Two Wheel Gear
One bag to take from doorstep to destination
Grab a Two Wheel Gear bag and make your biking commute a breeze
To find out more behind how Two Wheel Gear got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Two Wheel Gear Owner, Reid Hemsing
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Two Wheel Gear owner Reid Hemsing. Two Wheel Gear makes bike bags and packs for the everyday commuter. Although Two Wheel Gear, founded by Ken MacLean and Craig Coulombe originally got its start in 1999, Reid Hemsing, owner, and president of Two Wheel Gear has successfully brought this rising star of a company into the 21st century. With more and more bike commuters searching for a practical, stylish, functional bag, Two Wheel Gear’s revitalization has sent it soaring but, what comes next, you’ll have to tune in to find out.
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Check out Two Wheel Gear’s website
- Grab some Two Wheel Gear of your very own
- More about the early days of Two Wheel Gear
- Follow Two Wheel Gear on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram
What is Two Wheel Gear all about?
“We’re a brand for people that bike to work and we design specialized bags, they’re all kind of hybrids, between panniers and shoulder carry bags for people who are biking to work. We believe that when you’re on a bike using a pannier is the best way to go to carry your gear but when you get to the office hawking around a pannier is a real pain so we designed all this functionality to go from a pannier to a shoulder carry bag…”
How did Two Wheel Gear get started?
“The origin goes back even beyond my existence. Back in 1999 two guys in Calgary, Alberta Ken MacLean, and Craig Coulombe, they’re actually the inventors of the first concept of the bike suit bag. Craig was a geophysicist and ken was an entrepreneur, business guy and they were both biking to work… Biking to the office was a lot less common back then, so Craig fashioned up the very first travel, garment bag that he made work on the back of his bicycle…Fast forward to 2009, I was the Vice President of the business club at my university and got introduced to Ken and Craig with their concept. And, I came on as this marketing support in this 21st century to help bring this brand online so we can sell some of the product on an e-commerce store...”
Have you always had an entrepreneurial spark?
“I always knew I wanted to be a business owner and entrepreneur in some regards. I had no idea it would be what I’m doing now with Two Wheel Gear...I owned another landscaping/irrigation company in Calgary and, I took small business and entrepreneurship in college…”
Was there anything that you did marketing wise that gave you extra momentum to gain exposure?
“I’d love to say there was a big win for us in 2014 but, that first year going fulltime I think we spent a lot of time figuring out what kind of company we were. I think like a lot of other young entrepreneurs I didn’t have a lot of confidence that I could do it all myself so, I brought a friend of mine on as a partner… Then we had two more people join our team so we had four people at the start… We decided that creating a cool new take on the bike messenger bag would be a good start…”
Were you all full time during that two year period?
“I would say within the first three to four months we lost our social media guy… it was hard to make a living within the first two years of the company and especially the first year… It was down to two people after 6-8 months from the first start and we were hustling. I started talking to Mountain Equipment Coop which is Canada’s version of REI, I’d say that was our biggest wins and one of the biggest turning points for our company getting started…”
What came next after you got the product on the shelf?
“I think we actually ended up getting our product on the shelf in April and I was actually a little late delivering on the first production order that we did but, that’s a whole different set of lessons. Planning a production cycle and shipping is something that I see every new Kickstarter and founder go through a similar process of what I did… Skipping ahead now, we’re not manufacturing locally anymore, it’s not me in my garage anymore putting the bags together…we finally got into an amazing professional facility...”
What has the business growth looked like from mid 2016 to 2018?
“Our main thing is that we’ve always been digital and online. We still are, the majority of our sales are online but, we have some key wholesale retail customers as well...We basically at least double in size every year…”
What advice would you give someone who wanted to start a business?
“I’d say video is so huge in today's online digital market… Once you have your business halfway dialed you need to create a good video that represents and shows what you’re all about and do it well. Spend a little bit of money and hire people who know what they’re doing and create a beautiful picture of your business because that asset will live for a long time…”
Where do you see Two Wheel Gear headed into the future?
“Right now we’re at a really exciting spot, our products market test themselves… we’re starting to expand more in the US, we have a fairly decent presence in Canada… We also have some new partners in the UK which is really exciting to help us get into some great retailers over there… you’ll see a lot more of us growing our presence online... “
What’s the best part about running Two Wheel Gear?
“I look at the brand as this giant art project that’s got so many different fingers and aspects to it but you’re at the helm of cultivating the culture and you have to create the best version of this brand…That’s been the definition of success for me, every year seeing more bikes around Vancouver with our bags on them...”
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