9 Things You Should Know About What Could Be Jo’burg’s Coolest Startup

Updated on 27 June 2017

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9 Things You Should Know About What Could Be Jo'burg's Coolest StartupA trio of young Johannesburg-based entrepreneurs – Hussain Van Roos together with co-founders and brothers Mojalefa and Karabo Masopha, in 2014 launched Fixin Diaries in Pimville, Soweto. Their company restores, builds and sells custom bikes.

Fixin Diaries is also building a very loyal customer and fan base through their hosting of monthly events targeted at their specific market – young, hip cycling enthusiasts. The events are held in Soweto and the Johannesburg CBD; and along with cycling rides they have food and entertainment on offer.

The idea is that a customer walks in to buy a bike (some of which can retail for up to thousands of rands), but stays for the community. In the process, Fixin Diaries is redefining cycling culture (there is no spandex), and are making the activity ‘cool’.

Their aesthetic – vintage-inspired and fashionable – is a big part of the brand’s attraction, and is very much led by its founders.

Van Roos, is a social media influencer who is also the face of the men’s fashion brand, Ben Scherman in South Africa, and is also a director of his own brand consultancy firm, I Am Hussain.

Their look is also strongly communicated on their social media platforms where they not only share images of bikes, but also their collaborations with big brands and magazine-worthy images of their monthly meet ups.

A Social Movement

As Van Roos explains, the idea was always to build something of a social movement from which everyone could benefit.

“We are social entrepreneurs at heart and the service we offer goes beyond the bikes themselves as we take pride in the community we have managed to build and cultivate through all our collaborations and efforts. Through our business and its initiatives part of our vision is to enrich the community – we ourselves are from Soweto – through social engagement and activity,” he says.

Find out how a simple idea to get Jo’burgers on bikes turned into a social movement. Here are 9 things you should know about the growing brand and its co-founder.

1. Co-founder, Van Roos, was inspired by his love of all things vintage 
“Just a pure love for bicycles and vintage recycling (giving old things new life).”


2. The idea was conceived and originated in Soweto, Johannesburg 
“Well, it kicked off with occasional bicycle rides around Soweto, and naturally it started to evolve, with food offerings then entertainment, which then led to it becoming a social gathering.”


Girls just wanna have fun ??? #fixindiaries #chisanyamacruise #latergram #cycling #ridesoweto

A post shared by Fix’in Diaries (@fixindiaries) on 

3. The concept is a constant work in progress 
“You know at times one doesn’t even sleep because of the constant ideas, re-strategising, applying new concepts, reinventing the wheel, and just basically making it work. [This also includes] tailor making the gatherings to suit each and everyone in our client base and potential market.”


4. They are working to redefine ‘cycling culture’
“My customer is the person who loves being outside, loves the idea of cycling, but hates the spandex tights. They want to do this thing called cycling and look cool whilst doing it. Of course they enjoy an occasional brew post the rides.”


This is what living with heart is to us Ph. @benmoyo #LIVEWITHHEART

A post shared by Fix’in Diaries (@fixindiaries) on 

5. They learnt earlier on that building a community of like-minded individuals keeps their customers coming back
“The market is rather fleeting. They buy the bike once and bam, they disappear! However, the key thing is to always keep them coming back by expanding your offering, allowing them to take the bicycle and make it part of their everyday lives.


Ready for round two. #togcog

A post shared by Fix’in Diaries (@fixindiaries) on 

6. They are mastering both the product and its ‘look and feel’
“We just keep their eyes glued on the craftsmanship. Quality event images will always entice people to keep coming back. Also, random competitions always get people engaged.”


7. You don’t have to be a customer to join the community
Fixin Diaries isn’t the only cycling shop, but its the only reasonably priced. But peeps will still buy from competitors and come and ride with us.”


8. They source materials locally
“It’s become a real pain to source steel frames, now it’s even got me thinking of importing, and this defeats the purpose of locally sourcing, thus the best way out of this jam is to create a manufacturing plant.”


Not sure how the client feels yet. But hey, it’s enroute to him @mpangethechap. #LIVEWITHHEART

A post shared by Fix’in Diaries (@fixindiaries) on 

9. They are in the early stages of a partnership with US bike company, Schwinn
“There will always be a clash of ideas, knocking of heads, but always remember why you partnered up. You had a bright idea and the next person complemented the idea and you pursued it. Get back to that!”


All Images Courtesy: Fixin Diaries/Hussain Van Roos/Celebrity Services Africa

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