Pair’s bright idea to customise bikes leads to TV fame
9:30am Thursday 13th September 2012 in By Scott D'Arcy
A YOUNG entrepreneur is set to take his business up a gear after winning the backing of juice business mogul Richard Reed on a BBC show aired last night.
Twenty-one-year-old Jezz Skelton and his pal Ben Harrison, 21, started their customisable fashion bike business while at university together and applied for BBC Three show Be Your Own Boss in a bid to take it to the next level.
After beating thousands of applicants to make it to an exhibition in June this year the pair, with their brand Mango Bikes, were handpicked by Innocent Smoothie supremo Reed to appear in the six-part series.
And last night, as cameras tracked their every move, they were revealed as the winners of a £50,000 cash injection, with Reed as a personal mentor.
But Jezz said it was not a totally smooth ride.
“We were so pleased to be picked for the show and it’s amazing to have got Richard’s backing,” he said.
“He’s such a nice guy in person but it’s funny because I think for TV he was made out to be quite harsh.
“In the last meeting we had with him he was really hard on us and that was a bit of a shock but we managed to stand up to it.
“And at one point on the show there was one moment when we were about to launch the website and I’ve got my head in my hands because the developers could not get the site online – it was quite dramatic.”
Jezz, who picked up a 2.1 degree in marketing from Swansea University this year, said the idea for the brand came from the pair’s interest in business and bikes.
Currently operating from an industrial estate in Ashton Keynes, Jezz himself deconstructs single-gear models Ben sources from Taiwan before rebuilding them to order, with everything – even down to the pedals – being customisable.
“We wanted to be a different to other bike companies out there and it is really a fashion brand,” Jezz said.
“Fixed-gear bikes are a bit of a craze in London and other cities and so far we have managed to sell 100 bikes in just two months.”
Last night’s episode is available to watch online at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer and the rest of the series will be aired every Wednesday at 9pm on BBC Three.
To see Jezz and Ben’s products, visit their website at www.mangobikes.co.uk