BikeBiz catches up with Mike Douglass, co-founder of Little Rider – a kids brand aimed at ages one to eight
Can you give us a little background on the Little Rider brand?
Our brand is the only dedicated bike gear company that makes high quality and designed focused products for Little Riders (aged one to eight) across the world, with a focus on style, safety and sizing; all whilst being influenced by the mountain bike, BMX and moto scenes that the parents dig!
We are a family-based brand, born out of the frustration of a lack of high-quality jerseys and clothing in the market for young children. Our core range is jerseys with an apparel range for the entire two-wheel crazy family. We also have in development technical pants, gloves and safety gear for young kids.
For children, we want to encourage them to be active at an early age, happy and creative on two wheels. For parents, we want to provide products designed specifically for ‘Little Riders’ with a focus on fit and quality to encourage children to get more involved with two-wheel sports so they can ride with the family.
What is your vision for the brand?
Our vision is to positively influence 100,000+ little riders across the world! We want to do that by building a Little Rider army of young children and their families that all love to ride. Through our brand, we want little riders to be able to start younger, be safer and look like a pro.
Where is the majority of your business made?
Our priority right now is the UK market and ensuring we deliver quality products to the Little Rider community here. However, we are getting a lot of international interest and either dealing direct or via small partners across the world. We have kids rocking Little Rider jerseys in the UK, USA, Europe, Canada, Russia, China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Australia to name a few.
Do you believe being a family-founded brand gives you an edge?
Massively! Our son Harrison was the inspiration for Little Rider and when we are talking to our community, they all have the same passion for their children, bikes and ensuring they have the best. The larger brands dabble in our space but often don’t get it right on the designs or fit because their focus is the mass markets, like the older kids or adults.
What do you offer that other kids bike specialists perhaps do not?
There are a lot of great kids bike brands out there, but the majority are bike manufacturers. Some of them have extended their range into technical clothing or safety but when they do, because it’s not their focus, they don’t get it 100% on design, fit or the safety factor. We have flipped our focus for our mission. We don’t want to provide bikes (there’s a lot of great ones out there). We want to add value to the riding experience through gear that is designed and made with the Little Rider in mind from day one. A lot of other brands focus the design on traditional kids styles, where we have moved our brand style to designs the parents would want to wear that the little riders also love!
What has the reaction to the product been like so far?
The reaction to the Little Rider brand and products has been amazing! From the off, we have had positive feedback from everyone that has got their hands on a product. With the focus being on young kids and leading with style, safety and sizing, our main jersey range delivered in all of these categories so we had great referrals from the start. It’s still early, but several magazines and blogs have reviewed the jerseys and we have had a lot of positive vibes back. With our core end-user being kids aged one to eight, we have had a lot of interest from the US and Asia as they have large balance bike communities.
What are your plans for 2020 and beyond?
Later this year we are looking to release our technical pants and gloves for ages two to eight. Our plans for 2020+ are to expand into a full safety gear offering around the Little Rider brand for our core age group. This will include arm and leg armour. This is another area where parents struggle to find quality products that fit their little riders properly. I’ve seen a lot of parents put knee pads onto kids elbows for a better fit. With the popularity of balance bikes and kids starting to ride from a younger age, the need for us to keep our little riders safe increases! We are currently mapping out plans for partnerships, distributors and events but definitely interested in collaborating with other brands that don’t currently offer our product category. Our first major event will be the Cycle Show in September so we’re looking forward to meeting more little rider families and getting feedback.