words :: Ben Osborne
Imagine you’ve just cleaned out your savings account for your first carbon mountain bike. What will you do— leave it as is, or spend a bit extra to feel comfortable with riding your investment as hard as you can? We’d recommend the latter. Conceptualized and brought to life by a young duo out of the bike mecca of Whistler, BC, RideWrap is a piece of bike tech you don’t want to miss out on.
For more on what the brand is all about and how it all works, check out our Q & A below with one half of the RideWrap duo, Dan Seguin. —ML
First off, who started the RideWrap movement?
Well there’s Callum and I. Callum is UK born and raised, in Bury, North Manchester. He came to Whistler with his girlfriend for a two-month vacation in 2016; in a classic turn of events, he’s still here.
In another classic tale, I am originally from Ontario. I grew up around mountains, or well I should say hills. We are a big ski family and travelled all around the world to ride. It was exciting, but we always returned to the flats of Ottawa. After completing my engineering degree I embarked on ‘retirement number 1’ and moved to Whistler for a winter season after a period surf bumming around Ecuadorian beaches. Of course I was hooked and moved to BC permanently thereafter.
Callum and I both have history in business ventures. At 21 Callum was running his own vehicle body repair; I launched a small landscape & construction business at 16 that’s still operating and growing to this day.
So I’m assuming you guys like riding bikes…or you just knew that bikers were obsessed with their rides? And the rest of the employees?
Rider owned and operated. We’ve both been engaged in adrenaline sports, myself snowboarding and wakeskating while Callum was on Enduro ICE bikes. We had each done some biking; settling permanently into BC we got significantly hooked on mountain biking. How could you not?
“Looking for an off-the-shelf protection solution he came up short. So he pulled out his scissors, bought some film, and painstakingly created the first RideWrap Tailored Protection™ kit…”
Most of the staff here are also riders, not that it is mandatory, but when you work with a product that is made specifically for bikes it certainly helps to understand how a bike is built and the different options out there, so riders tend to be a good fit and enjoy the Wednesday ‘party-shirt’ rides.
It’s fun, we’ve got a ton of different characters and opinions on the team. No two bikes are alike and we have fun checking out and debating new components and designs that come through the shop. Even more polarizing are the debates around trails, haha.
Tell me about how Ridewrap was ideated—was it an “aha!” Moment?
Callum has the kudos on inception, although I’m not sure it was as much an ‘aha’ moment as much as hard work and tenacity. With a background in vehicle paint, it was natural for him to strip down the frame of his Specialized Demo and give it a fresh coat.
After the booth time, he wanted to keep it looking fresh while he bashed through Whistler Bike Park. Looking for an off-the-shelf protection solution he came up short. So he pulled out his scissors, bought some film, and painstakingly created the first RideWrap Tailored Protection™ kit. It got some attention within his crew and he started to do some more kits as an after-work activity, off it went. As a business RideWrap first registered in December 2016.
How has the company grown from day one to now?
RideWrap is a drastically different company from December 2016 and a ton of people have helped us get to this point.
At the beginning RideWrap was entirely a serviced based offering; this means that to purchase RideWrap, you had to bring us your bike and leave it for a few days. We’d measure your bike by hand, design and then cut pieces by hand before putting them on your bike; a totally analog system.
Callum and I teamed up and decided that if this was going to be ‘something’ we needed to make the switch to a product-based model. While we would maintain our base here in Whistler, our goal is to offer high-quality protection to riders across the globe. We embarked on this huge project which meant throwing everything out the window and spawning a brand new path. We developed our technology for the design side and the infrastructure/brand around RideWrap the product business; a totally digital system. After endless 2am nights in Callum’s living room, we launched our protection kit lineup on October 31, 2018.
Today the team is forging ahead on new designs and products while daily we are making our products, on-demand, in Canada, New Zealand, and Sweden to serve customers globally.
We were fairly content working in Whistler’s most luxurious bathroom until a customer walked in on someone in that famous corner; we quickly upgraded the space by way of a Japanese curtain to create a little bit of privacy.
One of my favourite anecdotes about how we’ve grown is that of our ‘shop’ evolution. As all great startups, we began by taking over Callum’s living room (thanks, Loren). This meant plastic wrap on the carpet, the dining room table as a messy desk, bikes dropped off at every hour of the day/night then stored in literally every corner of the house, and an incredibly inconveniently placed lamp that our first hire Simon hit his head on hourly.
Quickly realizing the living room was getting out of hand we embarked to find a small commercial space to call home. With a small budget I ended up landing on some ‘warehouse’ space that we figured could be converted for use with a little elbow grease. Now when I say ‘warehouse’ what I mean is essentially a giant bathroom as it was 1200 sqft with a toilet in the corner; Miraculously, Simon found this to be an upgrade and kept showing up to work.
We were fairly content working in Whistler’s most luxurious bathroom until a customer walked in on someone in that famous corner; we quickly upgraded the space by way of a Japanese curtain to create a little bit of privacy. It took about a year, a lot of municipality time, and a ton of helping hands (thanks to literally everyone) to bring it to a place that matched our pride in the business.
More recently, two years after moving into our first shop, we’ve outgrown that space and have just moved into what we dub, alongside Bezos, HQ2. The team is targeting to beat our record in outgrowing space in the upcoming years.
What were some unexpected challenges? The business side, technical difficulties, or both?
Haha, there are challenges every day! Holistically, my belief is that building and growing business is a collection of problem-solving.
Initially, the technological challenge was huge. We set ourselves to some pretty insane benchmarks of what we were trying to achieve with our designs and overall quality. As I put together our technology-integrated design process, a key piece in bringing our Tailored Protection to the masses, there were more than a few dead ends hit. It’s not necessarily unexpected, product development is very iterative, but it will grind on you and of course it took longer to nail than initially estimated (classic). Callum and I are very particular, and we did not want to release something until we were stoked with it, period. That comes at the expense of time, which also puts pressure on your lack of a bank account.
Another one that comes to mind is the organization of our ‘on-demand’ production model. We are different from most companies in that when our customers order products globally, we make them specifically for them at facilities located in Canada, New Zealand, and Sweden. With the goal of shipping this on-demand product within 1 business day there has been a ton of thought and organization into designing the process from supply-chain through to that final seal.
We are extremely fortunate to have great customers as well as a great team and production partners; which we’d love to thank as we couldn’t have gotten to this point without them.
What does the future look like for RideWrap? Any thoughts on that, or just living in the moment currently?
The overwhelming consensus among the team can simply be summed up as “just getting started”. We have been building our solid foundation for RideWrap over the past couple of years; Setting up the team, production facilities, and building the market. We are priming the engine to bring the best bike protection to riders across the world. **Of course, we’ll have some fun and drink beers the whole way along!