President of Solé, Jimmy Standley on Functional, Beautiful Bicycles

Jimmy Standley, President of Solé Bicycles

Jimmy Standley
President of Solé Bicycles

Jimmy Standley is Denver, Colorado native currently residing in the greater Los Angeles area. He grew up surrounded by music and began his business career as a partner in Snowball Music Festival. His passion to work with other young entrepreneurs connected him to Solé Bicycles in 2011. Since then he has worked as the President and CEO of Solé, focusing his time on sourcing, operations, and finance. Jimmy has been a FoundersCard Member since 2012.

1. So you are passionate about beautiful and functional bicycles. When did you first learn to ride?
 I learned to ride just like any other kid at a young age, but my passion for bicycles truly blossomed in the last few years.

2. Solé was founded because of unhappiness with the current selection of fixed geared bikes on the market. What makes Solé different?

We wanted to give everyone an opportunity to ride a beautiful, easy to operate bicycle without paying an arm and a leg.  We also wanted to improve the accessibility by being one of the first bicycle companies to live online and not just through the traditional brick and mortar space. 
3. What were some of the challenges you faced when beginning this endeavor, and how did you overcome?
The biggest challenge we faced was the fact that we bootstrapped Solé from the beginning and have never taken any outside capital.  What we’ve learned from operating a business like this is that every decision you make has the potential to make our break the business — or at least have serious consequences.  It forced us to learn and pick up skills quickly to ensure we are making the most informed decision possible.

4. What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone starting a company from the ground up?

Focus on your core competencies.  You’re gonna be pulled in a lot of different directions and there’s going to be a lot of noise so its important to establish your goals and hold yourself accountable.

5. Manufacturing and inventory can be challenging for small companies. What helped you to manage the balance?

It still continues to be a challenge for us.  As we grow, our demand for bicycles grows and our inventory management becomes more challenging.  We are lucky enough to have a sourcing agent that spends half his time overseas to helps us negotiate with our factories and ensure we get the best possible prices.

6. How many bicycles do you have in your collection?

Right now we have two different models, a single speed/fixed gear and a city cruiser.  We have 10 different color ways with our single speed/fixed gear and 2 different colors with the city cruiser.

7. What advice do you have for others creating high quality products, yet at an affordable price? Are there certain corners that should never be cut?

Never, ever sacrifice quality for price.  You get one chance to prove your product and create a loyal customer.  If you deliver a sub-par product, you will lose a customer forever.
8. What book inspired you to start your company the most?
9. What is one app that all FoundersCard Members should be using?
Humin — great app to organize all your contacts.

10. Give us your best plug/brag a little about as to what you’re working on now/next?

Keep your eye out for the introduction of our 3rd addition to our product offering.
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