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Jared Erickson is the co-founder of Brother Moto. Together with Bobby K Russell, Jared launched a multi-hyphenate motorcycle-repair-space coffee shop and lifestyle brand in Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s the story of how it came to be, as told to Square editor Alise Bailey.
Square: What inspired you to start your business?
Jared: Bobby and I met in a parking lot in 2013. We were both working on repairing vintage motorcycles and grew frustrated working in the heat, without the correct tools, without light when it grew dark. Brother Moto was created out of our need for a space to work on our bikes, but now it’s grown to be an amazing community of all ages and walks of life who find common ground in motorcycles.
You started out in a shed, right?
Right. We created a first iteration in my shed, had our friends over to work on bikes, and started to spread the word. We wanted to build brand awareness, so we sold t-shirts and focused on putting money right back into the business. Our launch party had over 400 people, so we knew we’d tapped into something.
What came first—the love of motorcycles or the love of coffee?
Definitely our love of coffee. But first we had the workspace, then we brought on the coffee aspect of it.
I’d always found it hard to find a place to just hang out and be around motorcycles. Coffeeshop environments are always welcoming, so we combined the two. It’s a really inclusive environment, whether you’re curious about motorcycles or just looking for good coffee.
How did you grow your business?
We took it slowly. At first, Bobby and I had full-time jobs during the day and would take shifts working on Brother Moto during the night or on our days off. When we had a few months’ rent saved, we moved into a garage space.
What is your greatest challenge as a business owner?
Now that the club has grown to a couple hundred members, we’re constantly working to keep the place clean and ensuring everyone has what they need. Our goal is to allow for people of all skill levels to have the ability to work on their own bikes with the right tools, at a low monthly membership cost.
What is your most popular product?
The experience, I think. We have a lot of people who just come and check out the space. Some people will come in just to check out the motorcycles. We also have people come in for coffee. The Hometown, a Coca-Cola espresso mix, gets a lot of attention.
What does a day look like for you?
I’ll wake up, drink way too much coffee, then check email, making sure everyone has what they need. I do a lot of our design work as well, so if I’m ordering new products or having events, I’ll get the promotional email ready for that, send out invoices for memberships, and run payroll.
I’ll also catch up with people on social media—and maybe I’ll get to go for a ride, if I’m lucky.
This started out as a hobby. Are you still having fun with it?
It definitely still has it’s fun moments. It also has a lot of challenging moments that make me wonder why I’m still doing this. But when I get to go out on a bike or work on my bike—that’s great. And I love watching people come into the shop. Seeing the look on their faces when they first come in—that makes it really fun.
What is one of your favorite things about being an Atlanta business owner?
The Atlanta business community. There’s a lot of support, even though the community is much smaller than you’d expect, for such a big city.
You can find Brother Moto in Atlanta and follow along on its journey online.
Running a business like Brother Moto is no easy feat, but Square is here to help. We have all the tools you need to start, run, and grow your business, whether you’re selling in person, online, or both. And we’ve made all our tools work together as one system, saving you time and money—and making decisions easier. So you can get back to doing the work you love and focusing on whatever’s next. See how Square works.