We announced the soon-to-be-launched stock wheelsets that we have been coming up with, through August Wheelworks, our wheel lab and longstanding specialist arm. The response was great, with plenty of comments, DMs and interest, but it made us realise that there might have been plenty of you wanting a set of carbon wheels, but assuming you couldn't afford them from us. Shit!
Have we given the impression that we are super pricey? Or perhaps that we are totally driven by huge profit margins? We hope not, because that isn't the case at all. Yes, we are a business, so we need to make our bottom line, but we are in a really unique position to be happy with smaller profits, because our overheads are so low. The reasons for this are...
1. We have no workshop rent. We built a ruddy huge workshop next to our house, kitted it out with secondhand or made-in-house tooling (a lot of which has since been upgraded, as we've gone along but is still amazing, because one of us used to design and make tooling for building sports cars) and we just got on with operating. We are fortunate enough to get small business rate relief too, so we don't have that to content with every month either. We hear the phrase "you don't charge London prices" A LOT. Simple reason: we're not in London!
2. We took out no business loans. Don't get us wrong, we would LOVE one of everything from Anvil, Sputnik, Abbey Tools etc etc, but the pressure of a business loan just wasn't something we wanted. We talked it through and knew that it would make us chase the buck instead of enjoying each build or commission for what it was: an opportunity to flex some creativity and scratch some engineering itches. The idea of touting for business every day on Instagram just made us shudder. Sales people we ain't!
3. We are more big picture than big profits. We know that we spend too long on the little details and that if we added up every hour we put into our frames, we would be making next to no money, but our customers are happy, each bike is unique and that's more important to us. When it comes to wheels, we can't reinvent them, but we can price competatively to get as many people as possible out rolling on quality handbuilt options that will enhance their riding experience.
Look, let's talk about the elephant in the room. There are some companies, well known ones, that offer stock wheels that the magazines rave about. We all know who they are but hopefully, we all also know that some of the owners used to work for the same magazines that are giving them 5 star reviews. Reputations are quickly damaged by sloppy building and the word is getting out that perhaps, proper handbuilt options that don't take 10 weeks to arrive, might be the way to go, as well as cheaper than everybody assumes. Also, a little customer service goes a long way and communication, or a lack thereof, seems to be helping certain companies to fall off their pedestals (and into our workshop for full rebuilds!). So here's our promise:
Whether it's wheels, frames or full bikes, we will price competatively. We will not put profit margins before customer satisfaction and we will always maintain good communication so you know what is happening. We offer a lot more in terms of customisation options than you might think (bespoke decals, hub anodising etc, but more on all of this later!) and we have been going more years than you think. Way back in 2012 is when we first started building wheels commercially, so we've built our reputation the old fashioned way. No advertorials, no favours from mates and, critically, no failures!
If you've been thinking about some fancy wheels, get in touch. An email costs nothing and we might surprise you. Same goes with frames, but please remember that we are booked out for 2020.
Money is nice, but honestly, we are more in love with the freedom that working from home affords us than fancy duds and swish cars (says the couple that has just gone car-free for ultimate hippie points). Shop around guys. It might not be us that you buy from, but get the best deal you can, from a company whose reviews and reputation you trust.
The week in stats:
Sourdough failures: 3
Sourdough successes: 1
Lunchtime miles walked with the dog: 21
Babies reorganising our toolboxes: 1
Baby Bullitt rides: 5
Nipple washers dropped on the workshop floor: 99 (fresh bag minus one used)