Happy to be small, possibly stupid and definitely different
One of the beautiful things about small brands is the passion within them. As they grow and become more successful this sometimes fades and is diluted as the team expands, “departments” are formed, spreadsheets become everyday life and, other than sales, no one really knows what they’re passionate about. (Note: No one is passionate about sales)
Last week’s blog was about why we don’t do Next Day Dispatch and I finished by almost starting another novel about customisation.
Make sense of that sentence if you will……….(read previous blog and you’ll probably understand)
The passion to be a genuine and amazing bike brand is real at Mango Bikes and part of that is being happy in our skins.
Are we the biggest bike brand in the world? Nope
Do we have the ambition to be? Nah
Have we got fancy-pants (unneeded) technology and (over) engineering in our bikes? Defo not
Does any of that really matter?
Ummm, the first two probably do if you’re a megalomaniac/VC owned/loss making madhouse (delete or add options as required) and the last one, probably yes if you are a professional cyclist but otherwise no.
Mango Bikes is here for the long term, we’ll ideally grow a bit (slowly and sustainably) but our main, possibly only, purpose is to make awesome bikes for urban, recreational and leisure cycling.
And part of that is customisation. A big part.
As per last week’s comments about the bike industry being a bit bonkers and everyone following the same setup as the big boys…………it’s true.
And here’s another reason why we think so……………..
The majority of brands have their bikes assembled and packed in the Far East then shipped to distributors, wholesalers and retailers all over the world. By flipping this on its head, little old Mango Bikes actually forces higher quality standards into our supply chain.
The same thing applies to customisation as well.
What’s your favourite colour?
What style of handlebars best suits your needs?
Which wheels and/or tyres will you use?
(There’s a whole heap of other queries to be asked but 3’s enough to explain)
Most brands decide the answers to all these questions months/years ahead, using either dodgy data or a few team members in an office far away from most/all their customers.
Which would be fine if us human beings weren’t such a diverse group of individuals.
Trying to fit anything around an average is usually bonkers.
At Mango Bikes we think that one of the last and most important bits of the journey to NEW BIKE DAY should be totally up to you. It’s your bike so you should design it. Not someone else (unless it’s your BFF buying you a surprise birthday present) nor a group of “expert bike designers” in an office miles away from you. One man’s green is another woman’s blue is another guy’s red is another ladette’s silver and so on.
Same applies to bar tape and grips, tyres, wheels, saddle, chain, handlebar style and pedals.
You get the idea.
There’s a lot of decisions in there.
How this can be made (some times 1+ years in advance) by a few people, to suit lots of people bamboozles us.
Mango Bikes puts that decision in your hands and makes it fun!
And we don’t rip the backside out of it either.
There are other bike brands doing similar and not-so-similar things to Mango Bikes, who claim to offer customisation.
But don’t offer anywhere close to the number of options and charge ridiculous fees for the pleasure.
We’ve seen the hard evidence of this from customers who were thinking about another brand (tut tut) and when making a simple request (like swapping handlebars, changing tyres, saddle or some other simple ask) end up getting quoted a crazy fee.
My first response was to ask if they were getting to keep the original bars, but apparently not.
That’s the problem with a box-in-box-out operations. If you want to (pretend) to offer customisation and lots of options, then it’s impossible to predict all the combinations. So, you either over inflate prices to accommodate unbuilding and reassembling bikes or stealth charge for the same process.
By painting the frames and forks in-house and building all bikes to order at Mango HQ in Ballyclare we cut out these layers of fat in the system. It means managing more stock and carry out more processes here, but it also creates jobs here and means being a genuine, no bullsh*t, leading provider of customised bikes!
That’s what we’re passionate about and what drives us to keep getting better and better.
Mango Bikes // Andrew