THANK YOU…

... for checking out Victory Sportdesign and the Victory Bags. The word is out and it goes a little something like this...

"Very helpful keeping items organized during a timed event. Your bag = efficiency and nice looking to boot."
-ANN TRASON: 14 time winner Western States 100 mile endurance run & multiple distance record holder.

"Ready for a weekend up on the mountain!" With all the essentials @thenorthface @injinji @Naturahealth and @Victorysportdesign”
-TIMMY OLSON, 2x Western States 100 mile Champion

“Don’t know what bag to use? Victory Sportdesign makes a popular drop bag with clear pockets that make it easy to identify your food and gear.”
-OUTSIDE ONLINE: The Top 10 Ultramarathon Training Tips

"In addition to training bag and drop bag duties, my Bear II also performs well as commuter bag, carrying my work clothes to the office. A great product, one of my most valuable running accessories!"
-CHRIS BASSETT, Runner

"My Victory Bag was key in getting me in-and-out of checkpoints at my FASTEST ever Angeles Crest 100 miler by 1-hr, 13-min! I earned my 2nd SILVER buckle there in 4-attempts. Thanks, Victor!!!"
-JIMMY DEAN FREEMAN, head coach & founder: Coyote Running

"This bag is the coolest gear and travel bag to come around in a really long time. Its design is inspired and it really does cut down on how long it takes to find the things you want when in an aid station as well as train station!"
-LISA HENSON, former editor UltraRunning Magazine

“I would not have run the Pinhoti 100 without my bags. They were most essential to my 25hour and 21 minute finish! Without question, your bags are one of the top five running gear (products) every runner should have. I will not run another Ultra without them. Thank you for a great running bag.”
-THOMAS E. BOOKER, Runner

“Spotted a Victory Sportdesign bag today at Run Woodstock in Hell, MI...I also used mine and loved it! Everything was so accessible and organized! Added some motivational pieces to the front of my Bear II as I start my training next week for my first 100 miler...Thanks Victory Sportdesign for keeping me organized & can't wait to see the Grizzly and all its possibilities!”
-JESSICA HEBBEN ERICSON, Runner

“The Victory Bag is handy everywhere, even in the Himalayas! Fueled me to 4th place!”
-BURT KEELY, runner/musician/entrepreneur

...And the list goes on. That's a lot of good mojo from folks who have been diggin' their VICTORY BAGS! Check them out yourself, and see why we've become "the greatest gear bag ever!"

Also, check out our Blog: TO THE VICTOR... and see what's what about what in our experience of the trail, road, and beyond. Thanks again!

Chung King "Mansion"

The Industrious Miles: Chapter One

Ten years ago if you told me that I’d ever run longer than a 10k, let alone an Alpine 200 miler, I would have laughed in your face. Yet, today they’re adventures I’ve embraced and grown from. Likewise, despite having a background in Art and Design, to think I would actually use those skills as a career was just as far imagined. Then, one day, I’m sitting alone in a conference room in Dongguan China listening to the excited voices of young office workers preparing for a huge company dinner celebrating the New Year.

 

The moment is surreal, terrifying, and exciting. The two women I’ve been corresponding with during production of my babies, the Victory Bags, for the last two years, walk into the room with notepads in hand. This is the first time we’ve met in person.

 

The factory

The factory in Dongguan.

 

What’s led to this moment is a wild and random matrix of events difficult to articulate & put into scope. The closest description would be a vast Seurat-like collection of differently hued and sized points upon a majestic canvas, each point creating a bigger picture than the parts.

 

Anna and Helen look at me in silence awaiting my instructions. I smile to myself, as the words come out.

 

Dressed for success.I know, the hair... It's a long story.

Future CEO, dressed for success. I know, the hair… It’s a long story.

Like so many people in life, when I was young, I had a reluctance to put myself out in the open. I was afraid of what others would think of me, my actions, and my ideas. Over time, my confidence would be bolstered by key figures in my life: strong Individuals, who stood by me even in times when the path seemed questionable. Some of them are the usual suspects, like my mom, who always reminded me that Victor also means victorious, and that no idea is too crazy to follow and conquer. On the opposite side of that was my father, who agreed with her, but also reminded me to recognize when crazy really did equate to crazy. Then there were the many good friends who supported my endeavors, as I did theirs, with critical honesty. Finally, my wife Jena came along. She and her family would not only embrace my path, but walk it with me knowing the potential risk and unavoidable sacrifices.

 

With rapt attention, pens were scribing into notebooks as I went over every point and design element of the bags. This wasn’t about making a product. It was about making art.

 

What ultimately became Victory Bags began as the result of a long history attempting to create something that my heart would see with use and value.

Ahhh, youth...

Too cool for school. Ahhh, youth…

Having a core educational background in fine art, I drew, painted, and sculpted. Finally, I focused on filmmaking, because my desire to share an idea with a larger community was greater through that venue. At one point my father, who was an architectural engineer, persuaded me to study

"But dad, I'm an artist!" & yes, the hair...

“But dad, I’m an artist!” & yes, the hair…

something “to fall back on”. I switched my major to Industrial Design and focused on product design, as well as added a minor in Business Administration. It only took one semester for me to switch back to fine art. Although it was a short lived exercise, I did design a curiously organized art supply bag that converted into an easel. In the end, even though I earned a BFA in fine art, and had shown great promise as an artist, I was young, idealistic, and became disenchanted with the art world and my place in it. Two years later I stopped making any type of visual art and started acting & playing music. It was the only way I could be creative and still feel connected with a greater community. At some point even that diminished and I started running far… very far.

 

After our meeting was over, I sat alone in the conference room looking over the bag samples before me. The

Prototypes on the table.

Prototypes on the table.

excited chatter of office workers continued in the other room. My thoughts drifted through the last few years of designing, drawing, tinkering, cutting fabric, destroying prototypes, sleepless anxiety-driven nights, 4am epiphanies, annoying language barrier miscommunications, and most importantly… dreams, determination, & perseverance.

 

Pencils, pens, paper & computer... Putting it all together

Pencils, pens, paper & computer… Putting it all together

Aside from still having the ability to translate an idea onto paper, this was manufacturing, not fine art. I had no idea what I was doing or getting myself into. Only because of a new and intense involvement in running and outdoor adventure did I have a desire to create something needful, like a curiously organized gear bag that didn’t exist in the market. Serendipitously, my father-in-law, Hank, partner in a reputable factory overseas, offered to help me put it together. For those who need the abridged back story… my long-shelved

The joy of seeing my idea used for it's original purpose!

The joy of seeing my idea used for it’s original purpose!

art bag was revived as an all purpose gear bag. We made one bag, which I used for a year. Every time someone saw it, they said how cool it was and asked where I got it. Not only did I poll everyone I knew and discover that there really was a need and desire for what I had, I could also hear the encouragement of my mom’s voice. I knew I’d never live with myself if I didn’t commit to this “crazy” idea and someone else did! Yes, it was a leap of faith, followed by a learning curve rivaling the trajectory of Haley’s Comet. Thankfully Hank was there to navigate this novice across a perilous ocean, and Jena was there to help steer our intrepid little ship.

 

I spent the rest of the afternoon compiling new notes and observations. I had a night to review everything we had discussed. In the morning I would return for one more day, to make sure we were all on the same page, before I left for home.

 

Plans & notes.

Plans & notes.

The mega-dense city of trade

Looking out at the mega-dense city of trade.

Trail wildlife, Hong Kong style!

Trail wildlife, Hong Kong style!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We get by with a little help from our friends.

We get by with a little help from our friends.

The core of my wealth.

My teachers, nurturers, and inspiration.

Despite the tremendous support from friends, family, and all those who champion Victory Sportdesign, there are still days I doubt myself. There are days that hurt with anxiety. There are days that strain the mom and pop spine of our operation. There are also days that make my heart explode with gratitude, inspiration, & strength

 

 

 

 

Ready to celebrate the NEW YEAR!

Ready to celebrate the NEW YEAR!

I close my notebook, never imagining that I’d write this story, as much as I never imagined that I’d be sitting in this small conference room in Dongguan China listening to the excited voices of young office workers preparing for a huge company dinner celebrating the Chinese New Year. For the moment I sit back and listen, as I look upon the journey laid out on the table in front of me, and smile.

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One comment on “The Industrious Miles: Chapter One

  1. journeyfilm21

    Nice work Victor. What a journey. Keep Charging. JB

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