The calender year is almost over and most people see this as a time to reflect on the past and think about the future. I’m no different in this respect. 2015 was a big deal for me.
It started with acquiring my own shop in a central location in Berlin. I had been searching for years, uncertain if I could ever find anything, and then through perseverance it became my reality. The space was far bigger than needed, so in addition to housing the Santucci Cycles workshop and showroom, I convinced Yuji Kimura of Klovesradeln to move in as well. I also created the co-working space called The Great Tile Society with Blam Studio. Being in a space with a bunch of unique, creative people was certainly a highlight for me. It was a real welcome change to working alone the last years.
After an intense renovation phase of about 3 months, I finally had to open the doors to business. I decided to keep things low key and let curiosity lead people. It was never my dream to run a retail store or do bicycle repairs. For this reason it was decided that during the week consultations would be handled by appointment only and on Saturday we’d open the showroom to greet walk-ins. But it was March and Berlin Bike Week was closing in. With a booth secured for the Berliner Fahrradschau, Yuji and I raced to finish our show bikes. I displayed two custom builds, 026/027, based on lugged frames handmade in Italy. I also prepped my first line of merchandise, doing a run of t-shirts and tote bags sporting my slogan “New Love for Old Steel” in a custom font. The merch didn’t sell well, but the response to our bicycles was again positive.
As spring was approaching, interest was picking up in the shop. The first commissions came in and to my surprise it was for neighborhood folk. Projects 028/032/034 took form. After operating for years online and through word of mouth, I was surprised to see what the new location did for my business. While to some people it remained uncertain what was actually going on in this space, others dared to inquire and the feedback was positive.
The days and nights went by working around the clock: consulting, building, and procuring. I was finally in my element, interacting with strangers that share a passion for cycling, working with my hands on creative pursuits and building a small business from scratch.
Summer arrived and by now things were in full swing. My first batch of 4 different prototype frames were delivered. I landed a collaboration with Gestalten stores, providing two new bikes for their Bikini Berlin store. I was also roughly finishing a new bike a week…up until summer vacation. Vacation? Yeah, you hear all the stories about shop owners who can never take off, especially in the high season. When you run a seasonal business, there are good and bad times to close up for two weeks, but there are some things that are not worth sacrificing. I’m pretty sure a vacation with your family is one of them. Besides, how else could I justify a trip to EUROBIKE?
After summer break, the backlog was deep. High-output ensued. Projects 041/042/043 and 044 made their debut as summer ended and as luck would have it, an indian summer convinced a handful of customers not to delay until 2016 in order to enjoy the last remaining warm days. In October I received 5 more commissions (045/046/047/048/049), 3 of which were based on my own frames. Additionally two ad campaigns (Cybex and Gauloises) were running featuring #016 and an order of 10 new custom frames arrived from Italy.
Even though I would never choose quantity over quality, as the year was nearing an end, I thought about the number system chronicling each project. I started 2015 with bespoke project #024. “Wouldn’t it be nice to end with #050?” I thought to myself. And so, for the sake of whole numbers, or just the passion for designing and building bicycles, I created my last bike of 2015, #050.
I am extremely grateful to every customer than entrusted me to build their dream bike and look forward to more exciting projects in 2016.
DON’T GET CAUGHT WALKING!
to see the bespoke project gallery click here
for more impressions in pictures please check my instagram