Hitting endless trails with high speed on your own built-up motorbike is everything that a diehard adventurer would want.
Introducing a new concept of modifying motorbikes in Kashmir, Omar Ayoub, a bike builder puts his craft to build customized motorbikes. In Baramulla district of Kashmir, he opened his auto engineering startup, Vecmania to offer everything that you would want your ride to have.
Omar calls Vecmania- a contraction for Vehicle Mania, an exciting and visceral experience for every motorbiker who owns a motorcycle and gets it modified as per the changing needs.
“Some riders are enthusiastic and they are never satisfied with what the company has to offer. They want more from their bikes. They want it to get transformed into a beast. They want their motorcycle to have a visual appeal or want to improve its performance,” he said, adding that modifications are the reason behind the love of some people for motorcycling.
Omar has pursued MBA from Mumbai University. Soon after finishing his studies, he worked with Celebrity automobile Indian designer Dilip Chhabria, and the founder of DC Designs.
“I got an idea that there is nothing like automobile designing in Kashmir and researched more about it. I started my startup in 2017 and with my increasing client pool, I came to know that my craft can quench the thirst of many bike lovers in Kashmir,” he said.
Not only locals, but tourists from across India and adventurers from Hong Kong, Russia and Turkey got impressed with his work. Celebrity hairstylist Sapna Bhavnani also visited his showroom.
Blending classic designs while being futuristic and unique, he said that instead of settling with a pre-built bike, one can turn motorbike dreams into a reality by building one yourself.
“A simple looking bike can be created into a racer style or anything. We give them different shape. People just want to flaunt their ride so it has to be different. The concept is still alien across India but everything takes time to form,” he said while hoping for a better future in the field.
The parts of the bikes are imported from the national and international market. As Omar explained that some of them are assembled from the factory itself while major parts are assembled in his own garage and his team has to work on fitting the parts into modules.
He said that the safety gears and the designer helmet have been in good demand among customers as well. “Automobile is a lifestyle statement now, not just a transportation medium. We are getting a warm response for Vecmania,” he said.
However, apart from the modification of the bikes, what swept people off their feet was the interior designing of the garage which was done by Omer on his own. The table mounted over the engine and the seats made by colorful tyres over one another were the attraction for every passerby.
“A group of bikers had come and they stopped at my showroom. They got the vibe and were enthralled. I was praised by everyone for the out of box designing concept, which gave me an idea of stepping in the field of interior designing,” he said.
With Vecmania, an idea of Woodle was evolved which is the combination of doodling with wood.
In the past he had worked with Coke Studio, MTv Unplugged as a set designer which gave him a boost to design the interiors.
In no time, his friends approached him to design their cafes and restaurants. “I started bespoke-custom designing. Instead of having flowery wallpapers, I introduced black and dark colors and created the contemporary designs out of wood,” he said.
As wood in Kashmir is known for having intricate antique designs, Omar carved shapes out of the material. “My designs were created as if those empty walls spoke to me. The walls would themselves tell me how they would like to be adored,” he added.
As the interior designing is time consuming, to ease out the process and make it more consumer friendly, he is introducing digital technology called virtual reality (VR) into it.
“After finishing the designing, the customers often want more elements or changes which gets really hard to do afterwards. To make the process hassle-free, we will be introducing VR technology into the designing world of Kashmir,” he said.
The VR technology enables the clients to visualize the designed room which smoothens the process of design revision and feedback. He further said that with the help of the technology, one can have a virtual tour of his showroom without being there.
“There is always room to innovate and improve things as per the time. There is a scope for exploration and see where one can try to bring change,” he said.
Lately, he has started another startup, Crewelly meaning Crewel from valley where customized printing and embroidery can be done on clothing.
Concerning the future generations, he said that the incubation center should counsel the youth to grow with their startups. “There are many startups coming up and the centers should guide the youth in nurturing of their ideas to set up and sustain the startup."