As the saying goes, some pursue greatness, others have greatness thrust upon them. After a lifetime career in hospital administration, Carol Hosmer could have been counting down to retirement, but she was thinking she might like to get into entrepreneurship. How that actually happened was totally unforeseen and unwelcome, but Carol has turned tragedy into triumph in remarkable ways.
As many may already be aware, Carol’s brother, company founder Tom Milton, collapsed while riding the Devil Mountain Double century in 2010. Paramedics arrived at the remote location as quickly as possible, but it was too late. Just a few short years before, Tom had started Selle Anatomica, an ambitious project to redesign the classic leather saddle for the modern market. At the time of Tom’s passing, the Selle Anatomica saddle was still pretty much in its prototype stages. Carol had no practical knowledge of business ownership or the bicycle industry other than her own riding experience. She suddenly found herself with the reins of the company in her hands and she embarked on that career change on the spot.
“It’s all baby steps,” she says.
Together with her sons Ryan and Andy, Carol has nurtured Tom’s dream into a thriving enterprise. Not only can Selle Anatomica rightfully boast to being the only made-in-the-USA saddle company, but it’s branching off into new and exciting directions.
Selle Anatomica recently introduced a composite saddle alongside its established line of leather saddles. Working with these new materials led to joining forces with engineer and physicist Michael Slocum, PhD, and sister company Light Composites was born. Under Michael’s guidance, Light Composites has received coveted aerospace and defense certifications. Light Composites’ fast prototype turnaround capabilities landed them the contract for SmartFin, an ingenious oceanographic device deployed by surfers to read ocean health. Whether it’s medical equipment or aerospace applications, from the skies to the seas and everything in between, there appears to be no limit to what Selle Anatomica/Light Composites can do.
When I expressed my admiration for Carol’s inspiring later-in-life, lemons-to-lemonade accomplishments, she reacted with characteristic grace and humility.
“I wish I was 50,” she said. (This, from someone who had just finished RAGBRAI!)
As a family business ourselves, the Bilenkys and Philly Bike Expo hold a special place in our hearts for the Hosmers and Selle Anatomica. We’re honored to have Selle Anatomica join us once again.