Izzat Abul Rahman, a 2012 graduate of Temple University, showed the true meaning of entrepreneurship when he decided to leave a consulting job that he wasn’t really enjoying and successfully open his own custom-made bikes shop just five months after graduating college.
Rahman, originally from Kuala Lumpur, Malasia, came to Temple in fall 2009 to study entrepreneurship with a minor in management information systems.
He started commuting to campus his junior and senior year by riding his bike. When he had to create a business plan at the end of his entrepreneurship capstone course his senior year, this is what initially gave him the idea to write about a bicycle business.
“I couldn’t think of any other groundbreaking ideas so I did the bike business,” Rahman said. “It seems like an industry that’s pretty necessary amongst students so that’s why I did it.”
Rahman also submitted his plan to Be Your Own Boss Bowl, Temple’s annual business plan competition, and became one of four finalists.
Shortly after graduating in January 2012, Rahman was riding his bike down 19th street and Girard Avenue when he saw a building with a for rent sign on it. He decided to take a chance and ask for the space, and soon after he left his new job and opened his own shop called Kayuh Bikes.
Although there were a few struggles, Rahman did not come across any real issues like many others do when opening a new business. It only took him about a month to receive all the licenses he applied for, and the shop was officially open on June 6, 2012.
At the shop, they sell custom-made bikes and build them based on what customers ask for.
“It’s kind of like pimp my ride for bikes. You tell us what you want and we will build it,” Rahman said. “It’s different than getting brand new bikes straight out of the box because you can’t customize it like we can.”
Rahman is very close with his crew at the shop and sees his mechanic, Paul, as a mentor. He met Paul when he interned at a bike shop called Color Wheel Bikes in summer of 2011, which went out of business a few months later.
“Paul built a good reputation as a bike mechanic so it was helpful to have him on boat,” Rahman said. “That’s how we got customers at first. He started talking to his friends, and from there it just caught on.”
Rahman manages the logistics, marketing, and management of the shop. He has one full-time worker and two part-time workers but still makes sales and works with customers as much as he can.
Rahman has many plans for the future of the shop, including introducing custom built bikes and a café concept where customers are encouraged to eat and live healthily. Kayuh Bikes has only been in business for about a year and a half so they are still in the process of bringing new things to their business.
Like many other students at Temple, Rahman did not only focus on his courses but also got very involved with internships and networking. He was the 2009 Be Your Own Boss Bowl grand prizewinner, and he also did sales and marketing for multiple different companies during his time at Temple.
“A lot of networking has helped me get to where I am today,” Rahman said. “One of the best things that happened to me at Temple was networking and the internship experience.”