Meet Daisy Chiu, one of the visionary founders of CASA BIKES, a trailblazing brand on a mission to revolutionize the US bicycle market with exceptional products from Mexican brands.
Born out of necessity during the supply chain shortage in 2020, CASA BIKES emerged as a beacon of innovation. When traditional channels failed to deliver, they turned to Mexico, uncovering a thriving network of companies producing high-quality outdoor gear. Championing eco-friendly manufacturing and workers’ rights, CASA BIKES are a symbol of conscious consumerism. Stop by the shop at 520 Kendall Street to meet Daisy, Charles, and Elder and explore their inventory.
What inspired you to start CASA BIKES, and how did the idea to bring Mexican bicycle products to the US market come about during the supply chain shortage in 2020?
As many things often are, CASA BIKES & OUTDOOR GEAR was born out of necessity. At the start of the pandemic, we were in the bicycle retail industry, and it had become impossible to get the products our customers needed from our traditional channels. We were scrambling to find products from any corner of the world that would sell to us, from Taiwan to Portugal to Australia. It was a hassle every step of the way. Finally, we turned our search south of the border, which was ironically our last resort. Even though Mexico is the second largest exporter of goods to the US, 98% of bikes and outdoor gear products still come from Asia. We had no idea that there was a huge THRIVING network of companies in Latin America making really high-quality outdoor gear. They had plenty of inventory for us to choose from, and because they were so close to the US, their products would come to us in days instead of months. Our experience was so positive, we changed our entire business model to support and sell these brands.
The focus on promoting products made by hard-working Mexicans and Indigenous Peoples of Mexico is commendable. How does CASA BIKES foster a sense of pride and support for these local communities?
Well, to be honest, the workmanship speaks for itself. Products made in Latin America are higher quality, made more ethically and sustainably. Plus Latin American workers are represented by unions that ensure better working conditions, fair wages, and benefits. Knowing this, we spend a lot of time championing these products and publicizing them as much as we can. It’s a huge source of pride for the folks in Latin America and for Latinx communities here in the Greater Boston Area. We recently had people visiting from Mexico stop by our shop in Kendall who were shocked but really excited that these brands are getting love here in the States.
As the founder, what have been the most rewarding moments for you and the team at CASA BIKES since its inception?
Honestly, nothing prepared us for the relationships that we have built with the owners of these companies. It is still a shock to us, because we are sometimes visiting factories in industrial parks as big as the entire Seaport, yet we are being treated like family. They visit us here in Boston and even attend trade shows with us. These companies are so eager to show the world what they can do, it’s just been a pleasure getting to work with them.
With the growing popularity of sustainability and conscious consumerism, how does CASA BIKES incorporate eco-friendly practices and values in its operations and product selections?
Well, when it comes to sustainability, there is a clear benefit to producing in Latin America. Products have to travel less to get to their intended destination in the US, and Latin American manufacturers have more strict guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, many of our partner factories are LEED Certified. Some even make a point of using recycled raw materials in their production. Our partnerships with Latin American manufacturers have made sustainable manufacturing more realistic than ever for US-based outdoor brands. Creating a greener supply chain is beneficial to the environment and better for our customers. On the other hand, when it comes to ethical consumption, we are big on workers’ rights and social impact. The working conditions at the factories we partner with are such that hard work is encouraged, but workers are compensated fairly and treated generously. It makes us very happy to know that we can sell products that are not exploiting a labor force.
As a brand that brings together Mexican craftsmanship and US customers, what message or experience do you hope your customers take away when they interact with CASA BIKES and its products?
At the end of the day, we simply love outdoor activities and the gear that makes them more enjoyable. The products we sell are also the products we use, from bikes to backpacks to apparel to tents – we believe in the products we sell. With CASA BIKES & OUTDOOR GEAR, you are getting really good stuff while helping to make a difference in the outdoor industry. Every purchase goes a little further in making this space more equitable and sustainable.