Today we’d like to introduce you to Zachary Lambert.
Hi Zachary, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was born in NH and was first introduced to cycling in the 1980’s competitively racing BMX. At the time, it was one of the most popular sports in the country with tracks in every town and races every weekend. In the 1990’s BMX was replaced by the mountain bike explosion where cross country trail networks quickly expanded and winter ski resorts opened up their lifts in the summer.
However, my main sport growing up was alpine ski racing and after college, that is where my passion remained. It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008 that I rediscovered cycling, both on road and off. In 2015 I was getting tired of riding on the streets of LA with an ever-increasing number of distracted drivers, and started pulling back from the more risky mountain bike trails and started riding gravel, essentially an emerging style of riding somewhere in between road and mountain biking. In 2017 I wanted a new bike, something beautiful, durable, worked as a road bike and a gravel bike, all at a price I could afford and after months of searching without finding something that ticked all of the boxes decided to design and manufacture my perfect bike. After I received the second prototype, I left my advertising career of 16 years and officially started building BlackHeart into the business that it is today.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Smooth is a relative term. To me it has been, but to others leaving a 16 years career with a six-figure salary, investing your life savings, learning how to design a bike, finding manufacturing partners domestically and oversees, evolving through multiple rounds of prototyping, learning the logistics of starting a business in California, building a brand, building a community, building sales and fulfillment channels, pitching investors and securing capital, building sales projections, creating a sound business strategy, all while working carpentry during the days and doing the aforementioned on nights and weekends would be anything but smooth. For me, looking back every minute has been worth it. Looking forward, I still see a mountain ahead as I work to scale the business to my goal of being one of the largest DTC bike brands in the world. The key to staying positive and not getting overwhelmed is understanding that there is no top to the mountain. It’s just a long, steady, upward climb where the views get sweeter the higher you go.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
BlackHeart Bike Company is a bicycle manufacturer. The company was started because I was tired of hearing from the existing, large manufacturers that my bike was never fast enough, light enough, or stiff enough. That if I really wanted to ride, I needed to buy the next, new thing year after year. While true for top professionals, none of this was relevant for me. I wanted a beautiful bike that I could have for a lifetime which allowed me to ride on paved and dirt roads simply by having two sets of wheels. And I wanted to buy it from a company that was more than just a logo. From the start, I’ve wanted BlackHeart to be an inclusive brand, and we have worked hard to build community and work with a diverse group of ambassadors. But, this must also include economic means, so our first major step after launching the original titanium frameset is to introduce a lower-priced version which we are aiming to bring to market in the beginning of January 2022. Finally, I just opened a bike store in Venice, CA called Luft with Kristen Kuzemko and Cody Chouinard. Luft is BlackHeart’s current home where we run our demo program and continue our work to expand cycling culture to be as welcoming as possible.
Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
The second post on the company Instagram is of me riding my BMX bike in 1986. I posted it because those of us who were fortunate enough to have bikes as kids remember the feeling of having your first bike – the freedom it instilled, the air blowing through your hair on warm, late summer nights, and all the trouble the two-wheeled machine allowed you to get into. When I ride my BlackHeart, it’s like a time machine back to 1986.
- Titanium frame and seatpost, and carbon fork = $2750
- Full builds start around $5000
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.blackheartbikeco.com
- Instagram: blackheartbikeco
- Youtube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCpuTLK1oeksFNYfw3GyVaSg