Apr 16, 2021 • 56M

The ACL Podcast 006: Foreign Rider

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Michael Williams
Conversations about style, life, business and culture with interesting people.
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As you may know, I’ve been back in the cycling game. It’s been a lot of fun and good exercise, but there have definitely been some sore nights. The last thing you want to do in those tender moments following a ride is wear anything made of technical fabric. This use case is exactly why Ralph Dunning created Foreign Rider. He calls it “post ride comfort” and if you have even been sore from a ride, workout or 36 holes of golf then you know you need exactly what Ralph is talking about.

With each new brand launch I can’t help but to wonder why it needs to exist. So much of what is created today has absolutely no purpose other than to give us online-shopping-induced dopamine hits and fill our homes with piles of cheap stuff. Foreign Rider is different. It solves a real problem and also promotes the concept of buying better things. “Own less, ride more.” That’s what Ralph says. I agree.

Foreign Rider actually launched in a small way in 2009 as a personal project for Ralph. Eventually he shifted focus back to his other bigger projects and FR went into hibernation until last year. More about Ralph’s history and FR’s perspectives about responsibility and simplicity is here.

Post ride comfort is the concept, but the product is much more versatile than that. What Ralph has created with Foreign Rider can have a specific purpose, but it also works into your everyday life so perfectly. As I have mentioned, this is the shirt I wear every time I travel. It’s a good shirt if the plane is blazing hot or freezing cold (the only two possible temperature settings for planes). It’s comfortable and it feels good next to the skin. The fit also happens to be excellent and it’s made in Canada from quality cotton.

I can say with first hand knowledge that there aren’t many people with higher standards for quality or with more integrity than Ralph. He’s the real deal when it comes to making great product. He also operates with a no bullsh/t approach that I love and respect. Foreign Rider is the perfect storm for people like me who who want to buy fewer better things.

Ralph Dunning is one of the people I most admire in business. He’s a great guy and I feel lucky to know him. That’s exactly why I wanted to interview him for the podcast. We sat down and talked about what he’s building with Foreign Rider and his other venture the Brand Unification Company. Hope you enjoy the conversation.

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