This month, we introduce BikeBiz Innovation from a Newcomer nominee Feva and its innovative Star Seat
Can you give us a little background on Feva and its Star Seat?
Feva Star Seat is a front-mounted child bike seat made from high-density foam. It’s sturdy and lightweight in design, soft to avoid damaging the bike frame, with quick, easy, tool-free installation. The forward riding position offers enough clearance to avoid impeding riding style and position for the adult, yet close enough to facilitate enhanced communication and interaction with the child.
It received a 9/10 review in MBR magazine and has been nominated for the 2019 BikeBiz ‘Innovation from a Newcomer’ award. The nomination is an accolade in itself, however, we were truly excited about the prospect of winning this award, and humbled to be up against such strong and exciting competition in the category. Even though we weren’t successful, we have every confidence in this product and can’t wait to spread it further across the UK and Europe.
How and when did the idea come about?
The concept was initially conceived through the manufacture of promotional products and beach footwear.
A clear gap in the child bike seat market was identified for a product that would offer an affordable and safe alternative to rear-mounted seats, while also providing a positive introduction to cycling for children aged from 18 months.
Through detailed research, careful design and thorough product testing, the Feva Star Seat was born.
What is your current distribution model and how might this change in the future?
Our ultimate intention is to supply this seat to IBDs and retailers across the UK and in Europe, and we already have the wheels in motion for further expansion into new markets – internationally as well.
It might sound a little unconventional, but in order to help product sales for the IBDs, we have initially adopted a direct model to launch the product, establishing the RRP, developing an online presence and creating brand awareness, both in the shops and out on the trails.
Once the product is established, we will look to move into the trade channels, and we want this transition to be organic.
As word spreads and demand for the Feva Star Seat develops, we will be approaching the independent retailers with fantastic offers, great margins, and marketing support to help spread the word of this fantastic kid’s bike seat.
Our mission is to encourage cycling for adults and children, while also supporting the cycle industry with a new, unique and innovative product.
What has the reaction been since entering the market, in the UK and elsewhere?
Purely positive! We regularly hear from happy customers who have been approached by others while on their bike rides, and being asked about the seat and where they can get one.
Our customers are our brand ambassadors and we are forever grateful for their enthusiasm around the product and helping us on our journey. Sales growth has been strong. We had reserved forecasts for initial figures, however, they have been blown out of the water and more stock is already on its way to refill the warehouse and support our attendance at various events this year.
How does your product differ to what is already out there?
There are currently three ways to cycle with a child. Ideally, they will be on their own bike eventually, but until that point, the options are essentially a trailer/tag-along, a rear-mounted seat or a front-mounted seat. Trailers are bulky, heavy (around 9kg) and can limit where the bike ride can take place – narrow trails cannot accommodate the width of the trailer.
Rear-mounted seats impede communication between the adult and child and cause instability of the bike, which can make it difficult to mount the child on the seat. They also make it difficult for the adult to lift their leg over the bike in order to get on.
While other forward-mounted seats are available, the Feva Star Seat is the lightest on the market at just 898g and offers the child full forward vision, stimulating an immersive and exciting riding experience without breaking the bank. Installation is quick and easy, requiring no tools, and without the need for brackets or adjustment of the saddle/handlebars and, as it is made from soft EVA foam, it also eliminates the risk of damage to the bike during installation.
Safety straps over the lap and behind the legs offer confidence to the child, while the carefully designed platform-style saddle helps them gain stability while learning to balance. The jockey position has been researched and designed to work with the foam material and absorb shocks from impacts, compared to the seated position in a chair design, where impacts are absorbed directly into the spine/back/lumbar regions, increasing the risk of injury and making them unsuitable for off-road cycling. Forward-mounted seats also offer added stability should the need arise to dismount and push the bike, even on inclines. In this situation, rear seats can cause imbalance and increased risk of tipping.
What are your plans for 2020 and beyond?
2019 has been a challenging year for the ‘Two Titans’ Malverns Classic and Ard Rock festivals, which suffered cancellation due to freak weather this summer. We send our best wishes to Oli, Si, Alex and Joe and their respective teams and are very much looking forward to attending the events with Feva Star Seat in 2020.
We are just getting started on this journey in the UK and in Europe, and we have much excitement for the next 12 months and the opportunities available to us. We are looking forward to the Christmas period as we think the Star Seat will be a popular gift item. We have more products in the pipeline which are really exciting and will appeal to all riders.