nine-year-old son Isaac.
Isaac was totally talented but there was no question his design was the work of a youngster. There was also no question that, if I entered it into public voting, he'd win by a landslide due to his age. Beating out and scaring off the more professional work we were trying to bring in by running the contest in the first place. Not gonna lie, I wrestled with this one, but it came down to a very simple moral point. The kid put in the work, so I gave him his shot.
To no great surprise, he won voting by a landslide. I made some adjustments, ponied up some more prize money and ran his design with a couple of other smoking designs on that year's shirts. His folks were awesome. His proud pops even took Isaac to use the winnings to get a new top of the line Ipad with some art programs installed.
I love those shirts and although they don't really sell very well, I'm damn proud of what they represent. Our tiny shop punches way above its weight class and those shirts display it to the world. I wear the Hell out of mine and the next time I can shake loose some cash for a warm and fuzzies project, I'll be putting out another run. No matter what young Isaac decides to do in life, I'm grateful for the chance to show him that you should never be afraid to try and that there are folks out there that will give you a fair shot.
By the way, Isaac's folks framed that winning picture and hung it, those are good people right there.
Our experiences with the Browns, (among many other people, but those are tales for another time) affect how we do business here every day. They helped us to realize that we weren't willing to compromise our standards for expediency or to go along with "the way things are done". To see that there is absolutely room for a little custom shop that operates with integrity, creativity, passion and big clanging brass ones. We began to reach out after that, going to shows and events all over B.C., and growing our online business. You don't have to drop tens of thousands of dollars to have a dependable, gorgeous ride and functional, great looking gear to go with it. There’s an amazing life out there for everyone and it’s our pleasure to introduce people to new possibilities every single day.
So thank you to everyone who's supported us with their hard earned dollars, cheered us on, or even given us shit along the way, you make us better. We've come to understand over the years, that at Killman Customs everyone gets to write their own story, we're just proud to be a chapter in yours. Happy riding everyone, we'll see you all soon!
Down below you'll find some goodies from our Good Times page entry on the event from 2016. With any luck this year's show will be even better!
THE MOTORCYCLE SHOW VANCOUVER 2016 - ABBOTSFORD, BC
A show of this magnitude takes a ton of work, diplomacy and more patience than the Evil Overlord could summon at gunpoint. The lovely and talented Brittany was more than up to the challenge though. We wound up shooting the breeze about display tips, travel plans, and puppies. She was even kind enough to recommend an excellent nearby take-out sushi joint that was on the way to Our secret headquarters for the weekend. The local Super 8 came equipped with a wicked waterslide and a hot tub that we couldn't wait to get back to at the end of each wild day.
It truly was an interesting experience to attend this event from the other side of the table for a change. Crazy busy as it was, the chance for us to meet so many interesting riders was an opportunity not to be missed. When I finally managed to sneak in a quick walkaround at the end of the weekend, the welcome from our fellow exhausted show marathoners made all the long hours worthwhile and teardown was a breeze since we sold out of damn near everything.
All in all, it was one Hell of a bang to start the year off right!