LITTLE RIDER CO – ‘Industry Inspiration’ Interview Series - Kidvelo Bikes
How did you get your ‘job’?
Completely by chance! I was at nursery with my oldest child, who was then aged 3 and spotted a wooden toy balance bike. Intrigued, I started researching balance bikes and their purpose and started off as a home based dealer of Strider.
My enthusiasm for these strange looking bikes with no pedals grew. When I started out, 12 years ago, balance bikes weren’t common and it took a lot of persuading parents to give it a go and ditch stabiliser. Our company grew. I took on the UK distribution role with my husband and we helped teach thousands of toddlers how to ride a bike, developed a balance bike racing competition and spent a lot of time trackside finding out what parents wanted. The idea, to manufacture our own range of kids bikes was born as we were very keen to put our knowledge and experience into developing a bike that would be suitable for the next generation and to fix the things we didn’t like.
What is a typical day in the life look like at your business / brand?
As my husband and I manage all the roles between us, every day is different for us both. The whole project was brought together during global lockdowns, so everything had to be done over the phone or via the internet. Coming up with ways to overcome travel bans, whilst needing to touch prototypes and tweak things, whilst developing a new brand with Australian partners, sees a lot of time spent on video calls at strange times of the day. I think best whilst on long dog walks which I fit in several times a day. My husband sorts all the IT and distribution logistics, but as our warehouse is a few miles from our house, he gets his thinking time whilst riding his bike to work.
What are your goals and future-plans for your business/brand?
We are determined to keep enjoying the journey. We love what we do and over the years have won several awards for our customer service, which we are keen to ensure that we keep as excellent. Having a UK based customer service team, whose own children have learnt on bikes, is key to helping the families to get the best out of our brand. We have some exciting new bikes launching in 2022 but I am sure you understand we don’t wish to say too much on that right now. The range of bikes and accessories, will have something suitable for every child, regardless of ability and size.
How do you currently see the kids cycling scene?
The biggest obstacle is the fluctuating currency and difficulties in global shipping and logistics which is affecting the whole industry. Costs of raw materials and energy are escalating upwards which affects the cost of goods. There is a lot of hype in the media, but not without foundation. Shipping costs have risen 10 times what they were 2 years ago and I fear many brands will simply become too expensive for UK families and availability of stock is a big problem for many.
The small independent cycling shops will potentially struggle to obtain stock with reasonable margins to cover their overheads, which may mean a decrease in choice for the consumer. That is never a good thing. This may lead to an increase in purchase of poorly manufactured imported bikes through auction sites, which may be dangerous to ride.
The good news is the customer is becoming savvy and wants good quality bikes to put their children onto, which is good for us.
What impact would you like to make on kids cycling, and how do you see the future?
We have sold bikes online for many years. We were probably the first to focus on selling bikes over the internet 12 years ago and it is very possible to still maintain good customer service and deliver bikes in perfect condition. We keep costs down and don’t need to build in margins so it does help us deliver excellent quality bikes at a better price. The COVID pandemic has made people turn more to the internet for goods and I do believe that online retailing is the way that people will buy most of their bikes in the future.
Kidvelo’s complete range will be suitable for every child aged 1 to 10 years and bring top quality bikes at affordable prices to every home. As we have designed them from scratch, based around the child riding them, we know we will become a brand associated with good quality light bikes that give children confidence and get them riding
Where do you take your inspiration from? Who inspires you in the industry?
Our own children learnt on balance bikes and then moved onto Islabikes. Isla, the original founder, showed us that good quality bikes could be delivered directly to families without the need for high street shops. Having walked into several bike chain stores, we realized that the information you gained on a bike was limited to the person that serves you. This gave us confidence 12 years ago that we could do the same. We put our honest factual advice on our website that informs the customer and an expert can always be reached.
What goes into the research when developing your new products / service?
Kidvelo started in 2019 so over the last 2 years many prototypes were developed and tested by many children before being redeveloped. We had 12 years of experience of talking to parents trackside, so we already knew what the kids wanted and what they didn’t need, to become good riders. We were determined to exceed safety standards, keep the center of gravity low to aid balance, keep quality high and keep the bikes light. We had some pet hates, such as plastic/foam tyres that simply don’t last and are uncomfortable ride, which whilst they help lower weight, their poor performance made them a no go here.
How can people find out more about your work and your brand/business?
Simply visit kidvelobikes.co.uk
We have blogs that inform, and articles that will help you get the best out of your bikes. We will happily give honest advice to any parent and we are available for a chat on 01926 339107 or drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
Australian and Asian customers can visit our sister company in Australia at kidvelobikes.com
Want to connect with other Little Rider families?
The Little Rider Co Army will be more than happy to help – Jump into the Facebook group today and ask for recommendations, the community is here to help.