« Nous n’aurions jamais pu grandir aussi vite que nous l’aurions souhaité dans un atelier de réparation de vélos local. »

Ferry Zonder founder of Veloretti.

Veloretti est une marque de vélos en ligne qui conçoit, produit et vend ses propres vélos. Ceux-ci sont livrés partout en Europe. C’est après avoir tenté, sans succès, de trouver un vélo convenable à un prix raisonnable que le fondateur, Ferry Zonder, a créé Veloretti. “A la recherche d’un bon vélo en 2011, je me suis rendu compte que c’était bien plus difficile à trouver que je ne le pensais, explique-t-il. Du coup je me suis dit : si trouver un vélo qui soit beau, léger et qui fonctionne bien pour 300 ou 400 euros est impossible, pourquoi est-ce que je ne le créerais pas moi-même ? Et c’est comme ça que tout a commencé.”

I said to myself: if finding a bike that is beautiful, light and works well for 300 or 400 euros is impossible, why shouldn’t I create it myself?

Ferry Zonder founder of Veloretti

Aucune expérience

Ferry n’ayant absolument aucune expérience en matière de conception de vélos, il fallut un an et demi à Veloretti pour voir le jour. Pendant ce temps, Ferry parcourt le monde à la recherche de fournisseurs, rencontrant, petit à petit, tous ceux dont il a besoin pour monter son affaire. “Il suffit de rencontrer un fabricant de cadres pour que celui-ci sache où l’on peut se procurer des roues, et d’aller voir le fournisseur de roues pour que celui-ci nous indique où l’on pourra trouver des pneus, explique-t-il. On va donc d’un fournisseur à l’autre jusqu’à ce que l’on ait toutes les pièces nécessaires.” A l’époque, Ferry a une entreprise de production son et lumière. Il la vend et investit l’argent dans Veloretti, qu’il lance en 2013. “Ce lancement n’aurait pas pu tomber plus à pic, puisque nous avons dépensé tout l’argent que j’avais investi, explique-t-il. Cela fait aujourd’hui six ans que Veloretti existe, et le produit est toujours le même qu’au premier jour.”

Ferry Zonder posing with a Veloretti bicycle

La philosophie derrière l’entreprise

Are the bikes really exactly the same as when they started? “I would say they are 90% the same,” Ferry said. We have developed them quite a bit. Some parts weren’t as good quality, and we picked the wrong bolts for the first batch of bikes: they rusted. At the time, the supplier assured us that these bolts were good. It was only when people started using our products that we realized that was not the case. But now everything is under control.”

Close-up of a Veloretti bicycle

The fact that Veloretti has come this far is, in fact, really special. All of their bikes are sold online, which means you can’t take them back to the store if something doesn’t work. There is, however, a real shop in Amsterdam, but you can only see the bikes there: if you want to buy one, you will still have to do it online. This is something quite unusual in the Netherlands, where most people buy their bikes in physical shops where they also have them serviced. But this all-online strategy is an integral part of the company’s philosophy. “When you receive your bike, it is 85% assembled, explains Ferry. So you have to be a bit of a handyman to put the rest together. However, if you have screwed all the bolts and assembled the rest yourself, you can also change them. In that sense, we have a lot of flexibility with our customers – which was the plan from the start.”

We have a lot of flexibility with our clients - which was the plan from the start.

Ferry Zonder founder of Veloretti

“You are crazy”

“When I embarked on the Veloretti adventure, explains Ferry, someone said to me: “You are crazy. There’s already Cortina, VanMoof, Gazelle – who are you to launch a new bike brand? And yet, no one was selling bikes online yet. There were many bike shops on the internet, but no brand of bikes online. We couldn’t have grown so quickly if we wanted local bike shops to stock our bikes. All resellers being bound by contracts, it is impossible to access retail sales when you are a new brand. A handful of brands dominate 99% of the market – so it’s impossible to find a place there unless you have a niche positioning. And then I wanted to sell our bikes outside the Netherlands.”

Since there were no other bike brands online, Ferry had no examples to fall back on. “We had to figure everything out on our own. For example, we have created transport packaging that allows you to send a bike anywhere in Europe for €19.95. Sometimes we pay a little more, sometimes a little less. Sending a bike to Cyprus costs a lot more than €19.95, but that means that one of our bikes will end up in Cyprus, its owner will go to football with it, for example, and people will see the bike. The more bikes we have on the streets, the more we’re going to sell and the more demand we’re going to create, says Ferry. The best publicity you can get is people who love their bikes: along with Facebook and Instagram, these kinds of brand ambassadors are a major promotion channel. We do everything we can for our customers.”

Un produit compliqué

“As we want satisfied customers, service is one of the pillars of our business. We never stop making sure our customers are happy, and that’s why our reviews are so good,” says Ferry. However, with bicycles, many things can go wrong because they are complicated products. “Damaged bikes, missing parts, people not assembling the bikes correctly… And of course we want the customer experience to be optimal, which means everything has to be durable and easy to maintain”. What if something breaks? “So we send them the part they need, free of charge. If it’s something a little more complex, the rear hub is damaged for example, customers can go to a bike shop near them and have it fixed. All they then have to do is take a picture of the receipt and send it to us – they will be refunded within days.”

We never stop making sure our customers are happy, and that’s why our reviews are so good

Ferry Zonder founder of Veloretti

Un meilleur vélo pour un meilleur prix

If Veloretti is able to offer a better bike at a better price, it is because the company knows precisely what can break on a bike. “We’ve been doing this for seven years now and we know exactly what can go wrong and how to fix it. Everything is included in the price. The retail margin you pay when you go to a bike shop, you don’t pay with us, says Ferry. With us you get a better bike at a better price. Our distribution system is very efficient. For example, our bikes do not need to go from the supplier to the wholesaler, then from the wholesaler to a central purchasing office before arriving in a bicycle store. We are much more efficient, which is also better for the environment. And people are starting to pay more and more attention to that part of the equation.”

Ferry Zonder cycling on a Veloretti

The impact something can have on the world is significant, “and that is why cycling is so popular. A bicycle is stylish, good for the person using it, good for the environment and good for infrastructure, says Ferry. In the Netherlands it has always been like this, but we see a spectacular development of bicycles abroad: this is something I never dreamed of when I started thinking about launching Veloretti abroad. ‘foreign. Our biggest advantage is that we are a Dutch company, and the Netherlands is considered an authority in the field of bicycles. People want a Dutch bike, they think it’s cool.” City bikes and e-bikes are in high demand, adds Ferry, “and that’s why we are currently developing our own e-bikes, which correspond to our philosophy: nice bikes, not too expensive and whose we came up with the design.” This is in direct contrast to what other bike brands do: “Brands all source their e-bike motors and drive systems from the same place, and all their bikes have the same head,” he says. he.

Pas de soldes

“However, notes Ferry, it is interesting to see that these brands release new collections of bikes every year while the bikes released in previous years are as good as the new ones. Why not make a collection of old bikes, since they are still of good quality? It is for this reason that we rarely change our catalog. Our customers know that if they buy their bike next year, the quality will be exactly the same. No need to offer sales – we have never done one. I value transparency a lot, and the same goes for Mollie: you have a transparent model.”

Ferry Zonder crosses Amsterdam on a Veloretti bike

“Cette transparence se voit d’ailleurs non seulement dans la manière dont vous communiquez avec le monde extérieur, mais également dans la manière dont vous agissez, conclut Ferry. Vous êtes toujours joignables, et si un problème survient – une annulation de paiement par exemple, ou des difficultés à l’installation de Klarna, il est immédiatement résolu. Sans compter que, visuellement parlant, Mollie est magnifique. Dans le domaine des paiements, on voit beaucoup de boutiques en ligne criardes qui redirigent vers un portail de paiement tout droit sorti des années 90. Mais peut-être que ce genre de boutique en ligne a un contrat fixe avec son fournisseur de paiement. J’en avais un de la sorte, autrefois, mais cette façon de travailler ne me convient pas. Le fait que Mollie soit flexible et que vous ayez le cran de vous engager sans contrat est tout à votre avantage. Je trouve ça génial.”

> “The fact that you have the guts to commit without a contract, I think that’s great”.

Ferry Zonder fondateur de Veloretti

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