En­tre­pre­neur’s lit­tle idea gets big re­sults

Bray People - - CHRISTMAS GREETINGS -

IT took just one ‘ light-bulb mo­ment’ for en­gi­neer-turned-bike-sales­man Si­mon Evans to come up with an in­ven­tion which would change his life.

Grey­stones man Si­mon left his job as a struc­tural en­gi­neer in 2008 to cy­cle around the world with his friend Fearghal O’Nual­lain.

He came back over a year later to eco­nomic cri­sis and lit­tle or no chance of se­cur­ing em­ploy­ment in his field.

So given his pas­sion for cy­cling, he started work­ing at Cy­cle Plus in Grey­stones. To­day that shop is stock­ing ‘Lit­tle Big Bikes.’

The three-in-one bi­cy­cle was even cy­cled across the stage at the Late Late Toy Show a few Fri­day nights ago.

Another re­ally good Ir­ish idea, the ‘Stira’ at­tic stairs, is still din­ing out on its Late Late Show en­dorse­ment of a cou­ple of decades ago!

The Lit­tle Big starts out as a pedal-less bal­ance bike which be­comes a big­ger bal­ance bike and a bike with ped­als and is ex­pected to last the child five years.

Lit­tle Big Bikes can be used by chil­dren aged from two to seven, and Si­mon has patent pend­ing on the idea.

The thought oc­curred to him through his work at Cy­cle Plus where he dis­cov­ered the bal­ance bike and dealt with par­ents and chil­dren.

His nephew also used his brother’s bal­ance bike, then adapted re­ally well to his own bi­cy­cle with­out sta­bilis­ers.

A struc­tural en­gi­neer with a pas­sion for bikes was pos­si­bly the only com­bi­na­tion of skills con­ducive to think­ing of this.

Si­mon came up with it two years ago, had his first work­ing pro­to­type a year ago.

Last Fri­day he was speak­ing to the Bray Peo­ple from the ware­house, hav­ing un­loaded a 40-foot con­tainer.

He’s off to a fly­ing start as th­ese are in the main part ful­fill­ing pre-sales. Si­mon was check­ing boxes to make sure all was in or­der.

His dad Pete is on board with the business in a mar­ket­ing ca­pac­ity, while Si­mon him­self had to get ed­u­cated in a new area – business.

‘I’ve done some train­ing cour­ses in­clud­ing the DIT Hot­house pro­gramme where I learned about fi­nance ac­count­ing, pit­falls to watch out for and more,’ said Si­mon.

One thing to tackle along the way was a pos­si­ble trade­mark is­sue. The orig­i­nal name of the prod­uct was Twist.

Rather than tack­ling the pos­si­ble le­gal ram­i­fi­ca­tions of keep­ing the name, Team Evans sim­ply came up with a bet­ter one, and got on with the job.

Si­mon is, and has been, work­ing ex­tremely hard in terms of man hours and at a cer­tain point in the project had to de­cide to com­pletely cut his hours at the bike shop and ded­i­cated him­self to this full-time.

‘I had to make the decision to jump in,’ he said, ex­plain­ing that the business needed more at­ten­tion and would not have worked with­out that level of com­mit­ment.

So for the sec­ond time in his life so far, Si­mon has risen the stakes and gone all in to em­bark on a life-chang­ing ad­ven­ture.

Si­mon Evans with his Lit­tleBig bike.

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