Boxer Cycles Designer Jeremy Davies Talks Cargo Trikes [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
The new British cargo trike company Boxer Cycles is re-imagining the styles and functions of more traditional bicycle designs.
We had the opportunity to interview the founder and the lead designer of Boxer Cycles, Jeremy Davies, on this week's The Scoop.
Bike riding is experiencing an upswing in popular interest in the UK. Jumping on the trend is company Boxer Cycles, a pioneer in the development of luxury cargo trikes.
Founder Jeremy Davies came across the idea for a cargo trike after concerns he had about transporting his young children safely by bike. The father of two now shares how his company came to be and how Boxer Cycles is differentiating itself from other bike companies in the industry.
Not only is it refreshing to highlight a brand that has a fresh product evolved from traditional design; it is inspiring to discover a company with a commitment to source only local materials and solely deliver hand-crafted products for consumers to enjoy.
We're excited to see what will come next for Davies and his team.
Read further for our exclusive interview with Jeremy Davies and check out the high-quality styles the company is currently offering!
MB: Where did Boxer Cycles begin? What was the 'sign' that propelled you to build a brand?
JD: I have always been someone who loves the combination of innovation and design. The idea to create a cargo trike was born out of a real problem getting myself, my two children and my dog to the beach three miles away in the summer months.
It was obviously too far for the kids to walk and parking a car there was just a nightmare — plus it didn't seem very 'green'. I looked at tow-behind bike trailers, but the thought of my precious children's heads being the first point of contact for a car ruled them out immediately.
So in 2009 I made my first cargo bike! Its front wheels tilted to make it faster on corners, but I soon realized that this compromised the load it could carry and that with a top speed of 15 mph it wasn't necessary. I built my final design, which had a huge box and four seats for children. On its maiden voyage to the park I took two orders, even though I wasn't planning on setting up a manufacturing company!
That was signal enough to me that there was a business in it.
MB: What inspires the brand? What continues to facilitate your growth as a creative cycle's brand?
JD: We just keep our eyes open at all times and think: what else can we get these things to do?
So with every model or accessory we release, we try to eliminate one more job that would normally be reserved for the car, for example, taking a child's bike to the park or taking a baby stroller to a shopping mall.
Personally, I am inspired very much by the designs of many of the early 20th century futurists, but I am also highly motivated by the satisfaction gained from riding one of our trikes and discovering it can do something that you wouldn't expect it to do. Then we build on that.
MB: How would you define your company culture?
JD: Wall to wall innovation mixed with classic design aesthetics. And perhaps pushing the boundaries a little hard sometimes — Howard Hughes style!
MB: Can you describe your work aesthetic? And how do you differentiate yourself amongst other brands?
JD: We are very much still in our infancy and operate a flexible approach to work: if the solution to a problem or a design element isn't forthcoming, go and have a swim or a ride and think about it away from the screen.
Similarly, most of our designs are initially mocked up in cardboard and plywood with the music up loud before we think about going to CAD models. This is a very rewarding experience for the team as we get to experiment with how it really looks in the flesh, and rapidly too.
I think this really gets the best ideas out of people and allows us to get balanced input from all team members. Everyone knows how to use scissors and tape!
MB: Where do you see Boxer Cycles in the future?
JD: We have many non-cargo trike ideas on the drawing board — we think that at least two of them will be design icons in their own right. However, we do run a business that needs to make money, so we have to carefully operate a cycle of research and development, launch and execute our business plan objectives. Then we can move onto the new project.
At this stage we are growing rapidly and we really have to focus our time on dealing with the 'ramp up'. Ultimately, we see ourselves as being one of the more recognizable cycle manufacturers. I can't really see us making anything conventional.
MB: What is something you would want people to know about your brand that they may not know yet?
JD: I think that most people look at our brand and naturally assume that the major elements of our trikes are just designed and assembled in the UK, rather than being completely hand-built here. Every bit of every trike is sourced locally, from laser-cut aluminum parts to hand-sew upholstery and trim.
This is very important to us as we wish to position ourselves globally as a luxury hand-built British goods brand.
MB: What has been the hardest wall block you've had to overcome? And how have you come out on the other side?
JD: I don't think we have overcome any of our wall blocks yet! We're working hard — as a UK manufacturer, it's very difficult to get the support needs to execute our plans with the right level of financial backing.
But we're resourceful. I think the Boxer staff and investment team are very impressed with what we have achieved in such a short space of time, especially knowing our competitors have been well backed and have had a far longer gestation period.
MB: What has been the greatest career advice you've ever been given and what would you offer to others?
JD: If you can't decide what you want to do, just get a well-paid, non-taxing trade that allows you to think about what you really want to do all day long. Then, with a fallback, you can spend money and time exploring everything your creative side urges you to do.