When you got up this morning it was shaping up to be a beautiful day. The sun was just starting to filter through the trees and peek in the kitchen window as the rich smell of fresh coffee filled the air. Everything was going well as you set out on your bike filled with a warm glow and the promise of the gorgeous afternoon yet to come.
But at a point, what had been such a warm and friendly sky turned to a tumultuous tempest, darkening the view overhead and threatening to unleash a torrent.
So what do you do when you’re caught unprepared, in the rain and on the wrong side of town on your bike? Well, you can either resign yourself to soaking up that rear wheel wetness, or you can devise a makeshift solution to save yourself the spray.
Ass Savers founder Staffan Weigel was faced with just such a decision one afternoon a few years ago and as you might guess, Staffan came up with a clever way to protect his pants for the rainy ride home. Meet the man behind the brand, Staffan Weigel.
We love simple, smart solutions for cycling like Ass Savers. How was the idea born?
I was leaving my previous work one day and discovered that it was raining. Not equipped with any mudguards on my bike, I went back inside, found a piece of cardboard that I jammed under the saddle, and to my big surprise managed to get home fairly dry. As a product designer, I immediately started sketching on a more refined version of the concept. After some reassuring prototypes I realized that I might be onto something and convinced a few of my friends to set up a team that could launch the product.
We love the name "Ass Savers." Is this how the brand has been known from the beginning? Was there any debate over the name from your stakeholders?
When we first started out, we didn't expect it to grow beyond our closest group of friends, and as a project name it was perfect. Once it snowballed, we realized that it still was a great asset so we have never questioned that choice of name, quite the opposite.
Who is a typical Ass Savers customer? Where do they live and what kind of riding do they do?
Contrary to what one might believe, the typical Ass Saved is a male 25-35 who rides road bikes for training purposes. The second largest user is slightly younger and rides a single speed or fixed gear bike, still male. They live all over the world but our main markets are the UK, Germany, U.S., Netherlands and Japan.
What is a "smart solution" from another brand or company you really admire?
I really like the shoe covers from Velotoze. They have a genius product and similar birth story. The founders are two doctors/cyclists who work with latex gloves all day. Normal shoe covers are generally crappy products. By cross breeding their experiences from different fields, they truly managed to innovate.
"My bike commute, although only 10 minutes, is my on/off switch from work."― Staffan Weigel
Can you describe your daily commute, Staffan?
My daily cycle commute is unfortunately rather short, but it takes me through some nice neighborhoods of Berlin. I pass the Landwehr canal and go through Görlitzer Park. In the summertime, when there are a lot of people hanging out in the park, I quite often just stop to hang out for a while. There's a small espresso joint on the way that I also visit frequently in the mornings.
My bike commute, although only 10 minutes, is my on/off switch from work. As an entrepreneur, it's important to be able to disconnect and this short ride mostly works for me. Sometimes I extend it on my way home if I need more time on the bike.
A map of Staffan's commute in Berlin: