Those of you that have strolled into the Fyxation bicycle shop in Riverwest, may not know the whole story behind the company that designs their own bicycles and parts. The concept for the brand and their original product first came to light in 2009 when owners Nick and Jessica Ginster were living in Taiwan. An idea popped into Nick Ginster's head to design a bicycle tire for fixed gear bikes that had both sturdy tread and was available in multiple colors; a niche in the market. He was originally contracted by a company to make the tire, but they backed out. So, with the encouragement from his wife Jessica, they decided to invest in the brand and take the tire to market. At the same time, Nick's brother Ben Ginster came on the team to run the accounting and logistical side of the business. With a perfectly balanced group of people driven to succeed, the company was born.
Originally from Milwaukee, Nick and Jessica first met over 20 years ago while working together at a bike shop. Nick worked as a mechanic and Jessica was the store manager. They were brought together by their love for bicycling, health and spreading adventure. Nick was always mechanically inclined and an avid biker since a child, and at the age of 13, he disassembled a snow blower engine to create a gas-powered bicycle. His mom looked at his dad and said "engineer." The rest is history. Jessica, however, has a background in health, science and community engagement. She has a natural talent of adapting to rapidly changing circumstances and understanding the needs of Fyxation’s customers.
Before moving back to Milwaukee in 2009 to start Fyxation, the couple lived in Taiwan for five years because of Nick’s job that involved overseas production of bicycle products. He later took that knowledge to start his own company (still in Taiwan), doing product design and product sourcing overseas for U.S. companies. When Nick and Jessica came back to the United States, they first presented their fixed gear tire with Ben at the world’s largest bicycle trade show. “Fyxation has always been a Milwaukee company and Milwaukee is our home,” says Nick.
The business took off when they found distributers to sell their product through bike shops around the U.S. and globally, but this did not happen by luck. It was a "very tactical approach," explains Jessica. Their well laid-out plan combined with years of experience allowed the company to grow quickly. Soon after their tire was on the market, other companies began making competitive tires so Fyxation started diversifying their products to include pedals, parts, accessories, frames, and then bikes.
“That has developed into the product line that you see today," says Nick. "We are quick to change when we need to. But from the beginning of our brand, we always made quality affordable products and we still do that.”
The time came when they needed a local warehouse. The natural choice was to use the Pedal Milwaukee building in the Silver City neighborhood. The building was formerly owned by Tom Schuler of Team Sports but Fyxation just bought the space. Until that point, Fyxation only sold their products through other bike shops, but when people started knocking on the door of the warehouse looking for a Fyxation store, the team decided it was time to open a public storefront, so they could better connect with their Milwaukee customers. “We had never been very good at telling our story locally," explains Nick, "and when we opened the store, we had a public front and decided to change that.” So, in 2014, the company opened the store you now know in Riverwest.
Fyxation has continued to grow over the years, both in their production and community outreach. One of their first local projects was designing a custom bike for Colectivo and have since expanded that by designing custom bikes for Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee County Parks, Wisconsin Bike Fed, Goose Island, Nike and many other partners. Nick's favorite project they've done recently is their custom-designed bike for the Milwaukee people's flag. The bike was in such high demand that they decided to do a limited run of 40 bikes, which sold out in under a year. “We really believe in cycling and trying to help out in our communities as much as we can," says Nick. It's impossible to list all of the ways Fyxation gives back in a short blog post, but to name a few, they host and support local organizations like DRAFT Milwaukee and Black Girls Do Bike. Fyxation also donates to organizations outside of biking like Lymphoma & Cancer Society, Progressive Community Health Centers and Feeding America.
Everything they do as a company comes back to their core mission: to deliver adventure. Fyxation wants to be a place where people of all ethnicities, backgrounds and experience levels feel comfortable to get on a bike and ask questions. “One of the strongest suits that I bring is the fact that I am a female in a male-dominated industry and I’m also a woman of color," states Jessica. "For me, it’s all about empowering the consumer, empowering the community. Knowledge is power so let’s share the knowledge I’ve gained with people who are intimidated." Biking is for everyone, whether you're the urban commuter, the mountain bike adventurer or the person that occasionally wants a little wind in your hair. Stop by their shop so they can find the perfect bike to fit your style and help you discover your adventure.
Visit Fyxation's website to get in touch or see their product line.