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Jen Geale

Palm Beach, SEQ

Mountain Bikes Direct sells mountain bikes, parts, clothes and accessories for avid mountain bike riding enthusiasts. The business is part of the new world of online retail, and champions digital business, remote working and retail innovation.

Hey, my name is Jen Geale. I'm co-founder of Mountain Bikes Direct, and I'm based on the Gold Coast.

Mountain Bikes Direct is an online only retailer; we sell mountain bike parts, clothing, and accessories to riders around Australia, and it's our mission to make sure that they can access the best parts at globally competitive prices.

I think the best way to learn about online retail in a ways is to get in there and do it. To a certain extent there's fairly low barriers to entry, setting up a website, getting a bit of stock and putting it out there, so you can definitely get in and experiment and learn by doing.

We're currently operating on 10 staff. We're expanding at the moment; we've currently got job ads out there, so it's a really exciting time for our team.

We have been the recipient of a Queensland Government grant to help us with our business structure.

Our business is owned by 4 people, 2 couples, and I can honestly say that we have really helped and supported each other, and I think that's been the biggest, or one of the biggest factors, in our success to date.

Moving from physical retail to online retail has definitely had its challenges. One of our points of difference, I think, as a business is in trying to put a face to our side of the business and then trying to connect on a personal level with our customers.

At 16, Michael Geale, a keen mountain bike rider, was quoted an exorbitant price for a bike part because it was 'hard to get'. He knew there had to be a better way. He began sourcing his own parts and selling them to friends. The difficulty was that many wholesalers and big brands were reluctant to provide products to a 'kid' with no experience and no shop.

Teaming up with his riding buddy Tim, they persisted and 18 months later opened a shop that became one of the go-to stores for mountain bikers in South East Queensland. A decade later when the competition from overseas online retailers was increasing, Michael and Tim, along with their wives Jen and Mel, decided to shift the focus to e-commerce and began developing a separate, online-only retailer. It took a while and mistakes were made, but over 3 years the web-based business flourished. They sold the shop-front and focused on their online success.

On the back of this success, Mountain Bikes Direct launched their Dollars for Dirt program. Every month, the company selects 3 groups who are achieving good things for mountain bike riding in their local community.

Mountain Bikes Direct are proud to be a 50% female-owned business. With staff located across Australia, they are also proud to provide flexible working options for their employees. Mountain Bikes Direct have won multiple awards that recognise their outstanding financial performance and innovative strategies.

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