Finding his inspiration in the Tour De France and the great athlete Lance Armstrong, Mehdi Farsi has turned his passion into a successful bicycle design and creation company. At State Bicycle Co. they focus on creating bikes that are both affordable and attractive. These are not your mother’s bicycles!
Mehdi Farsi is the visionary behind State Bicycle Co.’s products and designs as well as the driving force of the company’s marketing and large social media presence. In charge of the company’s image, Mehdi’s primary responsibilities include branding, product development, marketing, website design, and collaborations/co-branding. Mehdi enjoys creating a productive and engaging work environment and often organizes company events and races along with managing the State Bicycle Co.'s internationally-known cycling team. Mehdi graduated from Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College and W.P. Carey School of Business with a degree in Marketing. His previous jobs range from working at a large dot-com company to founding a $1m+ grossing online furniture business at the age of 22; all of which are foundational to his success at State Bicycle Co.
In this episode you’ll learn about:
- Modernizing the bike riding experience - how State Bicycle Co. is making the sport of cycling more inclusive and attractive to new riders and younger generations.
- The vision for a one-stop-shop bicycle store - how Mehdi and State Bicycle have become known both online and in stores for their variety of quality, affordable products.
- Going from direct-to-consumer sales to selling with dealers - how Mehdi was ahead of the curve with his vision for their bicycle brand, how they moved from a 100% direct-to-consumer company, into partnering with local bike shops to sell in a store, and how that improved their customer experience.
- Finding the balance between online sales and in-store dealers - the importance of online sales for profit, but having a storefront for customer education, visualization, and an overall improved buying experience.
- Getting a jump on the competition - how jumping into the game, and building their own brand before there was another like it, gave State Bicycle Co. a leg up on the competition and the time to build their reputation.
- Creating a rider-funded company - how growing organically through customer loyalty and funding proved to be the success of the State Bicycle Co., as opposed to companies who relied on outside investors.
- Putting yourself in the shoe of your consumer - why Mehdi continues to personally run the company Instagram, and how keeping a pulse on their consumers has helped the company succeed and grow.
- Marketing a visual product - how Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube communities have helped spread the word of State Bicycle Co. and inspire riders.
- Leveraging reviewers to supplement growth and PR - how pushing bikes out to reviewers in numerous publications helped spread the word of State Bicycle Co. and helped improve their credibility.
- Choosing a branding message - the struggles of selling multiple targeted products and how to market your brand without confusing your consumer. Why Mehdi focused on marketing to everyone, only tailoring the marketing message when necessary.
- Becoming a collab king - how Mehi was able to sign with such well-established brands as Wu-Tang, Ozzy Ozbourne, NASA, Corona, and the Grateful Dead, and how he chose which brands to collaborate with.
Connecting with Guest:
Connecting with the host:
- 10:14 “We see local bike shops as being a really important part of the whole ecosystem when it comes to cycling because there’s just stuff you’re not going to be able to do online.”
- 10:34 “We have a really good relationship with 100s of shops throughout the country, so folks can choose to shop directly with us if there’s not a shop in their area, or if they prefer to go into a shop and see the bike before they ride it…a local bike shop is a great place to shop.”
- 12:07 ”Some of that success was great timing on our part.”
- 12:32 “I’m happy with when we started, and how we’ve decided to slowly grow the business organically versus rushing in and trying to just make a quick buck.”
- 15:29 “Sometimes you can even make the mistake of listening to your customers too closely and listening to too much feedback.”
- 18:03 “I don’t know that we’ve ever gotten into something purely because we think it would be lucrative,”
- 19:24 “There are tons of accessible bikes. Are they attractive though? No. They’re bikes that people buy and ultimately end up being a bad investment because they sit in their garage or locked up somewhere, deflated and not ridden because there’s no emotional connection to that.”
- 21:43 “More bikes on the road are better for everyone who is on two wheels.”
- 30:10 “Because you can get a little bit of a split personality if you do try to tailor the message too much.”