Bad & G Customs
Article By: Zach Williams
Originally Published In The April 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
All over this country there are talented folks that will blow your mind with what they can create. The two gentleman that I’m about to introduce you to are nothing short of impressive and talented when it comes to custom leather work and engraving. Grigoriy (Greg) Georgiev and Yovko (Joe) Gospodinov own BAD & G Customs, a cool shop in Williamsburg, Virginia where they work on their respective craft. When you walk in, it immediately gets your imaginative juices flowing. I hadn’t heard of these guys until I took a trip down to Hampton, VA to see my boys at Porkchop Customs, they showed me some of their craftsmanship and Article By: Zach Williams asked if I was interested in meeting these two Bulgarian guys. Instantly I said, “Hell yeah, let’s go!!” We were welcomed at BAD & G Customs with food and an open house. While spending time talking with Greg and Joe, I realized these two were onto something good. I took some time to check out everything they had on display and man, if you can think it…these guys can make create in leather or engrave it on metal. I’m going to give you a bit of a background on the owners Of Bad & G Customs that I got from a little Q & A we had.
CS: So where are you guys from and how the heck did you end up in the states??
GG: Well, I’m from a small town named Razgard in Bulgaria. You get to watch a good bit of television shows from America, many of the shows we really watched had to deal with motorcycles. I watched these shows over and over, hundreds of times just dreaming that one day I could be in America. As I got older, I actually had some friends that lived in Virginia, so it really was just a sign that maybe I should head this way. Once I got to the states I really had a lot to learn, language and customs, but it wasn’t anything that could get in my way of fulfilling my dreams.
YG: I too am from Bulgaria and coming to America was always a dream that I had. I dipped into art as a young kid and was always really good at it. Somewhere down the line I decided to go to accounting school (yeah that didn’t make me happy at all! Haha), so I decided to get back to what I loved. I actually found some of Grigoriy’s work on some motorcycle forums and I sent him a friend request on Facebook. When I got my break to come to the states I met up with Greg at Daytona Bike Week in 2012, he invited me to Virginia on a vacation and the rest is history.
CS: What was your motivation to get into this? Your leather work, engraving and building bikes etc…
GG: Well when I was younger, my dad built me a motorized BMX bike when I was 9. But when I was 16, I saw a commercial for a show on the Discovery Channel called “Motorcycle Mania”, when I finally got to watch it I was amazed at all the talent of Jesse James and that’s how my dream got started of moving to the USA. As for finding my way in leather work, I had reupholstered seats back in Bulgaria, but when I saw some choppers with hand tooled leather seats in Daytona it really blew my mind. I wanted to ask the craftsman how I could get started in the trade, but there was only one problem, I could barely speak any English at this time. After I left Daytona, I searched on Google and just started typing random words, eventually educating myself with the correct tools and techniques to start teaching myself how to work on leather.
YG: Actually when I was 18 I got to ride my brother’s bike. This was a completely new experience for me and with that, I knew that I wanted motorcycles to be part of my life. I made it to 26 and really had no idea what I was going to do with my life, school was getting old. I decided to get back into the arts, I mean, you don’t need a degree to do art!! I decided to take back drawing and was really pleased that I didn’t lose the ability. I picked up my first tattoo machines and in 2011 I made my way to the United States. I was living in Florida and most of the time I spent being a delivery driver, but I was also an apprentice at a tattoo shop. I decided that place wasn’t for me and I decided to just move on. And that’s when I finally met up with Greg in Daytona.
CS: So when you first started getting into each of your trades, what made it really sink in that you wanted to do this for a business?
YG: Well I saw a Biker Build-Off Episode and was amazed when I saw the engraving on some of the motors on the show. This really got me interested, but I didn’t know what it was called in English, so with the help from YouTube videos I was hooked! Engraving really was a combination of many traits that I already knew, drawing, tattooing and using chisels. With a bit of practice and starting up the business with Greg, I started working on bikes and started getting orders from people all over.
GG: I was making just seats at the time and selling them on EBay. They were selling pretty quick and that’s when I met with Doug Wothke aka “Round the World Doug”. He gave me the idea to start doing bags, so I also started on saddlebags and solo bags. The only problem with that was that it was starting to interfere with my regular job. So there was only one thing to do, quit my job and become self-employed, working on seats and saddlebags full time.
CS: What can we expect from you two in the near future?
GG: Well to be honest, we are hoping to make a grand appearance in Daytona this year with a 1973 Ironhead, all chopped up with the sheet metal covered in leather and hand tooled. All of the engine covers and wheels will be hand engraved, so we are pretty excited to get it down and let everyone see it.
YG: Yeah, the Ironhead is our main focus right now, and like Greg said we are hoping to display it at Willie’s this year. As for me, I’m getting back into