BRAAAP – Brad Smith Interview

TASMANIA’S Brad Smith is a man on a mission.
His mission is to have 50 motorcycle shops selling his BRAAAP brand of pit bikes in the next three years.
Just talking to Brad you can feel how much passion he has for his products, so you wouldn’t bet against him realising his dream of getting the 50 franchise stores up and running.

Add the fact BRAAAP has just won the Australian Small Business Champion Award for specialised retail small businesses – two years running – and you can see he’s racing towards his and BRAAAP’s future.

Smith was a bike fan before he thought up BRAAP, but pit bikes wasn’t where it all started for Smith.
“I was five time Tasmanian champ in full sized MX and about six years ago I was exposed to a new branch in our sport, mini motocross, which was absolutely pumping in America. They have huge events which are shown live on TV and attract 20,000 fans. “I found out that many of my racing heroes had pit bikes, and even Chad Reed and Nathan Ramsay had a pit bike track.

“I got hooked on the sport. At the time I was 16, I had no idea what it meant but I knew I wanted to be a part of the sport and to get it pumping in Australia.”

Brad-Smith flying high
Brad-Smith flying high

What was raced in America was a far cry from what was available in Australia at the time.

“In the USA these pit bikes cost upwards of $10,000. I couldn’t afford that and I knew if the sport was to grow in Australia we need good quality machines that were affordable to people like myself, the rest of my mates and our community.” The BRAAAP brand is a very multicultural affair. “Our bikes are designed in Australia, built in China in a factory managed by two French guys. We concentrate on the performance of the bikes, while the French guys control quality and affordability.

“Bikes start at $2000 and go up to $4000. The bike I rode in the world titles in Las Vegas was a $4000 bike with a $500 hot up kit. “We also build motard bikes and we have a bike currently going through ADR compliance. BRAAAP has a few stores in Tasmania and recently opened up its first store outside the Apple Isle at Frankston in Victoria, with many more planned.

The American Pit Bike scene is much more advanced
The American Pit Bike scene is much more advanced

“From day one my vision and passion was to take this Australiawide. When I first started all this I was still in high school. I don’t come from a rich family, but the thing my parents taught me was to be successful I should look at other successful people and learn from them.
“I looked up who was the fastest growing small business in Australia at the time, and that was Boost juice bars. I found out Boost was the most successful franchise business in the Southern Hemisphere. I did a bit more research and found out who was behind them, who the owner was. I contacted the owner and I’ve been able to learn a lot from her.

“I now feel we are ready to take BRAAAP Australiawide and international too. We already have deals on the table with people to launch BRAAAP into America, New Zealand, Canada, Africa and France. “We have some awesome people behind us and our main focus at this moment is to get our franchises going here in Australia.” Starting with little money, Smith found persistence paid off when it came to securing funds.

“I approached many banks and I constantly received a one word answer – no! But when I won my first small business award the Commonwealth Bank were there so I asked them to help me fund BRAAAP. The Commonwealth came on board and I have a great relationship with them, and also the Bank of Queensland, which has verbally agreed to fund 50 percent of a franchise, unsecured, which I think is great. That way we can grow our franchise network and they can grow with us.”

Smith might only be in his early 20s but he has the business head of a much more experienced person.
His passion is infectious and you can’t help thinking this young entrepreneur is going places fast.

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