Toyota Motorsport GmbH wins Le Mans 2018
In 2002, the Lithuanian entrepreneur Marius Bieliauskas started a fashion company. His neighbor was a Harley Davidson dealership and it got him thinking: “Why isn’t anyone making safe fashion jeans for bikers?” Today, this focus has Pando Moto selling via high-end retailers in 20 different countries. While expanding rapidly thanks to a major investor, Bieliauskas is sticking close to his unique vision that takes inspiration from street-wear and free spirits.
The common denominator for everything we do at Pando is our undying passion for quality fabrics, innovative in-house design, functionality and skilled production,” says Bieliauskas. “Pando is a passionate traveler looking for new challenges. Pando is a positive energy revolutionist.
What do you do and why do you do it?
I am a founder of Pando Moto, an innovative and style-driven motorcycle gear brand. Before starting Pando I was working for an institutional investor for quite a while. But that wasn’t my path. My passion for motorcycling and exceptional style was always a big deal for me. Eventually that triggered me to make a U-turn, leave my comfort zone and dive into this industry headfirst.
I think, at a certain point in your life, you have to decide whether you are going to create something by yourself or simply be the tool for implementing someone else's ideas. For some reason, I chose to go ahead with my own. I do admit it was scary and it still is, but it is one of the triggers that motivates me. It constantly pushes me out of my comfort zone and keeps me on track.
What’s your background as an entrepreneur in fashion?
I never knew life would bring me this far. I thought to be a successful entrepreneur I would need to be intelligent; that I’d have to get a college degree and loads of extra money. But to be honest, you don’t need much to launch and sustain a successful business. You just have to have your eyes wide open so that you can notice a market opportunity.
I learned a lot in my previous job, one valuable lesson: "It's not the big that eat the small. It's the fast that eat the slow." This phrase perfectly encapsulates the driving force behind Pando.
What led you to use Dyneema® in your motorcycle denims?
I’m not sure where we heard about it, but we came across Dyneema® a few years ago when there were just a few companies using this technology. As we always seek to be in the forefront of the latest technologies, it was an opportunity we had to grab. Within a month, we already had our first sample. By being among the first adopters of a new technology, you gain an invaluable advantage. And we believed that Dyneema® is the future of the motorcycle apparel industry. The rest is history.
There’s more motorcycle denim with Dyneema® out there. How does your denim differ from them?
Well, first of all, we don’t just “do” motorcycle denim. We create an “experience” – we love to describe it that way – that combines safety, function and style. We provide the latest designs and top-notch quality on time. Usually it takes a long time for R&D (three to five months) to set up new design by testing new fits, fabrics and reshaping existing motorcycle cuts.
We are working with a prominent high-fashion clothing development company, which is apparently also an investor of ours. Taking into account that this company is working with Ted Baker, Acne Studios, Victoria Beckham and the like, and that the production takes place here in Europe, we can achieve an outstanding quality with minimum lead-time.
How have you incorporated the Dyneema® in your denims? Can you tell us something about the technical aspects?
We have this “Jacquard Project”, where we use Dyneema® yarns to produce ballistic fabrics. Then we laminate it, and then it is processed with a nano-covering. By doing this we get a highly breathable, water-repellent and abrasion-resistant technology. Most importantly, we get a totally unique product that is difficult to replicate.
For the upcoming 2019 season, we’ll be introducing two types of material we developed ourselves: a 15% Dyneema® laminated canvas and a 60% Dyneema® laminated (Gore-Tex-like) fabric.
How did you experience working together with DSM Dyneema? Can you share what the process was like? Did you connect on a trade show or via the website?
Coincidence or not, but DSM Dyneema is a Dutch company and the Netherlands was one of the first foreign markets Pando started working in. We have a lot of things in common. I like their attitude towards bold marketing and collaborating with new brands. I’m not sure how we met Giovanni, the DSM manager, but we are good at sourcing. There are no stones left unturned if we’re into something.
What are some of the biggest lessons you learned from working your way toward owning your own brand?
Recently, I heard a speech by Tim Minchin, an Australian comedian, who was discussing the concept of having a “life dream”. He was saying that by trying to achieve it, you might as well already be dead or if you are lucky, you can catch that shiny dream from the corner of your eye. So instead, he advocates that you be passionate and dedicated in the pursuit of short-term goals. I'm not fully in agreement with this idea, but there is a similar pattern in business startups – you never know where it will end up and how it will roll out. You just have to enjoy the ride. That’s the most valuable lesson I learned the hard way.
Which bike(s) do you ride yourself currently?
I’m not sentimental regarding motorcycle brands. I was riding an HD Sportster 48 and now I’m looking to get a Ducati Monster (1200).
How have you tested your Dyneema®-incorporated motorcycle denim?
We have an in-house Cambridge testing machine. Every sample is tested according to CE regulations. We also use these lab dips for merchandising – we don’t throw them away.
What is “a positive energy revolutionist” exactly? How can we recognize someone who is a positive energy revolutionist?
They’re one who is real and whose character doesn’t fold under pressure – instead, it revolts against the status quo.
Pando Moto also work with aramid fibers. How do you implement/use those fabrics differently, and for which reasons?
Well, the main reason is the price tag. We notice a tendency from our customers to buy more Dyneema®-based items compared to aramid-based gear. By differentiating our product range by price and technology, we give our customers a wider range of options. But definitely single layers are the near future and we’re getting ready for that future.
Finally, would you share with us which innovations outside of your immediate professional field you're most excited about at the moment?
There are so many things evolving around us that it’s hard to track every one of them. I admire Elon Musk. His unique ideas and especially his endless persistence are staggering. He was a pioneer of commercial electrical vehicle concept and production – and that excites me. I’m also waiting to see the first Tesla motorcycle – if they appear at all.
Toyota Motorsport GmbH wins Le Mans 2018
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