Entrepreneur’s little idea gets big results
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.