When we talk about growing women’s cycling we often talk about the sport: race coverage, prize money, minimum wages. Then sometimes we go on to discuss brands offering greater choice for female riders. What we don’t often get to celebrate is the story of a women’s only cycle retailer finding huge success – but that’s what we’ve got in VeloVixen.
The online women’s cycling clothing and accessory retailer announced yesterday that they have secured an external investment of £500,000. The move marks a great confidence from outside investors in women’s cycling and the money will be used to broaden the company’s marketing, grow their reach and add new members to the team. Ultimately – they’ll grow the provision for female cyclists and the profile of the sport.
Based in Oxfordshire, VeloVixen is the UK’s leading specialist retailer of cycle clothing and accessories geared exclusively towards the female rider and they stock over 40 brands. They’ve clearly got our seal of approval, as they gained the Total Women’s Cycling award for Best Female Specific Retailer of the Year at the 2015 Awards [the 2016 awards will be held later this year in case you wondered!].
The brand was founded by two cycling enthusiasts: Phil and Liz Bingham, following a year-long cycling expedition through the Americas in 2010. The male bias within the industry and the limited options for apparel designed and cut with female riders in mind led the Binghams to seize the initiative and VeloVixen commenced trading in 2012.
The investment comes from a private investment and management company based in Bath, called Cheverton Asset Management, and they will aquire a minority equity stake in VeloVixen’s parent company Pedalling Forth Ltd.
VeloVixen’s CEO, Phil Bingham, said: “We are delighted to have secured the next phase in our development with such a respected institution.
“It's not just that investment will allow us to put our plans into action - to broaden our marketing reach, our range, our team and the profile of women's cycling. The important fact is that Chelverton, despite being eminently decent folk, don't do deals for fun. They are experienced and discerning investors with real commercial savvy.
“They've seen the immense potential in women's cycling. And over the last nine months, they've looked at VeloVixen from every angle and been attracted by our profile and reputation within women's cycling. We look forward to working with them to grow VeloVixen whilst never losing our family firm ethos."
Chelverton Investment Director, Richard Bucknell, who led the transaction on behalf of Members of Chelverton Investor Club, commented: “In a market where online is already a strong and accepted retail channel, VeloVixen has forged a niche position, and brand-recognition way beyond its current size. Its differentiated offering, in an otherwise largely price-driven, homogeneous sector, really stands out, and we’re delighted to support Phil and Liz in seeking to exploit their ambitious growth plans over the coming years. "
It’s exciting to see external investors seeing the growing potential in the women’s cycling market, and we only hope it’s a sign of things to come!