In the bicycle world, giants dominate. The world's largest, most well-known brands get the lion's share of bike business, leaving newcomers with a steep climb. But online selling has opened up new inroads for small businesses, and for three young bicycle enthusiasts, adventure beckoned. Right after graduating from college, brothers Mehdi and Reza Farsi and their childhood best friend Eric Ferguson launched State Bicycle Co., a bold venture that would put them up against industry leaders. From the beginning, their strategy was to focus on what they knew best—building the popular fixed-gear bikes known as "fixies"—and to reach customers online.
"It was our plan from the start to sell totally online and to use Amazon. We knew Amazon Marketplace could get our bikes in front of millions of people we'd never reach through stores or dealers, so this is like the open road for us."
Fixies are the ultimate urban-chic bike, favored by bike messengers and young male riders for their sleek simplicity and ability to make the rider feel at one with the road. While modern road bikes boast twenty gears and more, fixies have but one, a refreshing throwback to the days of durable, simple bikes that could be rode hard and put away wet. The single gear also allows for backward pedaling and sharp maneuvers, a great advantage when biking amid traffic in big cities.
We knew Amazon Marketplace could get our bikes in front of millions of people we'd never reach through stores or dealers. This is like the open road for us.
"There was a niche in the market we felt we could get into when the business was founded," recalls Adam Mayo, who manages sales and support for the company. "We knew we could make a high-quality bicycle, make it affordable, and do something very stylish as well."
They were right. Amazon customers loved State Bicycle Co.'s tough, brightly colored fixies, and they shared their enthusiasm with glowing reviews: "Epic quality, beautiful finish, extremely nimble bike, I LOVE IT!!!" This kind of positive feedback made all the difference for the young company, inspiring sales and swaying potential investors and bicycle retailers. Adam explains, "Having a presence on Amazon where investors can easily see what customers are saying about us has impressed them and influenced their decisions."
"We wouldn't be where we are today without Amazon. They've helped legitimize us. When people see your product on Amazon, they take you seriously."
With the help of Amazon customers, the State Bicycle Co. has grown from a promising startup into a viable manufacturer, with a network of dealers carrying a steady stream of their newest fixie models. They've even been able to venture into the brick-and-mortar world, opening three storefronts in Arizona and California. Now three years old, the company has high hopes for continued growth. "Sales have gone up every month that we've been on Amazon," says Adam. "It's been a great channel. It's made all the difference for us."