Today on the blog, we are welcoming Angèle Radjagobal, founder of Soundary Cycle.
As more and more people choose to ride their bike, cities adapt their infrastructures. As a matter of fact, “the number of car drivers in London fell from 137,000 in 2000 to 64,000 in 2014, while those of cyclists trebled from 12,000 to 36,000 over the same period” (Copyright : BBC). Let’s discover together our newly incubated start-up that develops leather goods and accessories for cyclists.
Hi Angèle and welcome on the blog! Let’s start right away: How did Soundary Cycle start and did you come up with the idea?
I spent several years working as an engineer for water treatment plants around the world. At some point I felt the need to change the direction my life was taking. I decided to go on a cycling trip by myself, from Bogotá, Colombia to Easter Island, Chile. That’s when I figured my entrepreneurship abilities. Cycling represented a mean to free myself from professional and personal boundaries. This trip was eye-opening and introduced me to entrepreneurship, which resulted to the creation of Soundary Cycle.
I am deeply convinced that cycling, whether in town or on a trip, is a great way to emancipate, that overcomes gender and conventions.
To have men and women from any age riding bikes in town involves to rethink road infrastructures, to improve safety, to educate and raise awareness among urban riders on the good practices, together with providing them with the comfortable and easy-to-use gears. That’s how the idea of Soundary Cycle came up to me.
Soundary Cycle is more than just a leather goods brand for cyclists. How would you define your vision for Soundary Cycle?
Soundary Cycle has the desire build a French brand that places men and women that are both cycling and walking, at the heart of its preoccupations. The project minimizes its carbon footprint by outsourcing production in France and Europe.
Thanks to pioneer cities like Paris, Strasbourg, London and Barcelona that implement urban development plans, cycling on short distances is becoming easier, safer and quicker.
Nowadays, cyclists are still confronted to a dense and chaotic car traffic. Riding a bike in town will become an actual alternative when real infrastructures will be implemented for commuters to ride safely. Once they’ve reached their destination, cyclists go back to pedestrians, and must have the same comfort as others, meaning that they should be able to carry their personal and professional stuff without having to change equipment.
In that sense, the following interrogations should be answered :
- Is there stylish accessories that satisfies both the needs of cyclists and pedestrians?
- Is there any accessories that would help cyclists be better viewed by users of other transportation means, that would not result into a burden once cyclists convert into pedestrians?
- Can we provide commuters with items that reduce its vulnerability while valuing its social environment as a pedestrian?
Soundary Cycle aims to innovate in order to answer these questions.
You are the unique founder of your project: does that represent a strength for you?
Being the one and only founder provides me with complete freedom regarding the decisions I take: I can materialize my vision with no compromise. But that also represents a challenge! Being surrounded by qualified and loyal people is necessary for companies like Soundary Cycle to evolve.
Where can we find your products at the moment?
Backpacks and bicycle clips are in their industrialization phase as of today. They are available for presale on www.soundarycycle.com. The goal is to have them in selected concept stores in Paris and “cyclist-friendly” cities.
What other projects do you have in stock ?
Projects for 2017 and 2018 are to develop a smart and stylish line of bags, to grow sales in Europe and Asia, while keeping efforts on other products innovation. I also aim to prototype and industrialize items that result from synergies between technical and modern materials, while integrating smart lighting systems. I also want to keep design at the heart of all the innovation process. There remains much to be done!
Entrepreneurs’ life is not a bed of roses… Any fun fact to share with us?
There is not one specifically coming to my mind… Only thing is you’ve got to stay patient, kind and persevering with people surrounding your business, whether they are suppliers or service providers, in order to build a long term relationship of trust.
You joined the third promotion of incubation at Look Forward few weeks ago, after winning the first prize of the Look Forward FashionTech Festival #PitchNight. What does this year of incubation represent for you?
It represents the insurance to grow Soundary Cycle with a valuable business expertise and operational means in marketing, communication, but also the possibility to raise money and get legal advices. I look forward to presenting the different aspects of the project to Showroomprivé’s teams, and sharpen both the strategy and the implementation. That’s a great opportunity to grow and share on a personal and professional scale.
Thanks you Angèle for your time, and we hope that you enjoyed her inspiring vision on the project.