Nestled among countless artisan coffee shops and boutique shops at the heart of Brighton’s North Laine district is the lifestyle bike store Velo Vitality. Opened in 2012, Velo Vitality is owned and operated by Jenny and Jon Holmes, a husband and wife team dedicated to serving the urban cycling community of Brighton. They select their products for their unique design, superior quality, and daily performance, and were one of the first stores in the UK to start stocking REID vintage bikes. Reid sat down with Jon to discuss how the first 2 months of their relationship with Reid has gone.
It all started back at the NEC Bike Show in September 2014, where they were drawn to the REID stand by a Mint Green vintage classic (while on their way out of the show), and decided to have a rummage around on the stand to see what we’re all about. As a lifestyle and urban bicycle specialist, they like to keep abreast of what else is our there around the world in terms of urban and lifestyle bikes, so were aware of the huge strides we had made over in Australia over the last 5 years. When they saw that we were coming to the UK, they felt they had to get involved.
Jon remarked “when we saw the bikes on the stand, we immediately knew we were on to a winner – and we don’t get that very often! It was the first time we have come across a brand and knew, no question that our customers would like and buy these bikes”.
While already stocking established lifestyle and urban brands, Velo Vitality saw a gap in what they were offering to slot us in to. “REID opens up a new price bracket that wasn’t being fulfilled, stylish affordable bikes in the £250 to £350 range. What REID does that no one else does is that they have bought in bikes in that bracket, that compete with the next price bracket up – which opens us up to people that want that type of bike, but have a slightly lower budget”. Although their RRPs are lower than the competition, REID still offer “Simple bikes, good colours, not over branded and with decent parts – and very competitive margins!” stated Jon.
Being a new brand, we see the need to build relationships with new retailers as quickly as possible, as well as taking as much of the stress out of the process as possible. As Jon states, “It has been really easy – the way REID set up with pro forma – You order, you pay, you get the bikes – there are no endless forms and credit checks. We get stock lists via email and can pre order stock from upcoming drops. We always know what is in stock and can plan what we want”.
While we will be introducing a full range of MTB, Road and Hybrid in to the UK market over the coming months, our vintage bikes are what we’re best known for. Of the bikes Velo Vitality have had in stock, they have seen most success with the all-aluminium Vintage Alloy Lite, retailing at £299. As Jon states “being in Brighton, lightweight is key. Also a big perception of this type of bike is that they are very heavy. Showing customers that they can get a light version is great – getting a customer to lift up the bike really changes their mind on this type of bike”.
As well as a variety of styles, we offer a fantastic range of colours, with their pastel shades being particularly popular. “So far there is no real single stand out colour, but the Mint Green, Watermelon and Baby Blue have performed really well. That said, REID offer their vintage bikes in black, which is always a popular option, particularly in the winter. But over summer, I think the Watermelon and Baby Blue will be our key colours”, stated Jon.
While we could be labelled as a “new” company in the UK, our experience and infrastructure overseas means we’re far from it. As a brand growing in the UK, REOD are one step ahead of the game by having an extensive library of marketing material, as well as the experience of knowing how to sell their bikes in the retail arena, as operators of 6 bricks and mortar stores, as well as online, in Australia. In Jon’s opinion, this will stand us in good stead as they grow in to a household name. “REID is not a “new” brand, and there seems less of a need to make people aware of the brand history, as they have good online presence. Customers often get worried about buying into new brands, but that hasn’t been a problem with REID – people are still buying without prior knowledge about the company, and that isn’t very common.”
When taking Velo Vitality’s experience so far in to account, Jon was asked if he could give any advice to other retailers considering stocking REID -“Shops should test the market with Reid. It’s not a big expense and it’s not a risk. There are plenty of people after stylish bikes. Over the last few years people have really started to seek out this type of affordable, comfy town bikes.”
Velo Vitality are open Monday to Saturday at 44 Trafalgar Street, Brighton BH1 4ED