This is me (on the right)... Andy Ward
I am the founder, owner, designer, and creative mind behind Viris Brand. Its basically just me (and a very supportive wife).
I am an ex world cup mechanic and now brand owner. I always looked for opportunities to work in the industry for a brand but decided to start my own, and this is it.
Starting my life on the Mountain Bike World Cup circuit as head technician for the Atherton's (picture of myself and Gee Atherton 2010, Whistler).
I ended up spending 8 amazing years working with the best riders and teams in the world. The Athertons, Lapierre International, Devinci EWS Team and MS Mondraker.
Gee, Dan, Rach Atherton, Cam Cole, Sam Blenkinsop, Loic Bruni, Brook MacDonald, Markus Pekol, Innes Graham, Emmeline Ragot, Damian Spagnola, Damion Oton and Danny Hart have all ridien bikes I've worked on.
World Cup wins, World Cup podiums, EWS wins and National Titles are just some of the success I've shared with these riders
Innes Graham... It wasn't until 2012 that I started working with this guy that Viris Brand would become a thing. Innes started out on a development team I managed for Lapierre Bikes.
He went on to sign for the MS Mondraker team. Its here where we forged our relationship. Innes the Rider, me his Manager & Mechanic.
During a road trip to the Dirt office one day, myself and Innes were discussing ideas about our futures in the sport. One of those ideas was to start our own brand.
But why set up an eyewear brand?
As a race mechanic it was always the last thing I did for my rider. We would be in the start hut side by side. I would hand my rider their goggles. A quick fist bump and off they went.
Sometimes I would find myself stood in the finish arena watching the last riders come down. Watching the big screen I would always notice the goggles as the camera focused on the rider before their run.
'Now imagine if that goggle was my brand' I used to think to myself.
That was my new goal, a vision I had in my mind. To be stood in a finish arena starring up at the big screen and to see my brand name there.
While on that road trip, a few words were thrown around, and with two words mixed - Vision and Iris (the Part of your eye) the name Viris was born.
For whatever reason we didn't start the brand back then. Innes retired from racing and I took a break from the circuit. But it was always in the back of my mind to start this brand.
Fast forward to 2018...
I launched Viris Brands first goggle... The Alpha. With the help of a small group of brand ambassadors I managed to sell this unknown brand of goggles around the world.
It wasn't long before I was approached by these guys. The Intense UK Downhill team. We hooked these guys up and what a year 2019 turned out to be.
Joe Breeden and the team put Viris Brand well an truly on the map, and with that, my goal/vision had been realised.
Stood in the finish arena at Fort William that year. Looking up at the big screen as Joe was about to start his run, and there it was... A Viris Brand goggle on the big screen. but this was just the start.
Joe went on to feature during the live feeds on Red Bull TV at other rounds that year due to his awesome qualifying results. It was amazing being sat at home seeing my own brand on the TV.
Things have progress significantly supporting a number of riders around the world, launching a range of glasses, a UK race team (GT Viris Racing) and now expanding with global distributors.
Roll on 2023…