Hi, my name is Nikolai, my mother calls Kolya, friends Kolyan. Now it’s fashionable to do business openly and tell a story to yourself. I thought that I had a rather interesting story, in which there are many lessons for myself, and maybe someone will learn what is good from my mistakes. I would like to tell the story of the origin and development of the BearBike brand, I will complement the narrative as it develops.
Or how I hired myself. I saw fixes in 2011. Picture on pinterest. And fell in love. Then there was free money from another business, which I spent completely on the first purchase. Everything is serious: rented a warehouse (garage on Skhodnenskaya), thought out logistics (the first year I delivered bicycles to clients by taxi), made a website (a ready-made template for little money). Time was full and the first bicycles parted from the truck. Zayana became the first friend and assistant, who always inspired confidence that this was normal and everyone started like that. She designed the first marketing materials and did a lot of useful things for me and the business.
Oh yes, I started with the distribution of PureFix, an American brand. It was organized by several young men, graduates of Standford. They raised some wild investments, showing investors a ten-page presentation. Hired a marketer from Trek. Such a beautiful American story. They are great guys, but they were very busy with marketing and investment rounds. The purchase looked something like this:
- "Hey guys, we need a bike!"- "Nivapros, here is the contact of a Chinese woman, she will ship to you, and pay her."
Everything was going great. I ordered another batch and it did not fit into my garage. Then I just arrived at Pushkinskaya, where a room was empty next to my friendly shop, and filled up these rooms with my great ones. The next day, the director of Izvestia laughed to tears at my seizure and allowed me to continue to rent occupied rooms for a store. So fixcycles.ru found its first home. Almost overlooking the Kremlin.
In the same days, Nikita joined me, who became the first permanent employee, ally and friend. Nikita very quickly figured out everything and became a reliable support.
Once the guys from a friendly laugh shop showed a letter from the Chinese, which literally read as follows under the photos of my bicycles: "Do you want the same bike? Easy! Fast, high quality, cheap. Buy, hurry up!". It was the first call that just because anyone could jump over me because of such Chinese.
The second call was when, having arrived at an exhibition in Germany to meet with representatives of the Americans, he discovered that they were negotiating with other larger players in the Russian market. At that time, for three years I had successfully sold them great, invested in advertising, worked on recognition. And here, you understand, that at any moment they can say "thank you, but we give the market to another." It's like working at work, and you get fired. But unlike dismissal, it’s not so easy to get into a competing company. Another American says, “We have a good account of Russia. I’ve bought a new Tesla, and what are you driving?” I was not confused with the answer and said: “On the bike and metro.”
The third and last call happened immediately after the collapse of the ruble, when I asked the Americans to meet and lower the prices for a difficult period in order to maintain an affordable price for people, I received the answer essentially "learn to sell the same product for expensive." September was on its nose and it was necessary to act.
Remember the Chinese woman from the previous chapter? Here she writes to me: "Kolya, let me sell you the same bicycles cheaper." So BearBike was born. Handsomely? Not really. The first batch arrived ready-made and I tested the market on finished bicycles. I also bought several frames and tried to assemble bicycles myself. But the problem turned out to be that when buying components in Russia, bicycles were very expensive.
We found an investor. He is an extremely modest and non-public person, I will call him BB. First, Igor brought the idea of making a bicycle on a belt, like a headliner. I posted a simple ad on different sites "we want to assemble bicycles in Moscow, we need an investor." Despite the crisis, there were several reviews. But the first responded BB. We met in a cafe on Paveletskaya. They told themselves that we know what we are doing, what super-duper bike we will build on a belt, it will cost some fifty thousand in retail. VV is a wise man, he listened to us and asked: “But will you sell the assortment only? So my son bought a lot from Kolya a couple of years ago, can’t get enough of it, can you turn this story off?” And then we realized that we were so carried away by the projects of the future that we forgot about the current achievements. Corrected.
"How much money do you need and for what?" And then we sat in a puddle, as there was no answer. Just a comedy:
- "And how many do you have?"- "Well, how much is needed, how much is there, how much is needed?"- "Pss, Kohl, let's eight ..."- "Don’t give twenty ..."- "Maybe ten?"- "So you guys count and call."
Well, here we were ashamed, figured, counted, etc. We met many times, discussed. As a result, on the very new year, they shook hands. As I later found out from serious financial analysts who professionally work with businesses in the early stages of development and growth, it is a common problem to understand how much money is needed for a number of reasons: used to working without money; it’s hard to really appreciate the big picture; you don’t corny know the cost of all necessary services, since you haven’t tried everything in your life, etc.
And I also realized that the cool financiers who work for large salaries also do not know anything in advance. And someone will surely tell you about the mythical uncle-getter from Siberia, who has so much money that he will now dump you a pack. And with such surprise, you read the investment reports in a bunch of incomprehensible projects that solve the next global problem of collective combing of smooth-haired cats in zero gravity.
In the winter of 2016 we became sharply more. Everything used to be simple and clear, I’m Nikita, Nikita yes.
Igor came to work in February. He brought a friend Volodya with him. By the way, Volodya was for a long time the head of the warranty workshop at Stels and over the last year of his work he personally repaired, tuned and assembled nearly 3,000 grand ones (three mother of his thousands are big, stunned!).
For Volodya came a group of pickers who worked in the shops during the day and came to us in the evenings. I note that neither Volodya nor Igor ever said anything bad about Stels, and when someone regularly tries to pin them on the topic of Stels, which is usually scolded, if you are a "hard worker" and a "bike loafer", they always answer: "В Stels has the best bikes for its price, and some models are more expensive than their money. "
Seryozha also joined the staff. Serezha is an amazing person - a photographer, artist, carpenter, bicycle master. He has a well-known Viter project and an excellent carpentry workshop Bark beetle. I used to order photographs from him. He joined the team and took up our appearance and activities. He did great. But they did not agree with Igor's characters and Igor's explosive disposition forced Sergei to leave. I hope that Sergei and I remained friends. Seryozha, if you read these lines - it’s great!
So there are sales, there are purchases, there is an investor. assembly is, marketing is. Fly!
The text is long. And perhaps you have already forgotten why I am writing all this. Now is the last week of 2016. I decided to take an intermediate result. Tell how it is all inside. Next year I will supplement this story with new chapters. Nikita, Volodya, Igor and I, Nikolai, have put a lot at stake for the sake of our beloved business, and we will do further, more and better.