Stuart Hunter is passionate about bicycles. He is the founder and CEO of roll: Bicycle Company, based out of Columbus, Ohio. With a vision to deliver high-quality product and capture a personalized buying experience, Stuart was led on a journey to design and manufacture bicycles that finally rose to his own standards. He has been able to bring the product and customer experience that he prides himself on to the masses through his webstore with Shopify. Yet he also maintains three brick-and-mortar locations and wholesales to stockists throughout the United States as well as one in Canada.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
The roll: story is born out of my personal passion and experience that bikes change lives. It's certainly true for me. We had 10 years of history in sharing this belief through our own shops, before we even launched the bike line and rollbicycles.com you see now. Two years ago I found myself with an itch I knew we had to pursue to grow as a company. To create, to design, and to build a bike that met our vision and higher standards; and to build from scratch the bikes that the people that work in our company wanted to ride every day. We knew if we could do that, then we could build a bike that other people would love to ride too, and take control over the future of our business. With a mix of insight, determination, and a healthy shot of f-ing naivety, we set about fixating on every last detail to build the bikes we are proud to own, and share with everyone today. My background as a designer, and the experience and passion from our own shops, really gave us the insights we needed to create the personalized bike buying experience our customers were looking for. So now as we look ahead, we focus on building the best bikes available and delighting people one ride at a time.
If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be?
Ask for help, and accept it when it's given. Simple as that. I found it harder than most people imagine.
Now if you could travel back in time to the start of your business and save yourself from making a specific mistake, what would you tell yourself?
The thing about mistakes is, that they are never considered a mistake until after the fact. Every mistake ever made was the best idea in the world at the time it was made. So own them. You learn from them. You regroup. You move on. I'd say don't be afraid of making decisions, for fear of making mistakes. You can't correct doing nothing.
What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment as an eCommerce store owner?
With a brick and mortar store front, people walk past your door every day. Every day they are reminded that you are there, until the day they need you, and they come inside. That doesn't happen online. Nobody knows who you are. Nobody is just walking by.
What's your favorite 'productivity hack' that you use in your day to day life?
I run my inbox as a to-do list. But it's never my priority list.
What Shopify app could you not live without?
I don't know how anyone could run a Shopify store without a backend inventory and order management solution. We use Stichlabs. There are others, but Stichlabs floats all our boats.
What book would you recommend to someone looking to grow their business?
That's tough. I've been doing a ton of reading and research around organizational and personal development as we change course in our business from a reseller to a manufacturer, and as my role changes from asshole with an idea, to man with a plan. Re-engineering Retail by Doug Stephens is next on deck on my nightstand, which is one I'm really looking forward to.
Do you have any other advice you would like to share?
Love what you do. And make sure it's why you get up in the morning, and it's not what's keeping you up at night.