Brother Cycles was formed in 2010 by brothers Will and James Meyer. The pair design, build and sell bespoke bike frames in their London studio. We were recently asked to print Brother’s new clothing range.
With the brand expanding its offering, we chatted with Will about his brand’s identity, and how he hopes it will stay distinctive in a crowded marketplace.
Q. How did you found Brother Cycles?
A. My brother and I have had all sorts of crazy business ideas since we were kids – everything from a house-cleaning business to opening cafes. Eventually we started restoring vintage bicycles and selling them to our mates. One thing led to another and after a couple of years we launched Brother Cycles. I think we were destined to go into business together – glad we went with bikes over house-cleaning though!
Above: ICON-printed Brother clothing
Q. How important is identity to your brand?
A. Identity is everything, especially as a small brand. In the early days it’s key to get your identity really tight, otherwise it’s hard to stand out amongst the bigger brands with better reach. You need to grab people’s attention and make sure they remember who you are.
Q. There’s an increasing amount of start-up cycling brands. How do you hope to stay distinctive amongst them?
A. Brother Cycles has been on the scene for about five years now and we’ve made a good name for ourselves in that time. So I’m confident our reputation can withstand the increased competition these days. That being said, we’ll never rest on our laurels – we’re our own biggest critics and keep pushing ourselves to do bigger and better things. It’s this constant progression that will hopefully keep us distinctive in a very busy marketplace!
Above: Brother Cycles’ stylish shirts
Q. How does that strategy translate to clothing?
A. The cycling industry is very seasonal, with the majority of new products launching at one point of the year. So we saw clothing as a way of offering cool new products to our customers throughout the whole year. However, the main motivation came from the fact that my brother and I are just really into clothing and saw this as a bit of a passion project! We’ve found adding clothing to our products is a great way of being creative with the Brother brand – it has helped us develop a number of new brand elements and logos that are now used across the whole range.
Q. What were the challenges you faced?
A. Our main problem was sourcing quality garments. You can put all the time in the world into developing some cool designs however, if it’s printed onto poor-quality garments then it really cheapens your brand. We’re also not quite at the size where we’d have a factory actually produce garments specifically for us, so this was definitely a struggle.
Above: More shots from the brilliant Brother lookbook
Q. How did ICON help you overcome them?
A. We met with Alex from ICON at their Shoreditch studio and he talked through all the different garments available to us. It was a really positive meeting. By the end of it we knew exactly what we were going to use and we could get on with the actual designs. ICON were also a huge help with all the little extras – such as the nice little sew-on labels that now appear on the hem of all our garments. All in all, it was a really positive experience.
Q. What’s next for Brother Cycles?
A. Ha! That’s a big question. 2016 is a huge year for us, we’re releasing our first range of complete bikes, some new frames and a ton of really nice clothing and accessories. So watch this space!