Topics: Miller College of Business, Speakers

April 11, 2011

Ball State University alumna Josie Fox, '62, admits that sometimes people are surprised to learn that she and her husband, Geoff, are founders of the Fox action sportswear clothing company.

The couple put together the first Fox catalogs in 1974 on their kitchen table in San Jose, Calif. Since then, Fox Head Inc. has grown into the largest privately-owned action sports clothing companying the country.

"When we tell our story, we sometimes get a look of disbelief because we don't seem the action sports type", said Josie, who studied art and English at Ball State. "Also some people have no clue what our company logo stands for, so we tell them to ask their kids or grandkids. They'll know because Fox Head is geared toward youth."

The couple will explain how they started and expanded a company while raising four children on Tuesday, April 12, as part of the Miller College of Business Executive-in-Residence program. "Fox Head Inc. Extreme Entrepreneurship" begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Art and Journalism Building, Room 175. The program is free and open to the public.

"We have information students should find useful when they consider starting a business", said Josie, a Muncie native. "There have been many ups and downs over the years, but we've hung in there and thrived."

The couple began their venture into motocross in 1974 when they transformed Geoff's hobby into a business, Moto-X Fox. At the time, Geoff had earned his PhD in physics and was teaching at a college in California. They started distributing replacements parts for European motocross motorcycles out of a 1,500 square foot warehouse. Within two years Moto-X Fox was manufacturing high performance suspension and engine components for racers looking for an on-track advantage.

A few years later, Fox reorganized to become a major player in the U.S. motocross apparel industry. Today, Fox Head Inc., continues as a family-owned and managed business with the second generation leading the way.

"We are very proud that our kids have taken leadership roles in our company," Geoff said. "My grandparents' business in Chicago phased out in the 1950s because the second generation weren't allowed to take responsible positions. Motocross appeals to young people. Therefore, it wasn't difficult to interest our kids in the business.

"Recruiting talent is a key factor in maintaining the company's forward momentum," he said. "We're fortunate to have many enthusiastic employees."

Josie, who graduated in 1958 from Burris Laboratory School, will share her story of growing up in Muncie.

"My parents owned residential and commercial rental properties on West Jackson St. When I was 7, my dad died of a heart attack at home and my mom took control of the business as well as taking care of the family as a single parent. I learned many business lessons from my mom. She took pride in keeping rentals ship-shape and often did repairs and upkeep herself. Watching her interact with her business contacts and renters taught me pride in ownership."