Dogs are a big part of our lives; we know many of you are dog people, too. Being a dog person, we're sure many of you have wondered these things: what do custom bikes have to do with dogs? Who is this fluff? Why is there no adorable fluff included with my bike? If these sound like your questions, don't fret. We have your answers. Here's a quick history lesson on our main fluff, Villy.
Everything always starts with a simple idea. Let's go back in time to Los Angeles, California, circa 2009, to a man named Fleetwood Hicks. One day, Fleetwood had nothing on his agenda. So, he figured he would rent a bike and do a little cruising, just for old time's sake. Little did he know that this ride would change his life forever. He loved how much it made him feel like a little kid again. He thought about how much a ride could melt all your worries away.
Fleetwood returned home, and with his handy dandy sidekick fluff, he opened up a new venture: a beach bike shop. While opening a beach bike shop seems like nothing out of the ordinary, this was out of the ordinary for Fleetwood's store. This store was the first beach bike shop in Dallas, which is a feat because there’s no beach within a 5-hour radius! He brought in sand and rocks, painted the ceiling blue, and brought in a bunch of standard cruisers. The shop offered FREE rentals just because he loved what he did and wanted to spread that love. Our main fluff Villy became the honorary door greeter. Soon, the shop would become a hangout for customers and friends.
Shortly after opening the shop and witnessing its success, Fleetwood decided he could do more. He brought in his own frames and started offering colored tires, chains, and hand-made custom badges. There even were specialty finishes on parts of the bike that no one had ever done before. Suddenly, there was a hard divide between Villy bikes and regular cruiser competition on the market. Everything was ready for success, except there was no brand name and no logo. What would stand out from the rest?
This was probably the easiest decision in the whole process for Fleetwood. As most business people do, he dedicated his company to something he loved and helped him along the way - his loyal sidekick Villy. Naturally, it made sense to name the company after the dog that drives everyone in, is excited to see, and always hangs out in the bike shop. In 2010, Villy Custom was born, with our fluff as the main face of the brand, like a president on a dollar bill.
Fast-forward a year, Villy launched the first ever digital online cruiser bike builder, shipping bikes nationwide. Finally, a niche in the market was filled, as people could personalize their own bikes with hand-picked color combinations. All unique in their own way, each bike defines a customer's personality and lifestyle aesthetic.
While sales were being made, and the bikes were unique and making money, it was becoming too much for Fleetwood to handle. Villy Custom needed help as more customers were placing orders. The expansion was needed, and who better to turn to than the Sharks? Fleetwood then pitched to the investors on Shark Tank in season 3, episode 13.
The investors could see the money was there, and while three investors turned down the opportunity, Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran saw different. Initially, Fleetwood asked for $500,000 for a 33% stake, but the final agreement was on $500,000 for a 42% stake.
Since that episode of Shark Tank, Villy Custom has grown massively into the company we know today. Not only do customers get to customize their bikes, but now Villy Custom offers fleets of bikes to corporations, organizations, resorts, and real estate, and more! Designs are still beyond your wildest imagination.
So, what are you waiting for? A simple bike ride could change everything.
Watch the Villy Pitch Here
Villy After Shark Tank
Villy Custom Shark Tank Episodes