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Alameda Runners today decided to focus on Punk Rock Racing, the type of small, fun company I’ve looked forward to interviewing.  Today we chatted with the company’s founder, Ron “The Punk Rock Runner,” who explained a bit more about the company, its values, and what to expect in the future.

“Officially, PRR has been around a few months but I’ve been toying with the concept ever since I started going to running expos,” Ron told AR during a recent interview.  “I was amazed at the lack  of creativity that went into some of the stuff being sold at the expos and I wanted to create shirts that people would actually wear outside of an event.  I grew-up listening to punk rock so the imagery of punk rock made sense to me and so did the attitude that surrounded the entire punk rock scene. This was the Genesis of Punk Rock Racing and I like what we’re doing so far. The key to this is acknowledging that we are not a logo. With the exception of some hats, our logo is always on the back of our shirts. We celebrate art and imagery so there is no need to ruin that with a logo.”

Interestingly, Punk Rock Racing hasn’t been heavily promoted, but still has a strong following on Twitter and Facebook:  “Twitter is huge for runners. I had someone post a photo of our new tech shirt about a month ago and before you knew it thousands of people had seen it. We’ve sold a bunch of tech shirts and they’re not even on the Web site yet.  We go to races knowing a lot of people who are entered and we’re seeing our stuff on people we don’t know. The ‘plan’ is to start marketing as soon as our bike/tri stuff is ready and online marketing will be a big part of this.”

Punk Rock Racing is available online through the site’s Web site only, which is done for a very specific purpose.

“We would love to sell a bunch of shirts but we don’t want to over saturate the market either. Far too often you see cool stuff that was meant to be underground explode and the next thing you know every school kid is wearing it and it becomes a cliché. I guess I would rather stay small and change up our designs every 3-months to avoid becoming mainstream. Watch, I’ll end up selling out and someone will remind me of these statements one day…”

The cost of T-shirts and tech shirts in the running and athletic community can be extremely expensive — even for regular cotton t-shirts.  This is a personal issue with Ron, as the company plans to try and keep things as cost friendly as possible.

“We made a lot of serious statements in our ‘I am not your Logo’ mission statement.   One of those statements was, ‘We think everyone deserves better and we think that paying a bunch of money to wear a logo is bullshit.’ And we meant it. Our business model will not make anyone rich. Because we don’t print thousands of shirts at a time and we use good quality products, our production costs are high but our shirts are all $20.00 or less. Trust me, I’ve been told people will pay $30.00 or more for a T-shirt but I want to make it easy for someone to wear our stuff if they want to. Some of the artist series will cost more than $20.00 but that’s because I have to compensate the artist.

(As an aside:  Shirts sold to mixed martial arts fan can cost $50+ per shirt, with a customer base of shoppers willing to fork over the cash.)

There are a large number of companies attempting to offer athletes regular t-shirts and gear good for exercise — but the constant pursuit for profit can lead to a decrease in quality.  I haven’t personally owned Punk Rock Racing gear (waiting for the future stuff), but everyone on Twitter seems impressed by what they’ve received.

If you want to chat with the PunkRockRunner himself, feel free to find him on Twitter.

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