That’s right, The title of this article hints that Mal is responsible for the look & feel of this shop. Back in the day, David used to develop all creative branding for the shop. However, after being told for months that he was stuck in the 80s, he began to look for other marketing & branding avenues. That’s when he learned that a creative genius already worked in the Mojo Cycling team. Read on to find out how Mal Sebeck became the core of what Mojo is today.
Mal Sebeck joined the Mojo family about 4yrs ago. Originally, we hired him to be a part-time shelf stocker. But we REALLY underestimated his talent. Quickly, he became the parts manager. He’s largely responsible for making sure that parts are on the floor, ordered on time, given to the guys in service (for fixing your bike) & stored for you when you special order something. However, Mal never ever stops. After asking if he could try his hand at designing some t-shirts, he quickly took over the design work on Mojo’s: t-shirts, sweatshirts, race jerseys, gloves, socks, winter caps & baseball caps. Not content with our schwag designs, he then got to work redesigning our website. He’s also responsible for all photography for our shop personnel & our custom bike builds.
So, as you can see, the look & feel of Mojo Cycling is due to Mal’s tireless work. Seriously . . . tireless.
So, where did this creative powerhouse come from & how did he find his way to Mojo? It all started in Chicago, where Mal’s mother gave birth to a baby 8 weeks early.
Things looked grim at first. But, Mal overcame this hurdle & spent his childhood years in Illinois . . . He smiles & talks about riding bikes with his sister. “We always rode around town on our bikes. We went to get groceries & fought to carry both gallons of milk, because it was easier to balance your bike with one gallon hanging from each side of your bars.”
Mal wryly admits that his youth was spent “in a small, un-map-worthy, town. It sucked.” When pushed as to why the un-named town “sucked so hard,” Mal quips; “It was boring as sh!t & with only 56 people in your graduating class, there was no opportunity for personal growth. Everyone expected you to act the same as everyone else & you could never change direction or be different.” Going his own way & forging his own path are recurring themes in Mal’s life.
After graduating high school, Mal headed to college. But he didn’t feel that he “connected with anything.” His artistic side seemed underappreciated & his academic side was not faring up to his standards, nor was it enjoyable. Something had to change. After completing an associates
degree, & moving into the workforce, nothing enjoyable seemed to open for him. One day Mal headed to a recruiters’ office to look for funding so he could return to college. The National Guard recruiter was at lunch, so Mal stayed & chatted with the Marine Corps recruiter. “On a whim, I joined the Marine Corps.” Mal expected that it would result in “opportunities for travel & adventure, while paying for school.” But...how did being a Marine point Mal towards being a cyclist that would be the creative force being Mojo Cycling?
Mal notes that while in the Marine Corps he was stationed close to NYC. While there, he signed-up for a bike ride through the city. “It took us through the five boroughs.” He continues: “but I didn’t have a bike. I didn’t yet know bike shops were a thing, so I went to Target to get one. I opted for a single speed because my gears never worked right as a kid. So, I figured that I’d avoid that whole problem to begin with. I got on the train to NYC & when I jumped off I headed for the ride. I didn’t know what a fixie was & went to coast & went straight over the bars.” But Mal didn’t quit; in fact, he doubled-down & learned the art of fixed gear riding during the whole 50 mile ride. Mal got better at the whole fixie thing. Much better. (When he first came to Mojo, he was a monster fixie rider who blazed around NWA with his dog, Koopa, riding along on his back.)
One day, Mojo employee Matt Bridges suggested that the shop needed to add “a friend of [his] to the Mojo team.” We were looking to expand & a reference from an employee was a great start. Mal came by to talk & within days he was stocking our shelves part time . . . that did not last long. Soon, he was the full-time shop stock Manager. But just doing that time consuming job was not enough for Mal. He approached me & asked; “Can I do some design work for a Mojo t-shirt?” (This followed months of relentless ribbing from the entire Mojo staff. Apparently I’m stuck in the 80s.) From that moment on, Mal has designed all Mojo clothing, stickers, signage, vehicle wraps, our Instagram page & our website. If you’re seeing: Mojo marketing, promotions, merchandising, or outreach of any kind, Mal has conceived it, designed it, taken the photographs for it & sourced it. This work is extremely time consuming. Effectively, he’s doing the work of an entire marketing agency. Especially when you remember that being the shop’s parts Manager is already a full-time job. (In addition to all this work for Mojo, Mal owns a business of his own, 1611’ Photography. He takes sports photos, outdoor photography & still shots.)
Mal isn’t just a Parts Manager for the shop, he’s so much more. He’s helped to shape the very essence of the Mojo Cycling that you love.