As well as expanding within Australia, Reid Cycles is rapidly rolling out international distribution of its brand under guidance of Rob Akam who is heading up their new UK office.
“Rob Akam was previously our General Manager in Australia,” said David Hannay, Reid Cycles Marketing Manager. “He began as our Sydney Store Manager, then Area Manager, then he was our General Manager for about a year and a half. But he was from the UK and he wanted to move home and get married.
“So we decided to use that as an opportunity to set up an overseas office. He’s moved back to Bournemouth and established our Reid International operation. But he travels a lot so we’ve now got distributors in South East Asia, throughout Europe and we’ve just signed with distributors for the USA.
“We’ve got a separate website for our international business, www.reidbikes.com which has links to retailers and distributor information. At the moment we’d like to sell our bikes overseas through other people’s stores and not open our own.
“We’ve only being doing international distribution from 10 months or so and it’s going quite well. The biggest challenge has been supply. There’s a lot of interest in the brand and all of our bikes, but just getting around all of the vagaries of shipping bikes from Asia to Europe takes a lot of getting on top of, but we’ve smoothed out most of that now and the bikes are flowing.
“Hans Johnsen Company (HJC), which owns Wilson Bicycle Sales and Downeast Bikes are big distributors that represent about 1,500 retail outlets in the USA and we’re also selling our bikes through these distributors. The deal has been agreed upon for the past few months but the bikes have just started landing. So we’re going through dealer training right now.
“It is rapid growth, which brings a lot of challenges. We didn’t anticipate it growing this quickly. People like our Australian brand. They like the price point. They like the style of bikes that we’re doing. For the same reasons that it succeeded here, we’ll succeed overseas.
“This move gives us a great way to balance out two of our biggest challenges – the seasonality and currency fluctuations we are subject to in Australia. Plus the industry here is being hit by big overseas retailers, so it’s good to head over and compete with them. Reid is a 100% Australian owned family run business so it all comes back here.
“We’re marketing ourselves as an Australian brand. We plan to build the brand and make retailers and distributors come to us because they want to stock it,” David concluded.
In a phone interview from the UK, Rob Akam gave a more detailed picture of Reid Cycles’ international operations.
“In Europe we’re now in Iceland, Ireland, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Spain,” Rob said. “We initially started international distribution because we wanted to level out the peaks and troughs of summer and winter in Australia.
“Our first international market was New Zealand. There we deal with Evolution Cycles. They have four shops and are opening a fifth. They also do a lot of sales online.
“We opened our UK office in July last year. We launched by exhibiting at the Cycle Show at the NEC Arena and started to get retailers on board. We’re now in two of the top five retail chains in the UK, Cycles UK which has 14 stores and Leisure Lakes which has nine stores. In total, we’re in over 50 stores in the UK. First stock landed here eight weeks ago.
“In the USA we’ve signed with HJC which has been trading for 114 years. We’ve been talking with them since last August but it was the end of March this year before we signed an agreement. They’re looking to fill a gap in the USA market place. In the USA you can buy mass market bicycles for as low as $110. But for most IBD’s, the cheapest bikes they really sell start at about $600. HJC want to be in that gap. We run lean FOB prices, so that distributors and retailers can still make good margins.
“We’ve set up a showroom here in the UK for international clients and most of them have come here to look through our range. People love the brand. We do things differently. We supply so much marketing material: photos, videos, infographics, logos, owner manuals. All of this sits online so that our distributors can access it from around the world. We also are very generous with all sorts of physical marketing material from T-shirts to caps and posters.”