‘‘Learned from Shoes and Supercars’’ - Ann’s Voyage
Once in a while Bicle asks one of its friends to contribute to Bicle.com. This time Ann Chen, VP of Velo, was willing to give a little insight into how she stays inspired by looking at other industries. ENJOY!
When Velo VP Ann, An-Rong Chen finished visiting the Velo factory in Shenzhen, she carried her luggage and moved on to Dongguan to embark on an educational tour during a brief break in her busy schedule. Her first stop was to visit shoe designer David Hsieh. David was schooled in the UK. He once worked for the Italian name brand United Colors of Benetton, but was now a consultant to many known shoe brands in Europe, the US and China. He made a special arrangement for Ann to visit a shoe sample-manufacturing factory. “I visited many renowned shoe brands but never had the opportunity to truly observe the manufacturing detail on the production line,” Ann laughed. This was a whole new experience for her.
The similarity between bike saddles and shoes
A sample-manufacturing factory is on the frontlines of shoe production. Though the scale is small, the factory it has the full process of shoemaking from design, pattern making, cutting, sewing, to outsole, put-on last, tack, outsole attaching, molding, packaging et al processes. All types of shoe samples would be reviewed and tested by clients worldwide. Only when the factory receives purchase orders, do these samples enter into production to be finally fitted on the feet of consumers. “The manufacturing process of bicycle saddles and shoes overlaps to a certain degree. Shoe production has a larger scale. The use of new materials and technologies tends to first appear in shoe products. It is therefore very important for us to learn from the shoemaking industry.” Ann listened very carefully to every detail David introduced. He shared his ideas for the future potential of bicycle saddles. “Technology and the application of shoemaking change rapidly. Some materials for shoes or the weaving of shoes may be applied to bicycle saddles in the future. For example, the popular flat knitting seen for sport shoes or high technology fabrics that can sense a physical condition and connect to the mobile phone, these are all full of possibility.”
Finishing the visit of shoe sample manufacturing factory, Ann took the high-speed rail to Hong Kong and visited Lee Tung Street, the Little Europe in Wan Chai. The exotic atmosphere of European style buildings on the streets with red lanterns made Ann laugh brightly. She was highly anticipating the next stop in her schedule – the supercar experience!
McLaren, Rolls Royce and Bentley, three must-sit experiences
Hong Kong supercar specialist Tony Kwok arrived in his bright orange McLaren to meet Ann and take her for a drive to experience the supercar and the sensation of catching everyone’s eye. As the chief strategy officer of a venture capital company and one of the founders to Dragon Capital Group, Tony said the best reward for his hard work was the pleasure of driving supercars. Ann, who shared his love for speed, visited the stores of McLaren, Rolls Royce and Bentley, three supercar household names. The focus was on their design, the top craftsmanship of car manufacturing, and the seat experience that could not be missed by a Velo executive. The speed and workmanship principles of McLaren, and the excellence and luxury of British breeds Rolls Royce and Bentley all have their own look and feel. “One of the most important function of the car seat for these supercars is to increase the sense of speed. The seats thus use lightweight carbon fiber materials and leather, finding balance between design and comfort,” Tony explained carefully. He was the youngest Rolls Royce owner in Hong Kong. He said the supercar was the top end, top of the line, top of the market item. Many styles are limited edition and pricy. However, the perfect fusion of technology and excellence in car manufacturing craftsmanship still attracts fans around the world to make a beeline for the supercars.
Chasing excellent workmanship and quality
When Ann tried out the driver seat or the back seats of these supercars, she was like a fan meeting her favorite idol; she proclaimed her true love. “I love driving. It’s such a great enjoyment to experience in person the aesthetics design and top craftsmanship of these supercars. The sleek details, perfection and excellence are exceptionally beautiful and touching. This has been an impact beyond five senses, making me feel so good and wanting to put the experience into the design and manufacturing of Velo products,” said Ann. There was no difference between Velo’s principles and those of the supercars in seeking excellent workmanship and quality. She wants to make every cyclist with a Velo saddle enjoy the ultimate perfect sensation.
Ann’s two days and one night learning tour gradually came to an end in the Star Ferry in Victoria Harbour. She loved the water and enjoyed the sea breeze. “The trip was short, but the gain was ample. Being able to visit and experience shoemaking and supercars has left me with deeper understanding. Each process, aesthetic concept and function detail brought me enlightenment and inspiration. These will be the vital nutrients for Velo products.” Endless learning, growing and stretching is a vow by Ann and the Velo team. These core values will be on display in every Velo product.
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