Name: Alexandra Rico-Lloyd
Business: The Bike Club
Location: London, United Kingdom
Industry: Children’s Goods & Services
Reason for starting? Coming from a family that has felt the disadvantages of credit facilities, I’m passionate about making consumer finance work better. With three younger siblings and having got into cycling since earning my own income, it’s natural to have started with kids bikes. A mortgage works really well as a form of credit, it allows people to purchase a home. Credit cards and loans, to me, are mean and nasty, trapping people into endless payments for products or experiences they’ll be paying off long after they’ve reaped the benefits.
Netflix, Amazon prime, Spotify, Apple music, phone contracts etc. are all examples of either monthly subscriptions or credit that work well for the consumer, empowering them to make decisions about the products they consume and allowing them to use high-quality, expensive goods. There’s also the waste factor. Visit your local dump, and I guarantee you you’ll find many dumped products that the Bike Club solves. It’s consumer finance for the sharing economy.
How do you define success? Knowing I’ve achieved something that fulfills my potential and makes my family proud. I’d love to be able to make a positive difference in the lives of families and individuals. So far I’ve made 800+ children very happy on their birthdays, and I love hearing back from their parents about what receiving a bike means to them. Be it, they’re a foster child and it’s their first time ever riding a bike, a single dad who wanted to make his first birthday spent with his son special, or a triplet with autism whose new, lightweight bike meant she was able to join her sisters on a bike ride through the park. It’s really special to hear these stories, knowing that I’m making a difference to some peoples lives.
Success is continuing to make a difference; pushing myself to achieve my full potential whilst doing so. Oh, and it’s also an aim of mine to be on Radio 4 whilst my grandparents are still around, so that they can hear their granddaughter on their favourite radio station.
Biggest success: My biggest achievement is Base Camp Everest. It’s unlikely there will be something to beat that. A coming-of-age trip that taught me independence, confidence and determination. At the age of 16, I worked part time, alongside my studies, to pay for the trip myself. It was then the longest amount of time I’d ever spent away from home, to a continent I’d never been to before.
As a pretty shy teen, I suddenly had to make friends with a group who were already pretty close knit. I reached Base Camp Everest after suffering altitude sickness and watching a fellow pupil being helicoptered off the mountain due to extreme altitude sickness. The phone signal meant I was able to keep in touch with my parents, and one night I ended up crying on the phone to them saying I couldn’t take it anymore. A few days later, after no phone signal, we made it to Base Camp. The next morning there was a death at Kala Pattar followed by a few more helicopters but eventually I safely made the trek back to Luklar.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? As a fairly cash-heavy business, always needing to purchase more assets, finance and fundraising is a big challenge. Our second biggest challenge is being a company that needs large-scale operations. My biggest personal challenge has always been and continues to be discrimination. As a 22-year-old female, I find it hard to achieve respect from my peers. It’s difficult to walk into a room and immediately capture people’s attention or get them to take me seriously.
I started my career in IT; that’s pretty male dominated, and it wasn’t without difficulty. The bicycle and manufacturing industry is no different, and fellow entrepreneurs all seem to be either male or they’re female but in the fashion or travel industry.
My daily ‘to-do list’ entails many business related things, but every morning I need to pay particular attention to how to portray myself. “I need a stronger handshake today”, “I can’t wear this today”, “I need to make sure I’m firmer today”, “Let’s try repeating myself today.”
Who is your most important role model? My most important role model is my mum. Cheesy, cliche, whatever you like to call it, she’s taught me an awful lot and continues to be the basis for my morals, beliefs and attitude. A child of 15, from Colombia, South America, she came to England when she was 14 and has been massively hard-working since. She’s raised four wonderful (if I must say so myself) children, and I’m grateful every day for what she has taught and instilled within me. She has a selfless attitude, always giving more than she receives and always striving for the best for her family and others. I’ll know that I’ve brought my children up right if my son or daughter looks up to me as much as people look up to my mother. She never taught us Spanish though — that’s her greatest failure 🙂
Edited by The Story Exchange