Last week’s news that Colony BMX would no longer be making flatland products was greeted with sadness but little surprise.
Whilst it might seem like the few short lines of Colony’s statement came as a snap decision, it was a long process that led company boss Clint Millar to pull the pin.
“It had been going on for a good 18 months at least, maybe even two years, it’s been a long thing,” says Millar, “I kept pushing Taiwan ‘come on, make this’ but it just got to a point where it was time and effort that could be spent on other areas of the business”.
The pressures of making and selling flatland products are two fold.
On one side you have the Taiwanese factories that deal in big numbers of product and are unwilling to put through the low volumes generated by flatland sales.
“I don’t know how any flatland company can survive, they didn’t want to do our stuff even though we’re doing heaps of other stuff, it just got to the point where Taiwan was reluctant to produce our numbers” says Millar.
Coming from the other angle there are the low number of sales of flatland products.
“I would have had to order two years ahead and that was too much of a risk with the way BMX changes, you just don’t know where it’s going to be in two years”, says Millar.
But he stands firm on suggestions that the near exclusivity of sales through Newcircle was bad for the flatland line.
“Stores never asked for it or if I stocked it they never ordered it, we directed people through to Newcircle and Shane was doing his business at the time and for him to have any chance he had to get as much through his doors as possible” says Millar.
The closure of Colony’s flatland line also ends their need to market at flatlanders via sponsorship of events and riders.
Yet Millar remains optimistic on Colony’s involvement in flatland.
“No one has hit me up with ‘hey, there’s a Downunder Ground next week, can you help out?’, I probably will, but when someone comes to me with an event I’ll take it case by case” says Millar.
Current team riders Simon O’Brien, Shane Badman and Shintaro Misawa will continue to get support from Colony, with Misawa riding the Sweet Tooth frame.
“We’ll still support them till the day they don’t want to be supported” says Millar.
It has to be remembered that Colony isn’t a charity, it’s a commercial brand that puts food on the table for a number people.
The truth is that the Colony flatland line wasn’t making money, it wasn’t loosing money but it wasn’t making it either.
“It just became to much effort for not enough reward basically, we tried things to boost that but didn’t see progression”.