Deity: A Bike Industry Love Story

Feb 14, 2017
by Danielle Baker  
Deity Components

Eric and Sadie Davies' relationship is anything but the norm—"many of my friends need that separation from their spouse to hang with the guys, but Sadie and I have literally been next to each other since the day we met," gushes Deity Owner, Eric Davies about his wife and business partner. "I cannot think of another relationship quite like it." They met over two decades ago and have been inseparable ever since. It's not every couple who can work day in and day out together and then go home and still want to spend every waking hour in each other's company. After three years of especially hard work on a relaunch of Deity they are set to release a 95% new product line, website, and direction—all with amped up intensity on February 28th. We caught up with them during an unusually quiet moment to ask the secret to their success and for a little relationship advice in honour of Valentine's Day.

Deity Components
Deity Components

bigquotesWe are always seeking to improve ourselves and to be challenged. That holds true for our relationship, the company, our friends, our goals, and how we view ourselves.
- Eric

How did you meet?

Sadie: It’s amazing to look back after 21 years—more than half our lifetimes together—and remember how such a simple moment could have so much impact in both our lives. Eric and I crossed paths while studying at the University of Idaho. From the moment we met there was an incredibly magnetic energy between us that has since become our secret weapon. Our first encounter was just a casual introduction but a few weeks later fate put us together with mutual friends on the way to a party. We ended up leaving the party, talking all night, and watching the sunrise. We had both found our perfect match that night. We’ve been together since that day and looking back now at the crazy path we’ve forged, it’s the stuff movies are made of. We’re both outsiders by circumstance, restless by nature, neurotic and obsessed with improving ourselves and continuously pushing to be the best. I would say we couldn’t have done it without the magic we shared in the beginning, but the key to growing together is communication and honesty.

I learned very quickly that Eric is extremely unique and complex. I will always roll the dice on him because he’s always delivered and has never let me down.

Eric: As Sadie and I grow Deity together we’ve become two bodies with one mind in a way. We don’t really have to waste time discussing things, we just know that we both have Deity’s best interest as a top priority and can read each other’s tiny nuances that allow us to communicate without words. Of course, there are tough times but you have to know that this is what you want and for me there is no question we are partners till the end, Ride or Die!

Deity Components
Deity Components

Who got who into mountain biking and what was that process like?

Eric: My whole life was my bicycle as a kid, but growing up in Guatemala meant that I was restricted in where I could go. I was still just a young pup when my family moved to Idaho and I was set free to explore, ride dirt jumps, and find my freedom on two wheels. This was all way before mountain biking became part of the cycling culture, so BMX and skateboarding were what defined my passion at the time.

When I was going to the University of Idaho, I decided to pick up a new board so that I could bomb my way through the campus between classes. I went into a local bike shop to see if they carried any decks and propped on display across the room was the bike that would ignite a serious passion for mountain biking. It was a Gary Fisher Joshua and it looked like a dirt bike to me. It is so funny to look back on it now, but that is where it all started—that very day! Before I knew it I owned that bike, had bought the first generation Z1 fork for it, and fell in love with racing, Palmer, Missy, and the attitude they brought to the scene.

I really became addicted to it. It is the thing people who know me immediately catch on to—I am obsessed with things I love.

Sadie could not get away from my passion for two wheels and we were always together, so her hopping on a bike came naturally. I remember seeing her blast down the hills in Moscow, Idaho on a beat up Huffy with damn near flat tires weaving her way through people and cars like a mad woman. She has always been rebellious, willing to dive into a challenge, and in love with speed. She loves to go fast; muscle cars, motorcycles, bikes, work life, and so much more!

bigquotesThose days of Eric teaching me how to ride built the trust between us that has become the foundation for Deity.
- Sadie

Deity Components
Deity Components

Deity Components

Starting your own business is terrifying at the best of times, how did you manage that stress and maintain a healthy relationship at the same time?

Eric: For one, neither of us give up easy and I think we met at a time where we could really grow together. We are so much alike, but also balance each other out in many ways. I think the fact that we shared the same love for music, movies, influences, and mountain biking made it easy to look past an issue at hand and be willing to compromise for the bigger picture.

Honesty has also been a huge part of our relationship. When you are 100% honest with yourself and your partner, it builds a bond that is virtually unbreakable. I’ve learned just how powerful integrity and character really are, both of which are built on honesty. These aspects of our lives have significantly shaped Deity's philosophies.

bigquotesEverything is a work in progress, but you must be willing to see your own shortcomings in order to grow and become a better person.
- Eric

You are now veterans at being married and working together, how do you keep your relationship healthy and happy and your working relationship creative and productive?

Sadie: This is always a work in progress. Eric and I find inspiration in the athletes around us; there are so many factors that go into winning and feeling confident for them. The ability to consistently pick yourself up again and again, to push through the toughest challenges knowing that championships are won on the hardest days—that is like the magic Eric and I share as we constantly push to be better. For us seeing how all the work and effort we put into Deity can allow our athletes and customers to push the limits of our sport is amazing fuel for us.

We have to be creating, whether it’s time together digging on our moto track or working on Deity, the process of moving forward and creating something together is the platform for our health and happiness. We also love to do things our own way, we don’t take queues from other companies, we don’t label ourselves or put things into categories; we want to be appreciated for what we are and what Deity is as its own unique entity. We’re pushing for greatness and a lasting effect on the industry we love so dearly, that is why we’ve always invested in people, music, and inspiration that is positive.

This has all been a huge piece of our success, but of course, I have to give a shout out to our sidekick Bela Lugosi Jr. He’s our rescue Min-Pin and anyone who loves dogs knows how much happiness they bring. He’s a ray of sunshine for us and brings joy to every day.

Deity Components
Deity Components

Eric: Both aspects complement each other. Outside of Deity, our world is surrounded by the things that inspire our creativity for the brand and make us smile daily. From people and music to films, bikes, and motorcycles we are constantly putting fuel on the fire and it trickles into everything we do professionally and privately.

Don’t get me wrong, it takes a shitload of effort to constantly channel creativity. I often feel like I am just sitting on a board in the middle of the ocean waiting for a wave to come in that I can ride for as long as possible. This is why when we leave work, we try to fuel ourselves.

Fortunately, a huge balance for us has become motorcycles. From our vintage Triumphs and Yamahas to our modern fuel injected bikes, it has been a revitalizing part of our life that really blends well with our mountain bike lifestyle.

Deity Components

Do you ever argue? How do you resolve it? Do you tend to argue more in relation to your work or personal lives?

Eric:We don’t ever argue at work, but we do disagree on things. We had to separate business from our relationship right from the beginning. At work, we both recognize that Deity is a collaborative effort, so we treat each other with the same respect and dignity that we give all our employees, athletes and customers.

Sadie: Of course we disagree on things at times, but we’re constantly reminded that you have to be painfully honest and vulnerable to truly find the areas you need to grow and improve. We try to keep that at the forefront of our business and personal lives, but emotions are involved, so I can certainly overreact or be sensitive. Eric is more level headed than I am about these things, but I think the relationship we’ve cultivated at work has definitely helped us in our personal relationship. Really it all goes back to being selfless and compromising for the best of both of us and for the people involved with Deity. When we both focus on these attributes things run like a well-oiled machine.


What advice would you give to other couples about working together or starting a business together?

Sadie: First and foremost, you have to have a super solid relationship and be excellent communicators. At some point, there has to be a boss and that doesn’t always work well for relationships. Being overly clear about what roles you each play and your intentions will certainly help avoid issues, but you also have to take things as they come. Business doesn’t always have time for feelings, but relationships have to. Finding that sweet spot is tough and takes a lot of patience and communication, and awareness of how we affect each other. In the end, you both have to want to be in it together more than anything, so having a friendship or teammate attitude about it makes challenges easier to overcome.

bigquotesYou have to remind yourself that you both have the same goals at heart. Your paths to get there may be slightly different, but you have to be open to ideas that can better who you are and what your business can be.
- Sadie

Deity Components

Deity Components
Deity Components

Our industry has been called misogynistic and it's certainly male dominated, do you ever run into situations where Sadie is overlooked or under-credited for her work simply because of her gender? How do you deal with those attitudes when you encounter them?

Sadie: Of course we do, but I always feel like every single person has some challenge in life that is unfair. It’s how you deal with it and what you make of it that defines the experience for you. Don’t get me wrong, it’s frustrating, but it makes me want to win that person over that much more. In the end, it all comes back to why we’re doing this, so passing a customer off to a male coworker doesn’t bother me if I think it’s a better fit. I’m very comfortable and confident in my abilities so it’s not a major issue for me. However, it’s one of the things that bothers Eric the most about our industry.

In the end, I believe your greatest challenges define you. You have the choice to let it be a burden, shortcoming or limitation, or you can find a way to raise above it, that is true greatness and how the champions in life find a way to succeed when no one else can.

bigquotesWomen are the largest growing demographic in our sport, so the industry better wake up and get with the program—or we'll just leave them behind!
- Eric

Eric: I’ll be completely honest, Sadie is a badass, she’ll deliver more than you ask for every time, she’s as smooth as they come and the best in the biz. For anyone to underestimate her for any reason just gives her the upper hand. I definitely struggle with this attitude and I hear it from top manufacturers in our industry when they talk about female athletes. You wouldn’t believe the people I’ve heard say that women in our sport aren’t worth investing in unless they are Rachel Atherton or winning championships.

Obviously, we feel completely the opposite, our company employs more women than men, we have some of the best female athletes in the industry, and I’d rather take a risk on Sadie than anyone else on the planet. It was a no-brainer to do a signature part with Tracy Moseley, she’ll kick almost every guys’ ass on two wheels while carrying herself with incredible grace and style.

Our first sponsored athlete was a woman, we support more women in this industry than many of the largest brands, we promote them the same way we do the men, and we invest in who they are. I fell in love with mountain biking at a beautiful time when people like Leigh Donovan, Missy, Anne-Caro, and so many more, were the faces that got me hyped every weekend when OLN kicked off their coverage. I love watching women kick ass on a bike and I know that if this industry invested more into the people that are the voices of this sport, we would see more and more talent rise from it.

Deity Components

Deity Components
Deity Components

With working and living together, do you ever need a break from each other?

Sadie: We’re kind of crazy about each other, so no, we’re basically together 24/7. Of course, we’re both very comfortable being alone, but really, being together is kind of like being alone at this point. We’ve spent more of our lives together than apart. It is a unique relationship because we are not dependent on each other, but we never get tired of each other. It may be due to the level of communication we have or need to understand each other and our environment, but one thing is for sure, we love to discuss everything to find the areas we can improve and that process keeps us connected while growing together.

Eric: Over the past few years, though, we have had to divide and conquer in so many aspects of Deity, so even though we are in the same building, we are focused on different tasks, people, and often cannot connect until late at night.

We need a vacation!

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You each command a different area of Deity, did those roles naturally evolve or was it simply out of necessity in running the company?

Sadie: Both really; Eric was definitely the creative side right out of the gate and customer service is where I shine best, so there were some clear roles at the beginning. We both are really great at sales, but also hate being sold, so we had a unified voice that also allowed us to share those roles. As we grew, we both followed our instincts and began teaching ourselves as much as possible. We always wanted to know and own everything we could about each aspect of the business so we could have control and understand how to maximize our potential. I took classes on accounting and Eric taught himself how to do graphics, web design, and so much more.

bigquotesWe did not want to ever have a suit and tie influence the direction of Deity and to do that 100%, you better own what you do and do it at a level unlike anyone else.
- Sadie

Eric: This journey has been 100% about growing and improving ourselves while making Deity the best it could be. Our growth has been completely organic as well as the roles we both play now, which has been the best way to find our strengths and weaknesses while figuring out who is the best person for the job.

That is the key to a great team. You have to be able to see what roles each member can blossom in, that will fuel other aspects of their professional and private life. We began this journey finding our own ways to improve both ourselves and the company and that has naturally translated to our employees and riders.


With you both working together it can be easy to bring work or 'work talk' home with you, how do you give yourselves a break?

Eric: We certainly do bring work home, but that’s the free time we have to brainstorm and come up with amazing ideas for the company. Honestly, we have to divide and concur at work, so we don’t spend much time together, the same goes for almost every situation for us, except when we’re alone. The time we have away from work is where a lot of our ideas and collaborations happen, we feed off each other and it’s exciting and invigorating. We’re both always looking for inspiration and fuel for the next stage, so the time we have at home allows us to connect.

Sadie: There is no way for us to try to separate the two, if we did it would lead to frustration and I think putting parameters around our interactions only creates limitations. I’ll be honest, we’re not very good at stopping to smell the roses, and I know we need to work on that… but in the future, haha! But at this point, we’re in it to win it and the break comes when we wear each other out!

Deity Components

Deity Components
Deity Components

Deity Components

If you had never created Deity, do you think you'd have been drawn to a situation where you worked together?

Sadie: Absolutely! In fact, we worked together briefly at a bike shop years before Deity was ever even a thought. We make an amazing team, as individuals we are great, but together we’re unstoppable. The story of our life together is like a fairytale, people don’t often get to fall madly in love and create something from that connection that defines the style and voice of a movement like Deity! Eric is more to me than words could ever describe, he is my soul mate, he inspires me to be better, he’s pushed me and supported me and all the while with the most understanding love I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never known anyone who could love as hard, hold themselves to such a higher standard, and always deliver as him. Eric is an incredible person, you never forget him and his intensity can be felt without even saying a word. He is destined for greatness and I’m along for the ride!

bigquotesI will be with Eric until the day I die and I am a better person because of my journey with him.
- Sadie

Eric: Sharing this passion and intensity with the person I love makes it that much better and I have no doubt we would be doing something together. We used to dream about it before we ever dared to think about DEITY. When starting this company was just a thought, I knew that the only way it could work was with Sadie. She is selfless, giving, caring, honest, knowledgeable, talented, focused, and there is nobody that could make this world happen like her. She sees me as such a critical part of the company and I see her as the critical part. It is why we are able to be elevating Deity to new heights right now. We are always striving to improve personally, as a team, but we are always in awe of each other throughout the process.

Deity Components

bigquotesIn the end it all comes down to love. We love each other, what we do, and this industry. Isn't that what everyone wants in the end, to feel that indescribable feeling that motivates and drives us all? In our eyes, no matter what you are doing, if it fulfills and challenges you, then it's a winner. Life is too short to see what happens, you have to find what you love and make it happen!
- Eric and Sadie


MENTIONS: @deityusa / @parisgore



Must Read This Week

74 Comments

  • + 143
 I tried to hit on Sadie at my Son's wedding last year, but my line about how I thought she was Lindsay Lohan, got me no where, not to mention that I am an old fart. Eric and Sadie are good people and run a great business. Cam Z's dad.
  • + 3
 I've got an orange Diety Cam Zink 38 Special handlebar on my orange Evil the Following. Special indeed.
  • + 22
 @ThomasWilson99: Congrats you're the first one today to misspell Deity. But don't feel bad, PB forum has 2624 hits for "Diety", their stuff must be very light to cause such confusion
  • + 23
 @royhud Haha! The compliment was one of the many amazing moments of Cam's wedding! Lots of love from me, Eric, and for the Zink family always being there for us. We know where Cam and Howie got their swagger! Xoxo- Sadie
  • + 1
 @ThomasWilson99: I need a CZ 38 for my YT but in 35mm clamp....sigh.
  • + 3
 Some bastard was cutting onions while I was reading this! Keep up the great work and give Zink a punch in the leg for me please!!
  • + 2
 @deityusa: ^ I love seeing real life and relationships happening in positive ways even right here in the public. Maybe this makes Pinkbike all the bit more special!

P.S. Sweet pedals. Not cheezeball stuff either.
  • + 2
 @SileTzar: You're welcome Smile
Dei or Die, just buy their stuff and ride your bike.
  • + 67
 This community jokes a lot about marriage being a death sentence. It's not. Marriage rocks. Just marry the right person.
  • + 2
 Amen! My wife 100% supports me and my riding (even tho it constantly is dishing up injuries) she knows my passion for it, and won't ever tell me to stop.
@deityusa thank you for all the rad components that make my bike look rad!
  • + 1
 +1000 I got back into MTB 10 years ago because my wife knew better than me that I'm a better, happier human being when a bike is involved. With a baby and a 4 year old I thought a bike would only be in my dreams. My son's almost 11 and we ride Highland together and it's about the sweetest joy ever.
  • + 16
 Two of the most generous and passionate people in our industry. So genuinely happy to see Deity grow and establish itself as a cornerstone brand for mountain biking. Keep crushing it guys!
  • + 13
 It's sick to see this kind of heart and soul is still in the bike industry. Bought some deity parts way back, and they've held up for 7 years of riding, so thanks for making good shit
  • + 13
 This makes me want to buy Deity everything.
  • + 3
 you won’t regret it
  • + 7
 The truest people I have ever met. Their work ethic, love for the sport, each other, and the riders is unparalleled. Deity is a class act and it all stems from Eric and Sadie. It is nice to see an article of such substance and there isn't a better couple to have written it about.
  • + 8
 This is like a video of Goldstone, in one hand you are happy for the kid who shreds and rides with Semenuk. But at the same time you feel miserable on the inside.
  • + 8
 Love your work Eric and Sadie. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story with us!
  • + 4
 I grew up in Moscow Idaho and even went to school at the UI for a while. Reading about cruising the streets and campus brought back some good feelings. I've been married for 6 months as of yesterday and you guys are some good inspiration! Plus deity stuff is sick. Keep it up!
  • + 3
 God I miss it up there. Nostalgia overload. I gotta go back to visit this year
  • + 4
 Moscow FTW! Also Moscow mountain has some ripping trails these days!
  • + 4
 Eric and Sadie are two of the most solid, honest and rad people I have had the please of working with in the bike industry. Thanks again for everything and I can't wait until Feb 28th! @deityusa
  • + 4
 Man. Eric and Sadie do it right. Thanks for the amazing inspiration, creativity, and no-bullshit attitude. The bike industry should take notes.
  • + 3
 Eric and Sadie are truly two of a kind! Been amazing to see them starting out and get to know them and 10 plus years later and they have proven that hard work, passion and Love pays off!!
  • + 2
 Sadie and Eric are a pleasure to deal with and passionate about what they do. We’re proud to partner with them for our racers needs. Personalities and dedication aside, they make hand down the best products out there.
  • + 3
 Stocked for some new Deity products. I already like the recent additions so I'm confident whatever they come up with will be awesome.
  • + 5
 i have seen this article before!
  • + 1
 Good stuff, great writeup! Eric and Sadie sound like cool people. I don't know them but friends of mine here in Idaho do.
Me, mostly xc/trailrider, so a bit different aspect of the sport, but I still want to say how cool it is to have a company like this in Idaho. I grew up in SoCal and when I started Mountain Biking, GT and companies like them were still manufacturing in SoCal, and there was a lot of heritage in that area - and I was really excited to be discovering the sport, bikes, products, friendships made. So again, so cool to have a company like this and here in Idaho.
  • + 2
 I love this company. I recently purchased a new Deity stem, handlebar, and some Bladerunner pedals. Now I'm just waiting for them to release the new seatpost clamps. Such good quality components.
  • + 3
 ALL this love in the air must be the reason we didn't see one mtb in this post???
  • + 1
 nice to read about a couple doing well. seems less common these days with many kids living with separated parents and just failed relationships all over the place. More power to you both in life and in business.
  • + 4
 These 2 are the real deal. The best company in the business!!
  • + 1
 I never really understood the whole 'salt of the earth' saying, until I met these 2. Good people, living an old fashioned american dream, greed-less and doing this tough ass business well.
  • + 4
 Yeah I want to know what the new products are gonna be!!
  • + 2
 The synthesis of a relationship and a business is a special one. Congrats on all the success, and here's to many more years of the same!
  • + 1
 I'd bling my bike in Deity for sure but still no uk distributor ???? Props to Sadie and Eric though for creating such a rad company.
  • + 2
 I just became a fan and a customer. You guys are living!! Inspiring story...
  • + 2
 More of this, it's nice seeing a story shared of good people who are getting things done their own way. Respect!
  • + 2
 Damn. I wanna get me some Deity stuff just because I want to be a (miniscule) part of what these two have created.
  • + 1
 A true success story that continues to unfold! Thank you Deity for all your support for Defiant Racing over the years! Continued success and Love for many years to come!
  • + 1
 Is that a Schwinn Fair Lady? Got one at the swap meet and resto for my daughter. The Moms in the hood always stop her to trade their dog for a ride. Everybody wins.
  • + 1
 Deity blocked me on instagram because I called someone a weight weenie when they asked if the T macs would come in a titanium spindle.
  • + 1
 shout out to Deity for the seatpost shims. thanks to you guys I dont have to worry about running one of the jank 'saddles' or whatever you endurobikers call them.
  • + 2
 Thank you Pinkbike. A great story about the people that make biking great. Also, I need that garage!
  • + 4
 #goals
  • + 2
 Paradise Creek used to be the spot! I like the Deity gear I have, keep it coming. Looking forward to the new shit!
  • + 2
 I love this article deity will be on my list of new parts. And on my girls bike too
  • + 3
 Ah...a life without kids. I kinda remember that.
  • + 1
 They're making me regret my decision to sell my motorcycle and buy another mountain bike...
  • + 2
 Best in the business. All the best to Eric and Sadie!
  • + 2
 some of the raddest people in the industry
  • + 2
 Really awesome look at an inspirational couple. Killing it.
  • + 2
 I didn't know he grew in Guatemala!
  • + 1
 Love the carbon Mohawk bars have them on all three of my rides, but u guys need to re-think your stems.
  • + 2
 Wait until the 28th and the launch of the new line... all new lines of stems are coming!
  • + 2
 Best in the business! Cheers guys.
  • + 3
 #goals
  • + 3
 Amazing company.
  • + 2
 Love it. Keep it up guys.
  • + 2
 I'm so genuinely happy for your success in life. Congrats to you both!
  • + 1
 I love my fiancee...but I couldn't work/live/everything with her...

props
  • + 1
 Please make a 30mm stem....
  • + 2
 Deity rocks.
  • + 1
 Awww how sweet and on Valentines day
  • + 2
 Hey, you guys hiring? Big Grin
  • + 2
 Those feels though!
  • + 1
 #awwwwwww
  • - 3
 I hope Bella Lagosi Jr. didn't have poopy tung. Smile
  • + 2
 Of course it did. It's a fvckin' dog yo.
  • - 2
 What if I don't believe in a Deity? Can or should I own a Deity?
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