From kitchen table to the international stage, one entrepreneurial couple from Berkshire has turned a fruitless search for quality children’s bikes into a fast-growing business that’s putting children and the planet at the centre of their product designs.
Keen cyclists, Shelley and Jerry Lawson started Frog Bikes nearly eight years ago when they found it surprisingly difficult to find good quality lightweight bikes for their own children. They spotted a gap in the market and set about creating bikes specifically designed with a child’s unique anatomy in mind.
Since its humble beginnings on the Lawson’s kitchen table, Frog Bikes has gone from strength to strength with a head office in Ascot, Berkshire and a factory in Wales. Today, the company has 80 employees and sells its products through 1,500 independent bike stores in 56 countries, throughout Europe as well as the USA, Hong Kong and Australia. In 2018, Frog Bikes was recognised with the Queen’s Award for International Trade.
Since 2018 the Berkshire Growth Hub, which has been providing advice to Frog Bike’s founders to enable them to further build upon their success and scale-up their operations.
Shelley explains: “We were a little sceptical as we didn’t know what to expect. But their adviser listened more than talked and quickly came back to us with some proactive and valuable suggestions.
“We’ve been very impressed with the service from the Berkshire Growth Hub. For example, they have been extremely helpful in terms of helping us recruit a non-executive director, advising us on preparing for the EU Exit and helping us find quite niche component manufacturers. Our adviser has an extensive network of contacts and is great at keeping us updated on what support is available, particularly from government departments.
“I would encourage other business owners to get in touch with the Berkshire Growth Hub. It doesn’t take up a lot of your time and certainly adds value to your business. There are things that would have been more difficult to achieve without their support. They have certainly been able to get us to the right people quicker and I find a personal introduction always works better.”
Alongside help from the Berkshire Growth Hub, Frog Bikes has also secured funding from Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency – to continue its research and innovation. “Having Innovate UK funding and contacts has enabled us to do more extensive ongoing research,” explains Shelley. “It has been transformative.”