Opening a pop-up shop proved a game changer for Fixation London, helping establish the brand and changing how it did business...

How bricks and mortar helped establish Fixation London

It’s often said that bricks and mortar shops have a hugely important role to play in establishing a brand in the first place, and Fixation London is a fresh-faced fixie bike brand that has exemplified that phenomenon in a short space of time.

It was just over a year ago that Fixation set itself up as an online-only fixed bike label.

“We launched our brand in December 2014, originally looking to be an online only urban cycling company,” Fixation founder Alex Bodini explains to BikeBiz. “Things were going very well online but to make it a bigger brand we opened up our pop-up shop in Seven Dials, Covent Garden in May 2015 and ran it for six months. It was overall a massive success, we sold a lot of bikes, we learnt a lot and met a lot of people.”

The shop’s impact on the Fixation business saw it shift the way it was reaching the end consumer, Bodini explains: “It allowed us to grow a brand profile and large social media following. We are growing as a company now and are looking forward to shifting from B2C to a B2B focus now that we have a platform to work from.”

“It changed everything for us. We learnt a lot in the process and it took us from being nothing to being at least a ‘thing’ in a fairly saturated segment of the market.”

Now Fixation London has a new range and is looking for stockists.

The urban range has steel framed single speed/fixie bikes, for the time being, with prices starting from £325 and topping out at £450. “We have eight different colour combinations, ladies step through frames and recently launched the ‘Mixie’ (mini fixie) which is good fun to ride.”

Fixation is split across two ranges: Classic and Deluxe, the former being the entry level bike. The Deluxe has upgrade componentry from big names like Maxxis tyres and Shimano chain. The frames are built in Hi-Ten Steel and come in at around the 12kg mark “strong and sturdy but lightweight and nimble enough to zip through town and carry up stairs”. The bikes are named after London areas.

In the aforementioned crowded market, Fixation has a fairly unique feature to help carve itself out some space: “All our bikes come with the Fixation London stem clock which add a touch of class and always make people smile!” So popular are the clocks that they are actually sold separately (as well as a range of other gifts including a leather wine holder).

Fixation’s bikes are all made in Taiwan and UK assembled: “We are trying very hard to distance ourselves from the cheap Chinese fixies,” Bodini says. “There is a lot of them around and they are full of all sorts of problems. We know we have a great product that stands up really well compared to similar priced bikes. We have invested in the bits that matter (bottom bracket, hubs, tyres etc) as we know that you can’t survive if you start to build a bad reputation!”

Now a second large set of stock has been taken on and Fixation London is looking for shops in the capital and UK to take them on.

“We are well aware that we are better suited to cities. We have proved very popular in the major student cities – Cambridge, Manchester, Bristol.”

The fixie market was making the headlines a few years ago, but is the sector still doing business? “It is an interesting one,” Bodini admits. “We know that they may seem a bit of a fad and that perhaps has faded, however due to the simple nature of single speeds we really feel like the market has a lot of potential for growth.

“There are so many more single speeds out on the roads compared to last year and I think that is because they are so simple – no maintenance, no worrying about what gear you are in and all-round ‘no fuss’. As a way to get to work, to the shops or even to the pub you just can’t go wrong and for that general hop on/hop off use I think the market will continue to grow.

“We were surprised by the types of people who have bought our bikes in the end – we expected lots of youngsters to be buying them, but in fact we sold loads to the ‘second bike’ market – like those with a lovely road bike who don’t want to use it on city centre roads so they pick up a no-nonsense Fixation bike!”

Following its pop-up shop experiment, Fixation now has a showroom (visited by appointment) in Putney, South West London. The brand backs cycle charities, including Re-Cycle – which ships old unwanted bikes from the UK to Africa.

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