What is your name? 

Rachel Thomas

What is your business called and where are you based?Brake bikes in Blackheath

Why did you choose the location?

I am a life resident in the area so an obvious choice.

How did you come up with your business name? 

My nick name from city trading days is RAK my favourite number is 33 so I came up with 3-RAK E-brake

What is your business?
Limited edition single speed fashion bicycles.

What made you set up your own business? I am passionate about bikes being a cool fashion accessory and people to feel that their bike can put them on the Urban Catwalk whilst being fit for purpose.

Are you online? Where can you be found website? here

Are you active on Social Media? Yes of course.  Like, Conran Estates I feel it is vital to be active on social media and therefore I am a keen user of twitter, facebook, instagram /brakebikes

What are your opening hours? It varies really. We are at events, pop up shops, markets, window displays so it depends upon that market we trade in!

Describe how you help your customers? As much as it is possible I really take care that the customer meets me (the designer and owner) as much as possible. I want each customer to share the passion I have for the design, the look and the idea of looking good and keeping it simple.

What service/product is your best seller, and why? The bikes are all equally good sellers.  Boys tend to pick one colour and ladies another!

Outside of your business hours, how many extra hours a week do you work for the business?  Ha ha, I am always working on the business, I live and breath it and as a start up I feel it has to be 100% priority.

How important is the support of your family when running a business? Yes off course, even cover for a lunch break is super albeit rare!

Is running your business harder than you thought it would be? If so, why? Yes, I deal with everything from time scales to managing everything else outside the communication with manufacturer and the face to face events, meeting people (which I love), the unloading, loading bikes, collecting payments from some stockists, and time consuming meetings. This seems to fill 24-hours of my day!!

Would you buy into the same sort of business again? Yes I can’t wait to order the second edition range, and expand the range, I have some really big ideas.

What is your biggest challenge? Converting sales! 99% of those that see the bikes LOVE them, the consumer nowadays has to think about a large spend and not slapping everything on credit cards.

What advice would you give someone who wants to set up their own business? Get advice from success stories, not from those giving advice from their couch (they will help make an idea …. stay an idea…). If you are thinking about doing something GO small, do not break the bank, get into debt, do not make rash decisions and do not be forced into any deals!

What makes you enjoy what you do?  I love the bikes, I love the idea of people buying into street art as well as a decent bikes for £350.

Why do you like trading in the area? I am locally born and breed, and like the owner of Conran Estates, I love the idea of supporting local businesses and to revive shopping local.

Would you recommend to others to be a business owner? Definitely, only if they have the stamina, and do not have a fear of rejection!

What is your biggest business achievement thus far? Taking 4 Brake bikes to Amsterdam to feature on an episode on a huge TV show called “I will make you a supermodel”.

What exciting plans do you have for the business going forward? I have clients in Milan, Barcelona and Amsterdam. In 2014 I will be in NYC, LA and Austin

What is your biggest achievement in your personal life? Being an open out cry Future trader.

What interests do you have outside of your work commitments? Spinning, swimming and a Kabbalah student

Where do you live? Blackheath

Why do you like living there? The Village for the shops and restaurants, The heath and park for running in, and easy access to central London

What is your favourite food and your restaurant of choice in the local area? Chapters, Blackheath

What do you love? Turning challenges into opportunities.

Name 3 things that makes you tick? My parents, good friends, travel (although that’s been on hold for a year).

What 4 words would best describe you? Mad, ambitious, caring, and empathetic.