Why Franco Bikes Exists
Typically it goes like this:
“What do you do for a living?”
“I’m in the bicycle industry. I own a bike company, Franco Bicycles”.
“Ah cool, and what does Franco Bicycles do?”
“Well, we are a bicycle brand, specializing in built-to-order, high-end road and all-road bikes”.
That’s a fairly standard conversation when I meet someone new. My standard response does a solid job of communicating what we do. Lost in this answer however, is a deeper explanation of why we do what we do and why should anyone care.
Turns out that verbalizing why we choose our careers and why we have a passion for certain things, is really hard to do. That "why" that drives us all, is a force that moves us, whether consciously or subconsciously, and helps guide our decisions. Understanding that guiding force takes time. There's a lot of clutter to wade through in the meantime–emotions, aspirations, goals, some on point and others misguided, some temporary and others long-lasting. The list goes on and on. Yet, the only way to communicate it to anyone else is to first understand the "why" yourself.
As I've done quite a few times over the last 11 years, last summer I set out to answer some questions to help me figure it all out: What is Franco Bikes all about? What drives us as a company? Why do we, why do I, choose bikes and get up everyday, excited to get to work?
This journey, to figure out why Franco Bikes exists, has gone down a lot of paths before. There were definitely recurring themes. For a long time we thought it was because we love bikes, so it’s all about the bikes. But, we also love design, so it’s about great design. Yet, we also value the direct relationships our business model provides, so it could be about the relationships we’re building. Or is it about achievement and the sense of accomplishment that the bike provides? Maybe it's something else?
In the search for what we were all about, I kept ignoring what I was about. Not at the surface, but at a core level. I was looking at the question with the wrong lens. I was looking at it with the Franco lens, the lens of an organization, a company. I wasn’t looking at it with my personal lens, the lens of a person. A person that I know well. It was that shift that made all the difference. It was that swapping out of a lens that helped me find my why and, ultimately, Franco’s reason for being.
In hindsight, the dots always seem to connect. From drawing as a kid to taking art seriously in high school, drawing was a big part of my life. I went to an art and design school, which led me to industrial design and the start of my product development career. I went from working at a brand and design consultancy to starting my own consultancy after working with many extremely talented creators across many disciplines. It was during that time, that I joined my cousin in starting a company with a business model focused on building a custom creation with every bike we delivered, in an industry powered by the passion of creators. It's crazy how things work out.
It’s clear creating has always been part of my life. It’s something that drives me. I’m moved by people that create. To take an idea and make it into something (i.e. a product, an experience, a movement) and to risk the failure, but still push forward, that's the mindset and those are the people that inspire me to create. It is creating that is supremely fulfilling. Creating something that is of service to someone, something that brings delight, something that brings joy to others and, ultimately, to myself. It’s that fulfillment that is worth any of the challenges that arise on this path.
So now, when someone asks me what I do for a living, my answer is clear:
At Franco Bicycles, we are inspired by the creator's spark that exists in all of us. We believe that mindset pushes society forward. It’s with that inspiration in mind that we endeavor to do our part by creating products and experiences that bring joy and fulfillment on two wheels.
We documented this and a lot more in our first brand book. If you find yourself with some free time, give it a look. We hope it gives you a better understanding of why we do what we do: Franco Bicycles Brand Book 2018 / Creators are Heroes
Written By: Hector Rodriguez