Newly-launched factory to consumer direct brand Thesis has expanded upon its earlier pledge to partner the industry for ‘last mile’ servicing.
Though at present only shipping one, albeit highly versatile and customisable bike, the consumer direct firm will offer up partnerships with bike shops, fitters and local mechanics as part of the sale process.
“Local bicycle professionals are getting the short end of the stick,” starts founder Randall Jacobs. “That was the conclusion of an extensive study done in 2013. Many shops close each year, and of those that remain, many are struggling. All the while, bicycle mechanics remain some of the lowest paid skilled workers in our economy. I find this heartbreaking and unacceptable.”
This, says Jacobs, is in large part down to a traditional model that doesn’t prioritise the shop’s needs on margins and inventory requirements.
“A large brand will come in, force the shop to carry its entire line of inventory (even if it’s not relevant to their market), and switch the model years halfway through the buying season. If you don’t sell through everything, you end up forced to offer heavy discounts. If you can’t afford to pay right away, they make you take on debt. On top of all that, it’s the shop is paying for square footage and employee salaries and utility bills — not the brand,” said Jacobs, who adds that shops are essentially “free warehouses in disguise.”
With this in mind, Thesis will offer partners three methods to earn alongside his brand; discovery and experience, frame build-up and fit partnership.
The first of the three will introduce customers to a physical demo bike through the shop with payment made for that process. A 10% commission fee for referrals is teed up, meaning the shop stands to make between $300 to $450, without the need to hold stock.
In this instance, demo bikes are sold at cost, so the shop can latterly make a margin on the sell on.
With the OB1 shipped 80% unassembled, a mechanic’s know how at the destination is crucial. With that in mind, Thesis is offering certified local partners the opportunity to undertake the construction and safety check.
“Ironically, after you factor in all the expenses, the factory assembly process costs a customer more in the end than a frame-up build,” says Jacobs, who says that he’d rather pay local skilled workers to undertake the work.
The referral, therefore, works both ways. Thesis will refer customers to local partners, encouraging a professional build and a fit. Partners are to be listed on the brand’s site.
Finally, a professional bike fit completed locally prior to shipping is another method by which studios can earn.
As an incentive for shops to get in touch, Jacobs’ firm will offer partners who sign up before October 10th double commission on all sales through to March 1st, 2019.
Customers will pay the same retail price regardless of how they buy, concludes Jacobs.
To register interest shops are invited to get in touch here.