The Five minutes with series presents a company with five short, sharp and to-the-point questions about who they are and what they do. This week, we’re joined by Kiddimoto founder Simon Booth.
Can you tell us the history of the company?
I started Kiddimoto in 2003 when I saw a very simple balance bike made up of two planks of wood with wheels and immediately felt excited about the concept's potential.
To make it more fun and appealing, I decided to make one to look like a motorbike and Kiddimoto was born. I started building the bikes in my home workshop and we initially sold to motorbike dealerships. As a result of this we started to get interest from some of the big motorbike brands such as Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha amongst others. Soon the orders from these brands started coming in in their thousands and my home workshop was quickly outgrown.
In 2011, I appeared on Dragons Den with Kiddimoto and received an offer from two of the dragons and while the deal eventually didn't go through, the publicity certainly helped us gain interest from a number of high street stores and so the retail network started to grow too. Since then Kiddimoto has developed into this global operation that we see today trading in over 50 countries worldwide, with a broad range of products and a fantastic team driving the Kiddimoto brand and message.
Our range now includes our BMX and MTB ranges as well as accessories to match the bikes such as helmets, gloves, bells, horns and backpacks. Something I am very proud of is meeting Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 when we were presented with the Queens award for enterprise. I had big ambitions back when I started, but I did not think a balance bike could get me to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen!
What are you ultimately trying to achieve?
Aside from world domination you mean? Our vision is pretty simple - to be the internationally recognised brand for the best children's bikes and accessories on the market. We are an innovator and our focus is squarely on quality products at good prices.
What gives you an edge over other companies in the industry?
Being the UK's original balance bike company has given us the experience to be a strong leader in this market. The knowledge gained in the past 15 years has been priceless for knowing how to add further value to our range and foreseeing where the market is going next. We are totally focused on bikes and kit for children and design everything around little people. Therefore they are totally fit for purpose. A lot of other companies in the industry are focused on adults and simply shrink their bikes, which then have inherent flaws in scale and geometry. Not so with Kiddimoto!
What innovations in the industry are exciting you at the moment?
I am finding the ever-expanding e-bike market very interesting. We will be keeping a close eye on it as the technology drip feeds down into children's bikes. This will open up opportunities for children who are unable to use a generic bicycle, allowing them the same cycling experiences as others. It is also interesting to see the use of different materials. We thought it would be exciting to make a carbon balance bike. As a result, we have created the world’s lightest bicycle frame, weighing in at 240 grams and it looks amazing!
What does the future hold for the company?
More innovation, more cool bikes and more fun! Watch this space.