Today I learned of the passing of an amazing man. His death was sudden and shocking. Mark Kent, business owner, visionary, philanthropist, father, husband and friend ... and someone that believed in the Pedal Chic brand and the future of the biking industry for women. I will never forget the day that Mark contacted me. He had made a huge impact in the world of golf by creating the perfect sock and had finally "made it" by being on every golf professionals foot. And his best proponent and local Bubba Watson won the Master's wearing Mark's sock creation. Life was looking good.
There had been an article going around that cycling was the "new golf" and Mark learned that the industry needed to focus more on women, as that was the true untapped and growth area. Pedal Chic, the first women's centric bike shop happened to be located in his hometown. Mark and I shared a love for our alma mater, Clemson University, and we both had a vision that the world could be changed with a lot of hard work and a bigger mission and vision. We met to design a new sock and his team went to work and created an amazing product for us - a so incredibly manufactured that even Bicycling Magazine and Bike Rumor shared the love.
One day, I called Mark and said, "Are you ready to get on the foot of every incredible female cyclist in the US? Because we are hosting a meet and greet during the US Criterium National Championships - and every one of these ladies is leaving with a KentWool/Pedal Chic sock." It was an amazing event and I am certain every one of those fantastic women are still enjoying their swag! That was such a great night with great friends.
Just a few days ago, I ran into Mark. We had the casual conversation friends do - that we need to get together, we are both busy and running in a million directions...maybe we can create another product. I noticed he looked great, very relaxed - he told me he was so happy and was heading out to be with his family. Today our community in Greenville, SC is having a very hard time wrapping our heads around this sudden loss. He loved his family so much. When his wife would travel, he would take his children (and post joyfully) about their fast food dinners out - full of fun.
Mark - you will be missed. Our hearts break for your family at this time. Personally, I was honored to call you a friend.