1. Hi Matt, how’re you doing? Please can you tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello, I’m good thanks! I’m Matt and am the founder of Temple Cycles. I’ve lived in the West Country all my life, and am currently settled in Clifton, where I studied Mechanical Engineering at Bristol University. I like the countryside and being outside as much as possible.
2. Tell us about Temple Cycles.
Temple Cycles is a Bristol based bicycle producer. We design and build to order all of our bikes. Most of the time we sell custom designs, specific to the users requirements and style, but also have some staples in the range. We combine classic bicycle style with modern technology and engineering to create beautiful, practical and versatile rides.
3. How did you and your business partner Jimmy meet?
We met at university. I used to live with his girlfriend. He started mountain biking about the time we met, so we started going riding lots together.
4. Your bikes look awesome! What is it that’s special about a Temple bike?
They are designed and built to order in Somerset with every small detail being carefully considered. We design them as a ‘bike for life’ and we want them to be used for as long as possible. As we are making them to order, we can easily make custom modifications or upgrades at a reasonable price, which is why a lot of people come to us.
5. How have you funded your business so far?
While studying, I saved up a fair amount of money from restoring vintage road bikes. This, combined with a loan and several start up grants from my local council and The Princes Trust, meant that I could start out investing in the parts and tools required to begin producing bikes properly. The business has grown organically since then.
6. How was the journey from conception to launch?
It was a long journey, as I wanted to make sure everything was perfect. I spent ages refining the designs of the bikes and going through loads of different prototypes and sample components. Eventually when I was happy with the product, I could start to think about the branding and the company ethos.
7. As a young entrepreneur, what do you enjoy most about running your own business?
It’s really nice when people get behind you and are willing to support your independent business. People are generally interested in what you’re doing and are keen to get involved or help out. It’s also good to know that you’re the one calling the shots; but it can certainly be a heavy weight on your shoulders at times.
8. Is there any piece of business advice that has really stuck with you?
The hardest lesson I have learned, and the best piece of advice I can give, is that when you’re involved in the production of ANYTHING, you should never expect it to run smoothly. It just doesn’t happen.
9. What do you find is the most effective way of marketing your bikes?
The best way so far has been getting out there and meeting customers. What sells the bikes is our expertise and ability to cater for specific requirements. We have done this through pop up shops, trader events and even some street fairs!
10. Give us an unusual fact about yourself.
Unfortunately, I’m allergic to Haribo.
11. Tell us about one of your favourite custom cycles you’ve produced for a customer.
One we did recently was really nice. It was for George Ferguson, the Mayor of Bristol. It’s a beautifully simple but practical bike. It was a deep slate blue, with bamboo mudguards, high quality silver wheels and finished with a Brooks saddle and leather grips.
12. This is an important one. What’s your favourite colour of marshmallow - pink or white?
I Usually avoid such sticky things but if I had to, I’d go for pink.
13. What does the next 12 months have in store for Temple Cycles?
At the moment we have so many ideas about where we want to take the company. We’ve got new bike designs coming out, an off-the-peg range and will have lots more interesting colours. We also want to start increasing our range of components and accessories. The long-term plan I guess is to bring bicycle manufacturing back to Bristol, but that’s still some way off yet.