Our marketing guy Ailar is celebrating two years with the team today. It was quite intriguing how Ailar joined the family of Viks owners and how it paved the way to became a team member of Velonia Bicycles. Kristo did a small interview with him about how he got here, and how’s the journey been so far.
Kristo: You met our team through beer contest? What’s the story behind that?
Ailar: Yes, it’s half true. I had worked in a bike shop and I actually knew Indrek a bit, but I „really“ met Viks team and saw the bike in real life through beer contest – Saku brewery gave away free Viks bike in a word game and somehow happened, that I was the winner.
I remember when I was sitting in a bus, and friend wrote to our Facebook group chat, that „Ailar your one real fucker, because you won the Viks bike.“ I was like “No way!!! You gotta be kidding me!!!! But it was true. I was so freaking happy you cannot imagine.
Kristo: To be honest, we were happy too about what happened. It was kind of relief to see that the new owner was open minded and stylish bloke who could carry the idea of Viks lifestyle on. I even heard that people were suspicious about how nicely it wentJ When did you got the idea, that you wanted to work for a bike company?
Ailar: I got into bikes in 2008. Like after school we took our super market bikes and went dirt jumping, after that I got more involved in bikes year by year. I had worked in bike shops, but I always dreamed about working beyond bike shops, to be part of team creating things and brands, not executing what others have done. I must say I have always been quite entrepreneur minded person. Because Viks (and our brand for racing and sportive bikes – Velonia) was the only bicycle manufacturer in Estonia, I had the thought to ask them if it’s possible to come and to an internship. I had the thought soon after Viks was launched, but you know in life we tend to procrastinate questions, if we are not sure about the answer. After winning the bike I thought like „screw it, I have nothing to lose“.
Kristo: I remember that I took you to long bike rides to find out who you really are. We had really interesting conversations not only about cycling and bikes but other things as well. How was the beginning looked like?
Ailar: I probably wrote a motivation letter/CV something to you and you made a proposal to meet up before cycling season closing party. It was actually quite embarrassing, because I had a friends birthday before the meeting and you told me it will be a chill meetup, so the result was I came to the „interview“ in a quite jolly mood. But you were still able to saw the spark and today two years ago we signed the internship contract and rest is history.
Kristo: How has Viks, the company and team changed during that time?
Ailar: I would say it has changed, but on the other side it has not. I think we are much more known now, compared to times two years ago, also the quality of the bikes has improved a lot. On the brand side, it’s not a bicycle anymore, it’s a lifestyle. Team has stayed the same, just professionally I think we all have developed as professionals a lot. What is best about the team, is that everybody is passionate about what they do and it’s more like a group of friends than corporate bullshit. It’s so important to have a team, with who you can argue about things and decisions and know that no one will take it personally, because it’s everyone’s interest to offer better customer experience.
Kristo: We took you on-board pretty much as carte blanche. You’ve learned and developed so much during that time and new opportunities have unfolded because of that. It is not rare these days when Estonian startups are coming to us and ask about how they should do their thing (social media for example). That is excellent way to meet new people and maybe to do something together. At the same time it’s making me really proud that we’ve been noticed, that we achieved something and are able to help people out. Has Viks changed your life in wider scale?
Ailar: Most definitely. I wouldn’t be working in one of the best advertising agencies in Estonia today, if I would had not written this letter to Viks guys, a bit more than two years ago. I’m thankful until I die to you and Indrek, because they trusted their brand in the hands of 19 years old school boy, this is something super ballsy, but I guess you saw something in me. Of course it wasn’t like „here is Viks, make it big“, the responsibility has grown a lot from the beginning. It has been an honour.