Anyone with kids knows that scooters are really cool and a whole lot of fun. Less known, however, is that scooters are increasingly not just for kids. In fact, they are for the whole family and are rapidly finding a growing niche for adult commuters in urban markets.
Just ask Julie Hawksworth, president of Micro Kickboard,
the U.S. distributor of Micro, a growing business located 5090 Kendrick Ct SE, Grand Rapids.
From Hawksworth’s perspective, scooters are the perfect mode of transit for urban living. They can connect the last mile of a commute, from a bus or a train, to the office that is about twice as fast as walking and multiple times more fun.
“We first discovered the Micro brand while living in 2003,” she says. “Walking our daughter to school, we spotted a commuter on a scooter and fell in love (with the scooter). At first glance, we could see the design and quality were exceptional, and that day we ordered the first of what would become many Micros for our family. We immediately loved that it was fuel-free, foldable, and incredibly smooth-gliding. We also loved how it turned our 20-minute walk to school into a 10-minute scoot. Riding our Micros also was fun; we rode to restaurants, to school and to the park.”
After living in the United Kingdom, Hawksworth and her husband, Geoff, had the opportunity to move to Michigan, and they felt there was an opportunity to not only share their love of scooters with the U.S. market, but to build a solid business.
“In 2007, events conspired to take us from the U.K. to the U.S., where the Micro brand was in transition. With the help of Micro HQ in Switzerland and our friends from Micro UK, we started Micro Kickboard to distribute Micro products in the USA, where the quality of Micro's design and manufacture was already taking scooting to a new level, for adults as well as children,” she says. “As the official U.S. distributor for Micro, we make the products available via our website (microkickboard.com
) and via a variety of specialty stores across the U.S., including lifestyle, baby, sporting, bike, travel, and toy. You also can find Micro at a handful of museum shops, most recently at the [Museum of Modern Art in New York].“
Business is definitely on the upswing, especially with the adult scooter market. “Three to four years ago, people would laugh about adults using scooters, but it is now much more normalized. The quality is exceptionally high, and it feels like an adult activity,” says Hawksworth.
To support the growth, Micro Kickboard has several job openings. The 15-person firm is looking to add three new positions: web developer (experience with e-commerce preferred), business development (researching new markets and urban transport trends) and order processing/sales support.
Hawksworth says working at her company will be fun, creative and collaborative. “As Micro's family in the U.S., our team here in Grand Rapids is united by a passion for scooting the great outdoors,” she says. “When we founded Micro Kickboard, we made it our goal to work to be as good as the products. Given the almost non-stop innovation coming out of Switzerland, it is a continual challenge. We try to improve each and every day, which makes the work fun and the fun work.”
You can learn more about Micro Kickboard here.
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor