Queenstown, New Zealand
Four NZ companies have decided the time is right for Kiwi MTB brands to take on the world and they’ve formed a rare alliance to achieve their goal.
It started as an informal think tank for the owners of Kids Ride Shotgun, Mons Royale, Aeroe and earSHOTS – regular online catch-ups to share experiences and ideas between businesses with similar ambitions for a strong global presence.
When their discussions turned to marketing, things quickly materialised into a joint promotional activity to coincide with the Queenstown Bike Festival in February 2022.
They will use the timing of the festival as a platform for a series of activities to promote themselves within the industry and further hone their business and growth strategies.
That includes subjecting themselves to a baptism of fire, as all four pitch their business plans to a panel of NZ business entrepreneurs who already enjoy international success.
“They are business people succeeding globally in other sectors but have a strong connection to mountain biking and, therefore, are interested in helping us out,” Kids Ride Shotgun co-founder and owner Dan Necklan said.
“It will be pretty nerve racking putting our companies out there for scrutiny but also exciting and valuable for our ambitions.
“There are many NZ companies making a name for themselves on the world stage, including road cycling brands, but not so much with MTB brands even though it’s a huge sport here.”
As part of their plans to pioneer a greater global presence for the NZ MTB industry, the four will hold press events at the festival to share how they have been working together – with hopes it might inspire others to come along for the ride.
United by Technology and Ambitions
The four companies are scattered all over NZ and started regular Zoom calls back in March.
“All four businesses have similar challenges but we each bring a different lens to look at those challenges and the opportunities,” he said.
“There are a lot of NZ brands selling in this country and Australia but we are all focused on succeeding further afield. Given the focuses of our companies, we have massive opportunities to change a whole lot of lives by getting kids and families on bikes and into nature.
“This is about sharing and helping each other because it can be pretty lonely when you are trying to grow your business.
“We also have very different products, so we’re not competing with each other for business.”
Mons Royale, the largest of the quartet and the first to be established, produces action and adventure sports apparel using natural fibres, including an emphasis on merino wool and designs more often seen on the street than outdoor apparel.
Aeroe designs and manufactures bike racks and carriers, providing easy options to carry a wide array of gear on any bike, “so you can use your bike for more things, more often”.
earSHOTS has developed wireless earphones with a patented magnetic ear clip, dubbed Shocklock, to overcome the frustrations of earphones falling out or dislodging while riding or running.
Kids Ride Shotgun have developed front-mounted bike seats so kids aged two to five and their families can hit more trails together.
Dan said Kids Ride Shotgun already did the vast majority of its business overseas, primarily in Europe and North America. However, there is great potential to expand much more into overseas markets.
He said the ongoing boom in e-commerce and the brands’ growing relationships with retailers were quickly overcoming the challenges created by NZ’s geographical isolation.
“So why would you just focus on NZ when you can now look at global markets,” Dan said.
“And for companies for an MTB focus, the sport is entering a new era, as the people who grew up with mountain biking in the 1980s and 1990s are having children and introducing their kids to the sport.
“We’ve got the second generation of mountain bikers getting into the sport and expanding the market in NZ and around the world.”
“The four of us are really looking forward to finally meeting in person at the festival and hitting the trails together.
“It’s likely this joint promotion will become an annual thing, to maintain our momentum and potentially bring in other brands.”