67: Arleigh Greenwald, Founder of Bike Shop Girl and owner of Family Cyclery and Shift Up Strategies

“ADHD, obesity, screen time, and so many of these things–let along traffic and pollution–can be fixed by helping your kid get into biking or walking to and from school, to and from the grocery store, the library, and other community hubs. [I’m] building a bike shop that is focused on people [facing those issues] instead of marginalizing them.”

– Arleigh Greenwald

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Arleigh Greenwald has been a staple of the bike industry for well over a decade. Through her blog (and later social media empire), Bike Shop Girl, she’s been an outspoken advocate for getting more people on bikes.

Now she’s tackling a new frontier with a brand new, brick and mortar independent bike shop. And in typical, exceptional Arleigh fashion, she’s doing it by her own rules.

In today’s episode, we talk about why the time was right to open a shop and how she’s ignoring the traditional tactics to be more nimble, more welcoming, more experimental and genuinely community oriented.

The perversity of the bike industry is that hybrids and entry- to mid-level bikes are the economic engines, but the VAST majority of the marketing dollars are spent on the high end products and consumers. To my mind, it’s one of the primary barriers to increased participation and cycling engagement overall. We all grow up riding bikes, so there’s a sense of independence, freedom and community. But when we’re old enough to have alternatives (ahem..cars) or buy our own bikes, the bike industry tells us that the only type of riding that matters is top level, balls out, ultra competitive, high end. What was once an all-inclusive community becomes a exclusive club.

So Arleigh is busting that trope by focusing on family bikes, commuting, comfort and zero intimidation. In operating like a lean startup, she’s challenging her suppliers to be just as nimble as she is. It’s an exceptional approach and one that I anticipate will be a model for future success.

GUEST PROFILES:

ARLEIGH GREENWALD

NEED A PROFILE FOR ARLEIGH

TOPICS COVERED:

Mission-driven business and marketing, consumer-focused merchandising, using analytics to gauge decision-making, mobile strategy for bike retail, digital divide in brick and mortar bike shops

SELECT QUOTES:

“ADHD, obesity, screen time, and so many of these things–let along traffic and pollution–can be fixed by helping your kid get into biking or walking to and from school, to and from the grocery store, the library, and other community hubs. [I’m] building a bike shop that is focused on people [facing those issues] instead of marginalizing them.”

“I was managing a shop in Maryland, and we had high-end bikes. This was the Lance Era of crazy road bikes, and I remember the owner saying like, ‘Our bread and butter is that $450 hybrid. That is what pays the rent, but we are paying all of our marketing into teams, charity rides, going after that top, let’s say 5%.’ I couldn’t shake the feeling of what happens if we put the marketing dollars into that hybrid rider?”

[On her bike mechanics] They know their stuff, but they’re not going to talk over you. They’re [creating] a welcoming experience instead of trying to prove their worth to every customer.”

CONNECT:

Shift Up Strategies (call Arleigh directly)

Bike Shop Girl

Bike Shop Girl Family Cyclery

Connect with Arleigh on LinkedIn

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