Emily Bremer: Working in the Cycling Industry
Pretty Damned fast had the opportunity to chat with Emily Bremer the Women's Marketing and PR manager at Trek bicycles to get the scoop on how it is to work in the cycling industry.
PDF: How long have you be working in the bike industry?
EB: I’m just short of 3 years now. I’m 25, so I jumped in right after I finished up my undergrad at University of Wisconsin-Madison. I started as an inside sales rep for about 10 months until I bounced over to marketing. I’m now the Women’s Marketing Manager, and handle a lot of the city bike marketing and general Trek brand PR.
PDF: What is your background? How did you get started working for Trek?
EB: If you want me to go all the way back, I’ve been riding big wheels and trying to keep up with my older brothers since I can remember. Growing up, our neighbors across the street had a very steep driveway. We’d push our worn out big wheels to the top, and race to the bottom. First to touch the garage door won.
More recently, it’s sort of been a mix of good and back luck that got me started at Trek. I had an old Trek 7200 as my commuter in college, and it was stolen off my porch on Thanksgiving morning. What was a very frustrating and trying day to give thanks turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Getting that bike stolen was the initial spark to get me into the bike shop and on a road bike. I eventually joined the cycling team at UW-Madison, and the rest is history.
My degree is in Child Psychology, and the cycling industry wasn’t exactly at the top of my list. You’d be surprised how applicable my degree is to everyday responsibilities now, though!
PDF: What is it like to work in a male dominant environment? What is the biggest challenge you face?
EB: I feel like there are so many ways to answer this question. I get along great with guys, and it makes it especially easy when everyone you work with is passionate about the sport and everything that it entails. This is not to say there aren’t challenges every single day, especially when trying to grow the women’s market and fan base, and to get more women in the sport in general.
I would say the biggest challenge is giving women the information and tools they need to approach a retail environment without feeling any form of intimidation. We’ve done multiple consumer based segmentation studies, and the intimidation factor is by far the most common barrier for getting more women in the sport. We try to combat this every day, and I believe our marketing strategy is a direct reflection of this.
PDF: Do you feel like you have any advantages being female?
EB: I certainly do, and I think all females in the sport do. It’s such an untapped market, anything can happen. I don’t necessarily think it’s a comparison, but more of an all-encompassing movement to get more people involved in the sport. It goes without saying that females are definite influencers- taking word of mouth recommendations to heart more often than men (generally speaking). Just the sheer fact that there are so few women yet involved is a huge opportunity across the globe for both men and women to get involved. It’s exciting to see how we can all take advantage of that.
To see more women getting involved in something I’m so passionate about is a huge benefit. It’s almost like being an ambassador for the sport every day I step into the office. That feeling that I have a positive impact on the health and wellness of others goes pretty far for me. It’s something I’m thankful for every single day.
PDF: What could the cycling industry do to welcome more women into the sport?
EB: Retail training goes a long way. Without having the right people on the floor, customers won’t feel comfortable. That, and exposure make a huge difference. It’s sort of like seeing a car out on the road that you really like- you tend to be more observant of that particular brand and style, and consequently it seems like you see it more often when really you’re just noticing it more frequently. Almost like subliminal messaging in a sense. Show people something enough times, and it seems odd when it’s taken away.
PDF: What advice do you have for women looking to work in the cycling industry?
EB: Ask questions. Please, ask questions. It doesn’t make you less intelligent or a detriment to your riding abilities.
Make friends. The cycling community is pretty tight knit all on its own, and you’d be shocked how many people I’ve met in my short time here that share a mutual friend. These connections can take you a very long way (and so can being an approachable person!)
Ride because you want to. It’s supposed to be a fun sport, an escape from the mundane routines. Find people with similar goals, and ride with them. Often.