Pelago produces more than a half of its bicycles for export
"Competition in the bicycle business is tough and price-driven. However, when you enter design, quality and high technical standard into the equation, there is less competition in our segment of urban and trekking bicycles," says Timo Hyppönen, managing director of Pelago.
In less than ten years, Pelago has managed to create a strong, well-known brand. What is the significance of branding for sales?
"You can't undermine its importance, but in the end it is all about the product. Brands can't be used to sell empty promises; you need to have a foundation for your brand, as well as guaranteed quality. A brand embodies e.g. values, expertise and service. It is a promise that needs to be delivered each day. Products, operations and communications must all be aligned."
In 2013, Pelago was selected for Tekes' Young Innovative Company funding programme. This marked the beginning of Pelago's internationalisation. Established in 2009, the company had a turnover of around EUR 600,000 in 2012. In 2016, its turnover had reached EUR 2,6 million. At the moment, approximately 75 % of the bicycles are manufactured for export.
Currently more Pelago bicycles are sold in Denmark than in Finland. Other key export markets include the German-speaking countries, Norway and Sweden. Sales in France are also on the increase.
Pelago is currently participating in Finpro's Lifestyle Finland growth programme that has helped to gain international media visibility. In addition, a Japanese department store is setting up a pop-up shop featuring Finnish products, including Pelago.
How about electric assistance, would it match with Pelago's stylish design?
"Good design can be matched with anything, and perhaps good design is what electric bicycles need. For us, cycling has been a passion and a lifestyle choice from the beginning. Our portfolio is largely built around the products we ourselves use and are very familiar with. We have not hurried to include electric bicycles in our portfolio just for the sake of being on trend. It is clear that electric assistance plays a role in urban traffic. We have tested components from several system suppliers, so time will tell what will come out of it and when."
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Photo: Aukusti Heinonen