Tell us a bit about Otagocyclesport:
I started Otagocyclesport in January 2003. It seemed to me that people who were successful in business and were enjoying their working lives were either very passionate about their sector, or very knowledgeable about it, or both.
I moved into a sector which I had a passion for, but at the start there was no clear definition of where the business would actually go. It took me several months before securing Stella Azzurra as my first brand in 2003 and several more months to persuade a number of dealers to trust me and stock its components.
Of those first dealers who agreed to work with me, all of them have remained regular customers and many I consider friends, as well.
I have now been trading for eight years and I’ve grown the business steadily at a rate of adding one brand per year, as I now have seven brands on board.
Why did you move into distribution?
I wanted to work with small niche brands and manufacturers and concentrate on supplying specialist dealers. I saw a gap in the market to work with smaller brands that had limited exposure to the UK market, or who were previously under-represented and to supply these brands to the specialist dealers who would appreciate the opportunity to offer something different to their customers.
How many staff do you employ and are many cyclists themselves?
I handle the day-to-day running of the business myself and call upon the support of my partner Francesca (who has experience of working in the bike trade in Italy) to help with seeking to run things more efficiently and to act as a sounding board for new ideas.
Are you looking to expand your product offering in the future?
I am currently looking for at least one new brand for this year. I’ll probably have decided before Eurobike and Las Vegas, and it will be another niche brand to complement what I already suppply.
You’re seeking dealers for various brands, what opportunities are available and where?
I am always open to discussing opportunities with potential dealers who share my passion for niche product offerings and who are keen to support my particular desire to bring different brands to the market. Because my focus is heavily skewed towards components and not complete bikes, it is rare that geographical reasons come into play when deciding to work with a new dealer. The ethos of the shop itself is more important to me.
Do you intend to remain loosely tied to the road cycling sector, or will you diversify?
Road and cyclocross-friendly components dominate the Otagocyclesport product portfolio and this is undoubtedly down to my passion and knowledge about the road sector.
It is not through any lack of enthusiasm towards mountain biking, which stops me focusing more on that sector (I’ve been mountainbiking for over twenty years now), but more a realism that my knowledge and my ability to understand the road cycling market is where one of my main strengths lies.
TEL: 07939 543016