July 23, 2014

MBF Profiles: Joseph Huba, Co-Founder of Bikestock

What happens when you take a love for biking in NYC and translate it into 24/7 self-service kiosks? Basically, you get an urban cyclists go to, or Bikestock, vending machine repair hubs that supply everything from organic chocolate to tool kits, air for your tires, and branded cycling products. Joseph Huba is not only the Co-Founder of Bikestock, but a biking enthusiast himself and through his experiences as a bike messenger in Brooklyn, knows first hand the importance of being able to stay on the move no matter the time of day.

photo via Bikestock

MBF: Tell us about your background, the concept of a vending machine that sells tools, snacks and other essentials and how it came about? What drove the concept?

Joseph Huba: I'm from a small town outside of Washington, DC and went to college at the University of Maryland, College Park. I studied Sociology while I was in school and coincidentally my business partner Matt studied Anthropology. The idea of selling bike parts and other small items out of a vending machine is not a new concept but it's certainly not happening on the level that we envision in New York City. Matt (co-founder) heard about bike parts vending machines in other parts of the country and came up to me one day and said “We should put bike parts in vending machines and get them all over New York City.” I needed no more convincing once I let the idea soak in. It made total sense because I was working as a messenger at the time and cannot tell you how many times I needed a bike parts vending machine and bike repair after hours. Essentially Bikestock was born out of frustration.

MBF: Why is it so important to keep people in movement? What is your mission?

JH: Our mission is to empower and encourage people to be more active. Being active helps you live a happier and healthier life and cycling is such a good way to do just that.

MBF: Besides the vending machines, you also have a pop up store and personalized tool kits. Can you tell us more about them? Were they part of the initial project?

JH: The pop up store was just a temporary collab with Urban Outfitters. They gave us the opportunity to establish a small retail shop and sell bigger items that don't normally fit into a vending machine. And the tool kit was an idea I came up with when we were spinning our wheels trying to get a location for a vending machine. The tool kit kept us from giving up and abandoning the idea all together. Neither were part of the initial project...they just happened organically.

MBF: How did you guys meet? What connects you? Is it the passion for biking and/or your lifestyle?

JH: Matt and I met while working at a restaurant/bar called Calexico in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Matt had just moved out here from the West Coast and I was already living in Brooklyn when he moved here. We had similar interests and tons of mutual friends. And Calexico in its early stages was a really tight knit restaurant; everyone was friends and everyone hung out after work.

photo via Bikestock

MBF: Your logo is really cool. Tell us about the logo.

JH: I don't know what to say about it other than our designer (www.davidwhitepond.com) did a great job giving us an identity. We showed him a ton of stuff we liked and didn't like and trusted him to come up with something for us. He hit a grand slam and we're thankful for the top notch branding every day!

MBF: Bikestock Kiosks have been picked up by Urban Outfitters, a fortune 500 company. What are the pros and cons? Can you talk a bit more about the partnership? And how did they find you?

JH: One of their higher ups saw our machine in Bushwick and e-mailed us about getting us in their stores. That's how we got in touch with them. The list of pro's goes on forever. Overall it's just a fantastic opportunity to test out a business in their market.

MBF: What is your biggest challenge? Where are your current locations?

JH: The biggest challenge is finding more 24 hour locations. Our current locations are at 49 Bogart in Bushwick and 1333 Broadway (35th and Broadway) in Manhattan.

MBF: Are you looking to do other partnerships with other venues? What is your criteria?

JH: We are working on a few things right now. We just want our future locations to be accessible 24 hours a day.

MBF: Are you aware of any competitors? If so, how do you think it affects your business?

JH: We are aware of our competitors and they affect our business positively because more people get to see 'bike parts vending machines', even if they don't say Bikestock. It's nice to see other people providing a wonderful service in a city that is full of so many cyclists.

photo via Bikestock

MBF: What are the key recommendations you would suggest for start up companies?

JH: Formulate your idea and get it on paper, then write a business plan, and don't give up.

MBF: Where will Bikestock go next?

JH: Who knows what the future holds for us....!

MBF: Our MBF Profiles close out with the following questionnaire – in the footsteps of Proust's Questionnaire and American TV show host James Lipton's "10 Questions."

MBF: Your favorite swear word?

JH: Fuck.

MBF: Your least favorite word?

JH: No.

MBF: Your favorite word?

JH: Yes.

MBF: What turns you on?

JH: Hardwork.

MBF: And of course, what turns you off?

JH: Laziness.

MBF: What sound do you love?

JH: The sound of an empty forest.

MBF: If you could pick any profession – what might you be?

JH: Pro Skateboarder.

MBF: If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?

JH: The west coast.

MBF: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

JH: I'm not sure youre supposed to be here...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
MBF Trend Talk by MBF Trend Consulting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at mbf-trendtalk.blogspot.com.