Xavier Claveria, bike lover and entrepreneur above all, is the founder and CEO of Santafixie.com, the first multi-brand e-commerce site in Spain specialized in selling fixed-gear bicycles and accessories for urban bikers.
Name: Xavier Claveria Masip
Academic training and occupation: Degree in Economics and MA in Accounting, Business Finance and Management. I work in the e-commerce sector.
Languages: Catalan, Spanish, English
Interview:We started working with Xavier to translate and proofread the contents of santafixie.com after meeting him at several e-commerce events, like the Barcelona E-commerce Club. We recently asked him if he would be interested in being part of our blog, and here you have the result.
How would you introduce yourself to our readers? By the way, what kind of bicycle do you have? Do you bike to work?
I would introduce myself as an ordinary guy who left his job one day and moved to London to study. That changed my life. I bought a fixie to get around and I liked it so much that I decided to create Santafixie.com. From then on, I have always biked around the city. I have two fixies… and a mountain bike that I no longer use much.
Santa Fixie was founded in 2011. Why did you decide to call your company Santa Fixie? You give fixed-gear bicycles the same status of Teresa of Ávila. Are you a fanatic believer or do you also respect other creeds, like that of mountain bikes? All jokes aside, which one would you recommend? Which is the right bike for you?
At the beginning, two friends of mine lent me a hand with the website and the name. We were discussing the matter at a meeting and Pol, one of my friends, asked me about the virtues of fixies. We realized that they gave so much for so little. In this way they were like “saints”; hence the name: Santafixie.
Regarding your question, I don’t consider myself a fanatic believer. I like all kinds of bicycles. In fact, when I was given my first mountain bike in 1990, as a child, I really enjoyed it and went biking all the time with my friends.
That being said, every bicycle has its purpose, and for getting around the city you don’t need a MTB, which –as their name points out- are bicycles for riding in the mountains. That’s why we always recommend people buy an urban bike, whether or not it is a fixie. There are plenty of choices!
Over the last few years, we have witnessed a clear rise in the number of bicycles on the streets of Barcelona. Why do you think that is?
I think people are realizing that bicycles have many advantages: they are eco-friendly, they are a good way to get some exercise, and they are cheap in comparison to public and private transport. I see that young people, who in the past usually wanted a motorbike, now prefer fixies. These generations are the ones that will fuel more regular use of the bicycle in cities. They are the future, and maybe without knowing it they are marking the future of our city.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where quitting smoking is of little use, since the air we breathe is already harmful. Bearing this in mind… is switching to bicycles just an alternative or is it more of a moral imperative?
It’s cool to bike, and, besides, if you don’t make any noise or have to fill up the tank, what more do you want? Hopefully, in the future we will see cities with a lot more bikes and pedestrians, and a lot fewer cars; and that doesn’t go against economic progress. An example of this can be seen in cities like Amsterdam, Montreal, Copenhagen, London etc., where bicycles are key to day-to-day urban transportation… and they are not exactly “poor” cities.
Your online shop is available in both English and Spanish, and it is currently being translated into French as well. What is the potential of the French-speaking market? Is there a more deep-rooted bicycle culture in France or Belgium than in Spain?
Use of the bicycle as an urban mode of transport is generally more common in northern Europe. We have many French and, to a lesser extent, Belgian customers that buy our products using the English version of the website. We really hope that, soon enough, we will sell as much in France as in Spain with the French translation of the website.
You have an attractive, interesting blog. What are you more comfortable with, selling bikes or communication?
Ha, ha, ha! Thanks for the compliments! Truth is, we realize people like it a lot, but it’s hard to keep it up-to-date, since we already have a lot of work with the shop. Nevertheless, with comments like yours, we find the strength to go on.
Have you ever used the services of a translation agency, a translator, an interpreter, etc.?
Yes, we have used Ontranslation’s services, with very efficient and especially quick results, which is what we all need in today’s world and especially in the e-commerce sector.
Can you tell us an anecdote relating to languages that has happened to you?
Well, I don’t know if this would be considered an anecdote, but in the beginning there were customers that sent us e-mails in French or Portuguese, which surprised us because the website wasn’t available in either of these languages. In the end, you realize that, if customers are interested in something, they will contact you in the language they speak, and you will have to manage the situation in order to understand and answer them.