What does an advertising guy know about bicycles? Not much, to be honest.
I have always believed the very best businesses are those that offer us something we have an emotional response to. Less of what does this product or service does, more of how it makes us feel. I guess that’s why I made a career in advertising and creative communication. Words make you feel things.
I vividly remember every single one of my bikes. My first trike had a tray on the back that seemed to be custom made for my little sister’s backside for at least one summer. I was a trike taxi driver doing the driveway route. My next bike was previously my Dad's and this was the one he ran behind, holding my seat steady, as I learned to balance on two wheels. That bike was an indestructible stunt machine. One day at the tender age of nine, my front right toenail was brutally extracted between the chain and pedal sprocket, which of course was the bicycle’s fault. A three speed metallic blue Super 20 (made by Raleigh) was my Evening Post delivery bike and a Red Healing 10 Speed was my college commuter.
Each of these bicycles took me, sans helmet, on boyish adventures all over the Hutt Valley, across the Akatarawas and Haywards Hill Road. Through Bartons Bush to school. To the creek at Wellington Golf Club where gigantic prehistoric eels waited to attack. To an 11 year old girl’s house (I was 10) to deliver some cheap earrings I had procured in exchange for her hand in marriage. My bicycles were freedom machines. Sometimes, I rode so fast, I became airborne for at least a second or two. Then I had to stop for a quick Ventolin puff.
My wife and I moved to postcard perfect Greytown in the South Wairarapa in 2012, at the same time I had gifted Millie a Pashley Britannia for Christmas. The classic lines of the bicycle, the easy 1.5km route from our Villa to the cafes of the village, the beauty of my wife elegantly dressed on her Britannia and a sense of wanting to share all of that joy with others came together to spark the concept of Blackwell and Sons.
Every mechanically inept boy needs a dad who can fix anything. Bill Blackwell, established 1943, is the Blackwell. I am the slightly mad eldest son. Bill has another son and a couple of grandsons too but for now, Blackwell and Sons is supported by the skills and patience of my talented father and designed by the imagination of yours truly. Merchandising vision and design is under the watchful eye of Millie Blackwell, sales and service is supremely executed by the warm and sociable Shane Kelly, and marketing and funny stuff is perfectly crafted by my longest supporting childhood sidekick (since 1979), Colin Barkus. That’s called a dream team.
Blackwell and Sons is designed to help you feel the best you’ve ever felt. Like you’ve made a great decision to look after someone you love, which could of course be yourself. Like you care about the health of the body you inhabit. Like you have a deep appreciation for meticulous craftsmanship and design. Like you are wise with your money. Like you take time to think, observe, appreciate and be thankful for what you have.
We are thankful for everyone we have the chance to share our story and our products with.