September 2, 2014
Perth, Western Australia to Munich, Germany is around 8,500 air miles (or around 13,500 kilometres) – a long way to go to be part of the biggest bike trade show in the world! It seems that travelling for our business is almost always going to be a long journey as we live in one of the world’s most isolated cities – discussions of our next trip to Las Vegas, USA in around two weeks are already occurring as the plane left the runway.
We were told getting a booth at Eurobike was no easy task and there is a waiting list of around 3-4 years. We applied but were told our application was two days late and we would have to try again next year. Our usual approach of never accepting ‘no’ paid off when a popular German website (Golem.de) posted a story about Fly6 and our Kickstarter campaign. We forwarded the post and appealed again to the organisers saying that our product was popular, even in Germany. We got an instant reply that they would accept an application from us with no guarantees! Eventually there was an opening and we were in!
The Eurobike trade show itself is enormous – over 12 great halls of around 2.5 acres each (around 1 hectare) in size with each one packed with exhibitors. We really had no idea the bicycle industry was so big! I would hazard a guess that if you set out to walk every isle in every hall, you could not see it all in the time the show is open. You really need to know what you are looking for, plan your day, get your running shoes on and go for it!
We had been allocated a spot in an annexure to one of the great halls. Not really the best spot but we were just happy to be there. The day we arrived in Munich, we drove the two hours to our accommodation (about an hour’s drive from the show), popped into a local bike shop to get some supplies (which is a story in itself), and went to see the progress of our stand. We were keen to see how our idea of design we came up with related in the flesh. We were impressed!
We had two large photos of cyclists with Fly6 and had bikes frame coming out of the wall in 3D where we would put our Fly6 samples. They looked great! We displayed logos of the many cycling clubs, teams, and charities we support.
The booth was nearly ready and we wanted to have a look around the place before it opened the following day. We feel like we saw about 10% of it and when it was getting dark, it was time to go.
The following day, we arrived with the thousands of other exhibitors and trade show visitors (loads of traffic in every direction). We met our lovely booth hostess Lena, explained our product, and what we were here to do.
Our job here was to meet distributors, have interviews with the worldwide media and spread the word about our mission to make the roads a safer place for everyone!
From our first meeting in the morning until the show closed for Day 1 we were flat out in meetings and explaining to the industry all about Fly6 and our mission. We hardly had time to look around but it was exciting nonetheless.
Days 2 & 3 were not much different, except we managed to get out and about a few times looking at the stands and meeting some of the other folks in the bike industry.
Notably we met the Aussie team at the Knog stand – these guys were great and took the time to give us the low down on Eurobike and the industry in general. From industry veterans and pioneers of cool bike lights, this kind of generous offering was great to see and much appreciated!
We also had a number of Kickstarter backers visit us with congratulations on delivering Fly6 to the back of their bikes! Many just said thanks and moved on and a few stopped for a chat when we were in between meetings. One such was Phil McAleese, inventor of See Sense (a smart tail light) with whom we have been sharing start up stories and learnings (and there are many).
In particular Laurent Rains who works at Monkeylectric (& Kickstarter backer) popped in to say hi, and dropped off a present to say ‘thanks’ for giving him some packaging advice we provided a few months earlier. Of all the stands we saw at Eurobike, Monkeylectric had the biggest crowd of 4-5 deep. An obvious hit!
One of our biggest fans was located very close to our stand and he seemed to already have a Fly6!
Day 4 was open to the public and the crowds poured in to look at the latest the industry had to offer. Busy showing off the features and functions of Fly6 while our promotion video showcased what Fly6 can do, kept us on our toes all day. Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and say goodbye to Lena and the people in booths around us we got to know during the show.
While driving back to our accommodation we reflected on the event and what it meant for Fly6.
We had met distributors from the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Ukraine, Slovenia, Spain, Greece, South Korea, Turkey and more; all very keen to sell Fly6 in their respective region or country.
We had also had many interviews with industry publications all wanting to showcase Fly6 and our prototype of the next generation Fly6 we had with us. Road.cc, Bike Rumour, Pez Cycling News, Eurobike Daily, and many more all got the low down on our product, our mission and our direction. Many were very impressed and most got to take away a Fly6 to review.
As far as we are concerned, it was very successful and we are already thinking about next year! Now we turn our thoughts of next week at Interbike in Las Vegas….