Four years ago, Chris Parr decided to start PRO BIKE TOOL, based on a dream to do something ‘more’ and achieve something ‘different’. Today, PRO BIKE TOOL has sold over 450,000 bike tools & accessories.
PRO BIKE TOOL doesn’t operate from a London office or huge warehouse. The husband and wife team – Chris and Nicole – work from home, and operate a big business that keeps grounded and honest while continuing to push for development and expansion.
Since PRO BIKE TOOL’s formation in 2015 when Chris decided it was time to forge something of his own, having developed a portfolio of skills from a career in retail and e-commerce, the brand has grown from selling one product in the USA to selling 30 products around the world.
A keen runner and cyclist, Chris knew that he wanted to work in something he felt passionate about, and the sports industry was an obvious choice. During a period where the cycling industry was growing and e-commerce was on the exponential rise, Chris took inspiration from direct-to-consumer brands such as bicycle manufacturer and retailer Canyon. He took the plunge and started selling bike tools directly via Amazon from a makeshift office on the kitchen table.
The fact that the first bike tool, a mini bike pump with in-line gauge, became number two on Amazon within a fortnight of its launch, was a sign of things to come. Perfectly encapsulating Chris’ desire to sell quality, innovative tools for the jersey pocket or home workshop, all at a better value than the competition. The product was one of very few on the Amazon marketplace to include a pressure gauge within the hose of the pump.
As the business rapidly grew, Nicole left her career in commercial relationship management in the airline industry to join Chris, bringing a suite of analytical and organisational skills to complement her husband’s expertise in sales, marketing, and e-commerce. With that, the kitchen table operations were moved to a purpose-built office within the Parr’s family home.
FROM THE VERY START, THE BUSINESS WAS FOCUSSED ON THE CUSTOMER.
“So many cycling brands were putting the product first, and very few were customer-led,” Chris explains. “We prioritised our customer’s experience, from purchase to use of the tool, and focussed on building a brand as well as tactical use of social media, which was something our competitors were missing,”
PRO BIKE TOOL PRIDE THEMSELVES ON THEIR SERVICE, AND IT COMES FROM A NATURAL DESIRE, NOT A FORCED STRATEGY.
“Both our backgrounds were really focussed on taking care of the customer, and that has continued into PRO BIKE TOOL’s ethos; It just feels natural to us, that’s who we are; we don’t force it,” says Nicole.
As with any small business, PRO BIKE TOOL has been through some serious ups and downs on their path to being one of the leading bike tool sellers on Amazon. However, the three things that Chris makes central to his approach to leading the business – resilience, careful planning, and a focus on progression – have kept the ball rolling.
With that desire to keep moving forward and not rest on their laurels, the Parrs are focussing on both improving their current product offering and launching more tools, something made possible by strong relationships with suppliers and great customer input. And work is always ongoing within the business to improve what PRO BIKE TOOL can offer to the consumer, with Chris and Nicole looking to building the team, optimising a lot of their processes and systems to become more efficient and effective.
With the long-term goal of becoming one of the leading global manufacturers and sellers of bike tools, and possibly other related products, there’s no limit to the Parr’s ambition. However, you can be sure that their mission of providing quality, affordable tools for everyday bike riders won’t be impacted. The innate focus on the customer experience and determination to stay humble rules the Parr’s operations, and it won’t be changing any time soon.
Four years ago, Chris Parr wanted to provide products that enabled cyclists’ adventures. His adventure from solo entrepreneur to thriving business owner is only just beginning, and its looking set to finish somewhere pretty special.