Denton businessman Aaron Powell has always felt a connection to riding bicycles, but an even stronger bond to his kids.
On a trip to Europe with his wife and 3-year-old daughter, Powell discovered his next business. Riding around in Sweden and Denmark on eco-friendly bicycles that had a cargo box for his daughter to sit up front.
“I just wanted to buy one for myself when I got back home,” Powell said.
“I found that no one was really doing this and I figured, why not me?”
Upon his return, Powell was disappointed to find that these bikes didn’t exist outside of a small group of niche producers who were building the bikes out of garages.
This sparked a career change for him.
“I found that no one was really doing this and I figured, why not me? At the very least I will get a bike out of it,” Powell said.
DENTON RESIDENT TRANSITIONS FROM JEWELRY TO CARGO BICYCLES
He had been running a small jewelry business that “paid the bills,” but sold it off to develop his Urban Tribe Cargo Bicycles company.
With the experience from his previous online business, he was able to sell most of his bikes through Instagram. His first shipment last year sold out, all except five, just in pre-orders.
“It grew very organically because a lot of people were just like me,” Powell said. “They had seen the bike in another country and couldn’t find it here. That is where a lot of our business came from.”
Almost every Denton publication has covered Powell’s cargo bicycle business, but it has received rave reviews from national media as well, including a tweet from Mr. Money Mustache, a blogger who promotes eco-friendly and money saving habits.
“The best part is the kids being upfront. Usually, you would have to have them ride bikes with you, which slows you down or attach a trailer and so many things can go wrong with that,” Powell said. “But with your kids in front, it is like a party in a box!”
URBAN TRIBE FINDS CUSTOMERS AROUND U.S., CANADA
The bikes aren’t just a local commodity and are being sold all over the country in New York, Minnesota, California, Oregon, and more.
“This is such a niche product so I had to go broad with it.”
“If I was trying to just build my business locally, it would’ve grown slowly,” Powell said. “This is such a niche product so I had to go broad with it. My hope is that this will become popular and more mainstream.”
There is room for improvement in the process, but Powell is planning to send his next round of bikes out in early summer. He already has one buyer all the way in Canada waiting for one.
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