“The long-term vision is really being able to buy a bike from us, use it for a period of time, and then trade it back to us. [We want to] create that circular economy, where you’re able to buy and sell, buy and sell, and keep getting the next best product”
– Nick Martin, CEO of The Pro’s Closet
Used gear is huge right now. In the apparel sector, alone, ThredUp estimates the resale industry will be worth $41 billion by 2022. To call pre-owned gear a trend risks diminishing the social, environmental and fiscal values in this type of circular economy.
Nick Martin understands this because he was one of the pioneers in the used sector. As founder and CEO of The Pro’s Closet (TPC), he studied eBay to learn consumer behaviors around re-sale gear. To say he learned well is an understatement. TPC launched in 2006. Recently, it’s been consistently growing 120 percent year over year.
The keys to the e-commerce company’s success can be traced to Nick’s background as a pro cyclist, a stroke of amazing luck with six Colnago Futura frames, a strong team, and a boatload of work. Today TPC is managing the near impossible by figuring out how to navigate tricky world of bike retail (resale) without stepping on toes.
The used market is about experiences, sustainability, price and encouraging participation growth by allowing customers to upgrade within their means. So many lessons and so many stories to tell. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Nick Martin.
Nick Martin was a pro cyclist living in a 1962 VW bus, when he decided to sell everything he owned except for his bike and bus in order to keep living his dream of riding professionally. The experience sparked the idea for The Pro’s Closet (TPC), the largest, pre-owned bike shop in the world.
Bike industry, used gear, bike retail, online retail, circular economy and sustainability, how data helps sell older gear, implementing efficiencies and optimization and consistency during expansion, last mile
“The long-term vision is really being able to buy a bike from us, use it for a period of time, and then trade it back to us. [We want to] create that circular economy, where you’re able to buy and sell, buy and sell, and keep getting the next best product.”
“We’re building this team of all-stars to start telling the story, because we’re the largest bike shop you haven’t heard of.”
“[REI’s] vision aligns with our vision, in terms of the circular economy, and extending the life cycle of goods that already exist.”
[On data informing customized service] “We get over 800 [bike] submissions from individuals per week, [so] we know what bike you currently have. [That means] we know what size you have. And we also will know what bike, what brand, what model you’re looking to buy, based on search. So we’re able to understand what the customer is looking for before they actually make a purchase.”
“We’ve been able to solve for that Last Mile by simplifying the packaging process, so the bike is coming prebuilt. And all they have to do is put the front wheel on, and turn the handlebars.”