How Rizoma plans to infiltrate the U.S. and Harley (V-Twin) market
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t was 2001 when Fabrizio and his brother Fabio first had an idea to start a motorcycle parts company. That idea sprouted from a conversation with a motorcycle rider who was looking for a mirror for his motorcycle. Fabrizio Rigolio, who has a background in design, and Fabio, who has a background in machining, made the man a mirror frame. Impressed with the design, the brothers realized they could build more motorcycle parts and began going to dealers to try and sell them. Dealers accepted the products and even motivated the brothers to start a business. And thus, Rizoma was born.
Today, Rizoma is headquartered just outside of Milan, Italy, and is a worldwide company with roughly 100 employees. Rizoma is present in Europe with offices in France, Germany and Spain, and has a presence in the United States with an office in Beverly Hills, California.
The company has come a long way from just making mirror frames. Rizoma now offers full accessory product lines for universal use, super sport, street, and custom motorcycles for makes such as BMW, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Triumph, Suzuki, Yamaha, and more.
Although the accessory company boasts many motorcycle brands for which it has created products, you’ll notice there is a rather large OEM left off the list.
“Currently, Rizoma is looking into entering the Harley-Davidson market,” says Fabrizio Rigolio, Rizoma CEO. “In about six months we should have a Harley-Davidson product line. The Harley market is very saturated and full of manufacturers. We want to try to use our DNA to realize something a little bit different in this market.”
A big part of creating a Harley-Davidson product line involves Rizoma stepping up its presence in the U.S. “We also want to be a brand in the United States, which isn’t easy,” Rigolio says. “In other parts of the world we already have a good brand identity. In the United States we are much less known, so that is a challenge.”
To start, Rizoma plans to make available its whole accessory line that is currently offered in Europe and other countries to the U.S. market, and as recognition grows, it plans to update the line for the market.
“We want to make sure that we are following our plan as we enter this market, because otherwise we won’t have a sense of whether the U.S. will buy something from Italy if it’s just the same product as what’s already available,” he says. “We want to reach and influence the market, ultimately ending up in the best position. Our product is recognized by its design, function and quality in the markets we’re in, but the U.S. doesn’t know us as well. We will need strong leadership, and will have to make the move step-by-step.”
Rigolio notes that the core of Rizoma is its attention to design, quality and function. It’s these things that should make Rizoma attractive to the U.S. market and can give it a leg up in the Harley (V-Twin) market. While R&D plays a big role in its product making process, so do the consumers themselves.
“You definitely have to pay attention to trends in the markets and in the industry,” Rigolio says. “But I also believe that if your products are good enough you can build a trend.”
[pullquote]“We want to try to use our DNA to realize something a little bit different in the market.”[/pullquote]
For example, last year Rizoma made a complete line for the Ducati Scrambler showing how the company would want to build the bike.
“If you are one of the best at making products, you can more or less create a trend,” he says. “You’re not always able to do that, but it is our focus and aspiration.
“We also try to capture inspiration from the consumers. We try to take what customers experience and put that into our research for new products. All that research is our job and part of our designs. There is also social media, which helps us gather new information from consumers.”
While Rizoma places a large importance on listening to the industry and the consumers, Rigolio makes certain that the company doesn’t stray too far from its core values.
“We could create a clothing line because we are already there in terms of distribution, but we don’t want to do that because it’s not in our values,” Rigolio says. “We want to respect the fact that we make products here in Italy. We think about and realize new concepts. We don’t just take a product and put our stamp on it and sell it. That’s not the Rizoma way.”
A clothing line may not be in the near future or in line with Rizoma’s core values, but Rigolio knows he has to be open to new possibilities as the company continues to grow.
“Today, we have a company with more than 1,000 products,” he explains. “I don’t know that we want to have any big plan for the future because we want to be flexible with the trends, but we have to keep our eyes open. In the next year, Harley-Davidson and the U.S. is our focus. We want to recognize our values and build something different.”