Updated: Independent is ''Key to Foffa Bikes future,'' says founder

Dani Foffa talks to BikeBiz about signing up retailers, guerilla marketing and corporate packages
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Having gone from working in the city, to running a bike shop and online custom builder, Dani Foffa is now ready for the next chapter in the Foffa Bikes story. BikeBiz discovers plans to work with independents, marketing masterstrokes and corporate packages…

Plenty of us in the cycling trade have ended up here simply because a nine-to-five that doesn’t involve our main passion in life simply didn’t cut it. As a former business analyst in the City, Dani Foffa rolled the dice with cycling. Having already had a sideline of refurbishing bicycles, Dani quit his job in the city in order to launch Foffa as a create your own concept online, as well as a retail premises in London.

Not one to stand still, Foffa has evolved the business one step further in recent times, closing down the custom builder and subsequently the East London store, choosing to create a line of affordable classic bikes perfect for the retail world – all based on the best selling designs chosen while the custom bike builder was online.

“We’d built over 4,000 customised bikes prior to deciding to create an off the shelf line,” says Foffa. “Design wise, that’s put us in an excellent position to understand what colourschemes and trends urban cyclists like the most. So the plan from here on in is to offer those designs direct to retailers.”

There’s four single speed bikes, all at £360 and sporting a chromoly steel frame, sealed BBs, triple wall rims and puncture resistant tyres. Then there’s an urban line, clad with seven-speed Nexus gearing at £499. For the ladies, there’s the Iris line, offering Nexus three-speed gearhub shifting for £374.99.

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So why would an independent dealer be interested?

“I think we’ve got some of the most competitively priced every day use urban bikes around, says Foffa. “We’re not going down the model year route, so the shelf life needn’t bother a dealer (however we do plan to add new designs every year). There’s no minimum order too. And we try to offer competitive trade margins, ranging between 34 and 40 per cent depending on quantities.”

With the bike’s aesthetics often designed ‘minimalist’, marketing has been important to push the brand forwards since the 2009 launch and it’s impressive what’s been achieved to date.

“The night before Boris launched the first bit of segregated cycle highway we did a bit of guerrilla marketing, laying down our details on the blue paint in a chalk-based spray paint. It meant that Foffa Bikes website appeared in plenty of media the next day. The council did complain, but the rain washed it all away the very next day, so no harm was done.”

That’s far from all, though. Without too much marketing spend, Foffa has managed to find its way into the Independent’s top ten best commuter bikes and top 50 bikes awards, has appeared on fashion website Vogue, The Evening Standard, The Guardian, The Financial Times, several high-profile technology and cycling websites and even appeared in the window of the Oxford Street Topman for a good chunk of time.

“The Topman arrangement worked very well for us. We filmed a promo video in the closed store too. That all came about as part of our custom corporate package, whereby, for a commitment of at least 50 bikes, we can completely customise a bike to a company’s needs, like we have done for Morgan Motors, ASOS and BlackRock to name a few. All they need do is get in touch to discuss and we will act as both a designer and agent between business and factory. Even retailers could have their own bike line.”

Foffa is set to launch a B2B website this summer, making it easier than ever to grow and manage a UK and Ireland dealer network. Stockists are listed on the label’s online portal, with customers directed to their nearest store where possible, adding to the appeal.

If you would like a chat about becoming a stockist, contact Dani on B2B@foffabikes.com.

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Clarification on original article: (Dani Foffa: “To be clear, Foffa has never enforced ‘price fixing’ to any of its resellers. Foffa has never discussed or agreed any retail prices with Wiggle and Wiggle has always been free to set the retail price it sells our product to its customers. Foffa was clumsily making the point that Wiggle is a good distribution outlet for the Foffa brand and that other retails should not consider Wiggle in a negative light. Wiggle has never discussed retail price setting with Foffa and any implication that it might have done so is erroneous, for which Foffa apologises.“)

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