Tell us a little bit about Terumi (her story leading up to the inception of VALLKREE) …
I’m a Japanese girl who loves surfing and working with lifestyle products. I moved to Australia in 2006, after university life and working in sports manufacturer & real estate investment company in Tokyo, Japan.
I started my own business, which is a distribution company of Japanese surfing accessories, in 2008.
I couldn’t speak English at that time but my passion made it possible. I could be the first person who brought Japanese surfing brands and products into Australia!!!
My partner and I moved to Byron Bay together in 2013, as he wanted to be involved in the local art industry of creative Byron shire. Our warehouse is in the Byron art & industry estate which is 7 min’s away from town… if no traffic. But during the peak of summer in Byron Bay, which seems to be becoming more permanent, the drive to town or the surf was more like 30-45mins due to the traffic jammed single road to town.
We started thinking: – “how can we better commute, eco consciously, free of traffic?” And so we began to develop VALLKREE Electric Bikes with a vintage inspired vibe, to give them wings, to glide through and to the village and beaches of Byron Bay.
Can you tell us a little bit about the bikes? What are they made of? How do they work? How fast can they go? Where can they go?
The bikes are built around a purpose-built alloy and steel construct, powered by an electric motor, and lithium battery. When unrestricted, you can read a cursing speed of up to 50kph. With a distance, anywhere from 20km to 50km depending on variables, that’s per charge.
Where did the inspiration for VALLKREE come from?
Vallkree inspiration came about from a need to commute in a simpler and more sustainable way. VALLKREE Electric bikes are built on a need for a fun eco commute to avoid the traffic coming into Byron Bay during the rush of summer.
The VALLKREE bike rider is a people person who likes an opportunity to take a risk and beat the system by being eco-friendly to avoid the everyday rat race.
Never afraid of a challenge or an adventure. The VALLKREE is ambitious, free spirited and stylish with a humble persona that make’s life easy.
The inspiration of our original model: Board Tracker is based on the beautiful vintage styling of the 1920’s board tracker. And our new models: Scrambler and Drifter are upgraded version of Board Tracker.
For all the start-ups out there – how did you go about starting VALLKREE?
When I started the TOOLS business, I also set up a business structure; importing products into Australia, and exporting into Japan. So I was luckily to be involved & set up the several businesses by the time when I started the VALLKREE, which is definitely bonus, as I knew the business opportunity was there from my experience. Also I could invest $ into VALLKREE from previous business. For the start-up, Research, research, investment, design & production, build trail, try & error & fix, marketing & sales.
How has the market responded to VALLKREE?
Incredibly well, I think as a society, we’re ready for a more sustainable way to commute.
Has there been a major obstacle that you’ve had to face and overcome so far on the VALLKREE journey?
Not really, I think just to look at the obstacles and there will be plenty in any business as the learning experience is what I find very important, but if you are passionate about your product and what you are doing, that is a part of the amazing experience.
Tell me – what does it feel like to ride a VALLKREE bike, especially around your beautiful hometown of Byron Bay?
FREEDOM, free exhilarating, fun, being happy and social!
Do you have a mantra or quote that you live by? Or perhaps something that will inspire the Side Life community…
Follow your passion, never give up, believing yourself, being persistent on a daily basis, have fun with it and remember why you started a business in the first place, for me it was freedom, fun and independence, also being able to give back to you.
Not only are you VALLKREE, but I understand you have your entrepreneurial fingers in a number of other business pies. Can you tell us: a) what they are; and b) how do you find balance with so many tasks to complete for so many different ventures each day?
When I started the TOOLS business, I set up my company as an Import&Export agency.
For export business… I could manage to pick up some other brands products, like wax, sunglasses, surfboards and even fiberglass, selling into Japan. For import business, TOOLS as well as, Custom made wetsuits called TRM wetsuits which I created. So balance can be pretty hard to achieve, a lot of late nights seem normal. I’m fortunate to have a great business partner to support me which is great. yay.
Looking to the future… What does a perfect future look like through Terumi’s eyes?
VALLKREE is a lifestyle brand.
I’d like to set up VALLKREE LIFESTYLE all over the world, which is my next venture.