INDEPENDENT Scottish manufacturer Shand Cycles is looking to more than double production of its hand-made bike frames within the next three years as part of a broader push to expand the business.
The Livingston firm is working with Sir Chris Hoy to develop a flagship model for the seven-time Olympic medallist, and has delivered two prototypes so far. Founder Steven Shand has also commissioned a Scottish fashion designer to help develop a line of branded clothing and accessories to sell alongside the company’s bikes, which cost between £2,500 and £4,000.
“We are hoping to launch that in the first quarter of next year,” Shand said. “Clothing will never be a huge deal for us in terms of revenue, but it is about growing the brand in that people can buy into what we do without spending thousands of pounds.”
The firm has hired a couple of extra people to go to six full-time staff after winning a £48,000 Edge award in July. Supported by the Scottish Government, the Edge fund is open to young companies with the potential to achieve or increase sales by £400,000.
Shand currently makes about 200 bikes per year, most of which are sold in the UK. This includes the bespoke bikes that its founder began making in 2003, and the more recent addition of production bikes such as the Stoater.
The company aims to be making 450 bikes annually by 2016, taking sales to a projected £670,000.
After years of building bikes part-time around his job as a computer programmer, Shand partnered with Russell Stout to set up the business in 2011. They operate from a workshop at Houston Industrial Estate, and produce three main models that can be further customised on request.
The strategy from the outset has been to produce a small number of high-quality bikes, rather than opting for mass production in Asia. This makes it one of the few cycle manufacturers in the UK, where much of the industry died out in the early 1980s.
“There is a bit of a renaissance in bicycles in general – it is a good sector to be in,” Shand said. “Our customers really care about provenance.
“At the end of the day, they want more back than just the product. When they buy from us, it is a very personal sort of process.”
The Hoy bikes include a steel Japanese Keirin model for the track, a departure for Shand which specialises in road machines. Hoy was heavily involved in its design, said Shand. “He is quite obsessive about the details of what makes a bike work. It has been a good process, working with him.”