Today, the world moves faster than it ever has in the past. Technology is evolving quite literally by the hour, and the business world is as monstrous and competitive as you could imagine. This said, owning your own small business in this bustling of an environment is no easy task. You may not have to clock in under your boss. You might be able to create a schedule that is a little more flexible than a usual nine to five job. However, what many people don’t think about are the countless hours worked outside of the job. Communicating with customers, social media management, marketing, finances—everything about the business is reliant on the owner, who hopefully has at least a small employee base. For Nemesis Project owner Brad Hodges, customer relationships are an enormous part of his business, and what he takes pride in.
Nemesis Project was born in 2004—it is Brad’s completely custom bicycle business, based out of Folsom, CA. With a heavy focus on urban mountain bike construction, NemPro produce 100 percent unique bikes for whoever is lucky enough to commission one. Brad’s passion for bikes is what I would consider very difficult to match. His dedication to quality, genuine products brings about a sense of confidence for his customers.
Like many others, Brad discovered his passion for bicycles at a young age. “I was originally a nerdy kit who liked playing with toy robots and collecting comic books,” Brad told me. “I also excelled in art class.” He went on to explain his experience with his first bike—a Peugeot BMX that his parents had bought him. The obsession never really caught on with his first bike, as it’s easy to get discouraged as a child after you crash a considerable number of times. However, fast forward not too far into the future, and Brad had laid eyes on his first love: A teal and purple GT Performer. “Granted, this was the 80s and vibrant colors and neon were just starting to become popular,” he explained. Once the bike bug had bitten him, it was all he could think about. He shifted gears away from toys, comics, and painting to drafting bikes. Eventually, Brad had come to sell his entire comic book collection, and put together all of his money to purchase his first GT ProPerformer, which happens to still be with him in his office at NemPro.
When you find your passion in life at a young age, it makes your timeline a bit clearer. It may be easier to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your years. Brad took those years and put them to hard work. Today, he heads NemPro, and focuses on creating unique prototypes, designs, and ideas for custom bikes. In addition to bikes, he’s also an avid automotive enthusiast. He’s the owner of a Volkswagen R32 (MK4), and currently has another project in the works. With cars as a hobby, it’s easy to see that he’s a very technical person, so attention to detail is key.
NemPro’s call to action is very clear. What is also clear is the extent to which Brad goes to ensure that his business thrives. “In the past,” he started, “I would say that there was no ‘normal day’ at work. But as I get older, I’ve been able to manage my time better.” He told me that a large portion of building a custom bicycle is the communication between builder and buyer. “I spend the majority of my mornings and afternoons just replying to emails, and ordering materials and parts from suppliers.”
You may be wondering what Brad’s process could be—how does he go about even starting a build? Well, once a customer has explicitly stated what they want, it’s Brad’s job to create a build sheet, gather the materials, have the CAD renderings approved by the customer, and get to work. Once he has prepped the work and everything is ready for production, Brad leaves it to his welders to finish where he left off. After the custom frame has been constructed and welded completely, next the bike goes to powdercoat and assembly before it is sent on its way to its new home.
Brad is an incredibly humble person, and to see the success that has come to his business through hard work is inspiring. Since the company’s beginning, it has grown immensely. In 2007, it expanded into the market of collaborative art bikes. NemPro has worked with many highly desired names, like Disney, Bloc-28, Kid-Robot, and Fatlace. These collaborations have brought into existence some stunning and artistic bicycles, and it looks like Brad has high hopes for the future.
Nemesis Project is a business that suits The American Dream series perfectly. It sums up what can happen when you know what you want, and are willing to work hard to achieve it. We here at CAtuned wish NemPro the best in its endeavors, and cannot wait to see what Brad comes up with next!
Words by Courtney Cutchen
Photos by Igor Polishchuk