Vincent Truter, of Cycology, A2B’s South African distributor, is reaping significant rewards from collaborating with South African designers and artists. Here he explains why such a creative approach really works.
How do the design/art collaborations work?
We created Window, a pop-up retail and exhibition space, to host design collaborations for the mutual benefit of Cycology and the artists and designers we want to collaborate with.
We approach leading artists and designers – creative minds – to produce artwork or products inspired by the experience of riding an A2B e-bike to showcase their designs.
The collaborations are a win, win situation – a great range of people get to try out and discover the joy of e-bikes, and designers get to show their designs and sell their products.
What kind of exhibitions have you hosted?
We have had some fantastic shows, including a local fashion designer, Black Coffee, who created amazing multifunctional raincoat accessories for use on the electric bike, and a local artist created bespoke prints inspired by A2B e-bike journeys.
Another collaboration saw Cycology hosting cycle tours throughout the area in collaboration with the amazing bicycle portraits project curated by Nic Grobler and Stan Engelbrecht. The duo spent two years photographing South Africa cyclists and launched their Bicycle portrait book in the window gallery, which you can see here: http://www.bicycleportraits.org
How do you promote the exhibitions?
Cycology and our PR guru Ange Ramsay use these interesting cross-disciplinary exhibitions to target a much broader range of media than usual.
We create constant activation events around the exhibitions giving the public the opportunity to come for rides when visiting the exhibitions, plus we amp up the social media reach a great deal by hosting bloggers and the like for rides before and after launch events.
What’s the return on investment?
We have seen sales increase by 50% during these collaborations, and a 400% increase in media coverage, which is incredible!
Our latest show, launched on 15 March, is by Tonic, a fantastic furniture design duo who have created pieces inspired by urban cycle commuting. In just two weeks, we have seen a 50% rise in the number of people coming into the showroom and have already sold at least eight e-bikes as a direct result.
Window has been a fantastic success, and one we will certainly continue.