LONDON CYCLIST MEETS CORNWALL BASED DESIGNER
Q&A with Pete Haycocks, one of Cactus Tongues directors.
So how did Cactus Tongue happen? I was working in Cornwall when I met Jon, the designer of the Cactus Tongue. I thought it was a great product with a lot of potential. At the time it was being manufactured overseas which made costs and quality impossible to manage. I joined the team and we decided that by improving the quality and providing a choice of coloured leather sleeves that it would really appeal to the growing number of discerning cyclists that had to store their bikes in their homes. We really thought we had a timeless classic design that would last longer than the bike that was hanging from it. We bought production to the UK and developed a road bike specific product which has now become our flagship product, the SSL-Roadie Bike hanger.
Cactus Tongue, strange name...why? Well, when Jon was designing the prototype he made a flat cardboard pattern. As it lay on the studio table the shape of the pattern was reminiscent of a giant Saguaro cactus from the Sonoran desert. Then in curving the the prongs to hold the bike, they looked rather like tongues....a cactus with tongues! At that moment the name was created - Cactus Tongue.
Why make your products in the UK? A number of reasons. Primarily control, we can tweak designs and introduce improvements fairly easily. We have some great production partners in the UK which we have worked with to expand our range of products. Costs may be a bit more but I think people are prepared to pay for quality. During the pandemic having a UK supply chain really came into its own with very little disruption to our production and distribution.
What are your plans for world domination? We started out slowly, only selling direct to cyclists and retailers. We then struck up a very strong relationship with Windwave, one of the UK's key cycling distributors. Last year we introduced some new products to our range which has helped us grow. The team at Windwave have been great to work with and have helped us become a much stronger brand. We now have distributors in Indonesia (Spinwarriors) and in France (Alternativsport) and sell our products internationally, direct to cyclists and retailers. We're currently looking for the right distributor in the U.S. but there is no rush, we ship quite a bit of product directly to cyclists in the U.S.
How much cycling do you manage to do? Not nearly enough at the moment! Living in South West London I have the Surrey Hills and Richmond park close by. Some of my favourite riding has been on my childhood classic Raleigh bike, (now restored), struggling over 100 miles in the beautiful Peak District on the Eroica Britannia classic festival ride. However, nothing beats long days in the Pyrenees on my Colnago C59, one day soon I hope to be there again!