Tony DeBoom has turned his athletic passion and artistic skill into a business.
There’s nothing wrong with racing. But sometimes it’s nice to step back and ask yourself whether you’re racing from something, toward something, or whether going fast has taken you quickly away from the reason we run in the first place.
Endurance athlete and graphic designer Tony DeBoom has done just that with Endurance Conspiracy, his Boulder, Colo.-based lifestyle apparel company.
“Endurance Conspiracy was born out of a need to get back to our roots in sport,” he says. “We spend so much time working on getting faster, lighter and smaller that I felt I was losing touch with what the original attraction to this life was — the lifestyle. “That initial draw fueled our desire to push ourselves, be out in nature with our friends, travel to far-off places, explore, live in the moment.”
DeBoom’s original designs, which appear primarily on T-shirts but also on hats, posters and board shorts, impart a sense of fun and wonder — with titles such as “Hairy Bike Messenger,” “Flying Uphill” and “Hyperspace 4 Kids” (a nod to “Star Wars”) and tees with the EC brand slogan, “The fit shall inherit the Earth.”
The business marries DeBoom’s love for art and sport — ultimately the things that bring him the most joy in life.
“Health and fitness have given us so much, and we believe they are a gateway to limitless adventure and joy in life,” says DeBoom, 44, a West Point graduate and former pro triathlete who won Ironman Utah and St. Anthony’s Triathlon during his 15-year career. As for the impetus for the company name? “Those perfect moments that we all feel when we’re cresting a steep hill on our bike, skipping down a trail or catching that wave for a free ride into the beach — unless you experience those moments for yourself, you really don’t know the euphoric high we’re expressing in our art. I guess you could say that’s the conspiracy.”
Like the message his lifestyle company promotes, fitness is just a way of life for the DeBoom family. (Tony is the older brother and dedicated training partner of Tim DeBoom, 42, who won the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2001 and 2002.)
“We do it because we love it,” Tony says. “It was the primary motivation for Tim and me to get into racing — so we could train all day. I always enjoyed the training more than the racing anyway, so as long as I get out the door for some trail running and can get in the water, I’m OK.”
A typical day for DeBoom includes a morning meeting with his wife and business partner, Elize, followed by designing, afternoon training, time with the kids and another round of art in the evening.
“Throw in traveling to events, meeting with like-minded businesses for future partnerships, and going out and getting inspired, and pretty much every day is unique,” he says.
DeBoom’s plan is to build Endurance Conspiracy by working with other artists, such as Brazilian surf artist Ciro Bicudo, who will provide designs for the fall line. There’s another partnership in the works with musician and film director Chad Campbell, founder of the Kona Surf Film Festival. However, like the EC line, growth and development will likely be organic.
“We go where the lifestyle takes us. From a business standpoint, we want to grow at a rate that we can sustain,” DeBoom says. “We want to expand the line, add more artists to the mix, continue growing into new markets and promote our lifestyle. The good news is that we’re currently tracking on all of those, as well as a few unexpected opportunities.”
This story originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of Competitor magazine.