Today we’d like to introduce you to Shawn Walker.
Hi Shawn, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
So, I watched a Snoop Dog & Pharrel video & Snoop was on this low-rider bicycle that was super dope. I instantly told myself that I could make this same bicycle, but I could do it better. I envisioned colors, candy colors, and exotic skin seats with eye-catching wheels. 2008, I opened Candy Shop Custum Bikes, LLC, a custom low-rider bicycle company specializing in Kandy paints. I was so nervous about starting this company that while registering it, I misspelled “custom,” LOL, so we just kept it. It’s part of our story.
Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Being geographically located in the mid-west, it was not a popular site to see low-rider bicycles or any low-rider culture. When we introduced the brand, we started in display windows at local upscale boutiques. Facebook was just introduced, so we posted as much as we could. Our potential customers starting were record companies, modeling agencies, and aspiring hip-hop artists. We even did runway shows which made us broaden our brand to apparel/ merchandise with our logo. The struggles were like people wanted to see the brand but not pay for it if that makes any sense. Our 1st apparel run was a collaboration with Dickies. We put candy Shop X Dickies shirts in “I Am SNKY!” a downtown Washington Ave boutique, and someone broke into the store and stole all of our pieces. We went to New York City for a “Love And Hip-Hop” shoot, and 3 months later, a famous NYC rapper has a clothing piece called “CANDY SHOP.” everyone thought it was our brand, but sadly it was not. Determined to get this brand in the right hands, we sat with the president of Harley Davison Apparel, and he told me flat out, “you’ve got a nice brand, but it’s your job to make it hot.” Surviving a failed marriage, I became a single father of 3 girls, which made it almost impossible to push this brand. Candy Shop Bikes took a back seat for years until 2021 and now what you see is ‘the remix”.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Okay, I’m a Journeyman Carpenter by trade. I love working with my hands. God has blessed me to see various colors, ways, and mixes of materials. So, artistically I truly love to create dope bicycles. Rather it’s a 3-wheel or 2-wheel low-rider bicycle; it will be funky. We even make skateboards, LOL. When I started, I paid painters to teach me how to “candy paint,” – which is a car painting process. We approach our paint jobs just as a car painter would paint a vehicle. We prep, prime, candy, and clear like a regular paint job. The process is tedious and intricate, but it’s my passion. Over the years, we have produced some dope apparel from bomber jackets, coach jackets, t-shirts, hoodies, tanks, beanies, trucker caps, track shorts, leggings, to sweatshirts. Nothing compares to our world-famous “SCAM LIKELY WALNUT PARK” or “SCAM LIKELY SAINT LOUIS” collection. I love this piece because the scam expressed is regarding the black people in this neighborhood being ostracized from ownership. What sets us apart from others is: that we are a small black-owned bicycle business, we customize and candy paint low-rider bikes, we have a dope apparel line-up, and our promotions & marketing are eye-catching.
Any big plans?
We plan to move our brand across the country. Most of our customers are from the west coast and Florida. Not surprising at all, but St. Louis serves as a great production location and is very affordable for what we do. We are an authorized BMX dealer, so I’m looking forward to diving in with our BMX riders with customizing. Our brand will look different as we broaden our paint applications and products/ services in a year.
We are hosting our very first “community bike ride” the theme is “STOP THE VIOLENCE BIKE RIDE”. It’s being held in North St Louis, a community that has never had such a healthy and family friendly event. We have great community sponsors and partnerships with us such as: Trailnet. Cure Violence, St Louis Fire Department, St Louis Health Department, St Louis Police Department and The YMCA.
- Website: www.candyshopbikes.com
- Instagram: @CANDYSHOPBIKES
- Facebook: @CANDYSHOPCUSTUMBIKES
- Twitter: @CANDYSHOPBIKES
- Youtube: CANDY SHOP CUSTUM BIKES
PHOTOGRAPHER KING YELLA PHOTOGRAPHER JAIME LUNA