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Founder Nick Hussey breaks the news "with intense sadness" in email to investors...

London-based cycle clothing brand Vulpine has entered administration. The news was confirmed in an email send this afternoon by its founder, Nick Hussey, to investors in the business.

He wrote:

It is with intense sadness that I have to inform you that Vulpine is insolvent, and I have had to take the extremely difficult but essential decision to place the company I founded into administration, under UK law, hence my unusual formality.

Two Partners from RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP will be appointed administrators next week, after a special resolution was passed yesterday by ‘A Shareholders’, who are able to vote. Once appointed the Administrators will have full control of the company and I will no longer be able to make any decisions.

We have done all we can to finance the company. The late arrival of the majority of our Spring Summer 2017 stock put us in a more difficult cash position. Thus we sought to raise investment again through crowdfunding. But this did not gain the necessary momentum to complete, likely due to the very poor trading figures of the last financial year.

Thus we pulled out of the Crowdcube attempted raise and began contacting previously interested investors and potential buyers of Vulpine, plus a raft of new contacts.

Whilst there was strong recognition of the brand, and initial verbal interest, none have produced offers or ongoing due diligence, and communication has stopped. It is highly possible that, having seen our precarious financial position and the complications of doing a fast enough deal, they are waiting to pick the business up in administration instead, if any deal is to be done.

Vulpine’s brand and business structure remains relatively undamaged at this point, and any acquisition via administration would see the highest potential value to all stakeholders if conducted as quickly as possible.

The proposed Administrators plan is to try to sell the company’s assets, such as brand, goodwill, database & website to maximize realisations for the benefit of creditors and potentially shareholders.

You can contact Robert Young at RSM for advice on this process, or if you believe there may be an interested buyer: robert.young [at] rsmuk.comI cannot offer financial advice, and I encourage you to seek your own, but if you qualify for EIS status, you should be able to claim significant Loss Relief on top of your Tax Relief.I wish you all the very best.

Ride well.

More to follow.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

253 comments

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Prosper0 [116 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

Hardly surprising - always wondered how many barmy £80 tshirts and £350 jackets they managed to sell. Clearly not enough.

Shame though.

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fat buddha [19 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes

I did consider backing them via Crowdcube, but there was just something that just didn't sit right for me in that the product range was a bit "meh" and fine your Shoreditch bearded fixie warrior, but not the bigger market out there.  and at prices way beyond what mortals will pay.  hey ho - another one bites the dust.

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The _Kaner [1151 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes

I think (my opinion, based on experience) that their sale (when the 'system' overload occurred and the stock levels were not reflected correctly) - leading to over sold stock, hurt them quite badly.

Also the low headcount of staff led to many poor after sales issues. The length of time taken to reply to emails, plus the slap dash customer care - even though the end result was satisfactory- for me, was just too long.

It meant that I held off buying more products fromthem directly.

In fact - in my favour - I picked up some more Hoy Vulpine items from Sportpursuit for a better price and the dispatch was quicker...

It's a pity. I liked their road cycling gear, but not so much their urban outfits (based on extremely exorbitant prices and me having no need for any of the items they stocked)

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Housecathst [628 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

Sad, but I wasn't impressed with quality of the one pair of shorts I bought from them, same price as rapha but disintegrated in a couple of months. 

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S13SFC [154 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Plenty of their gear going to be cheap of Sport Pursuit then.

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cyclesteffer [297 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Wow. Their Hoy-Vulpine stuff was amazing recently. Then they stopped doing it to concentrate on smart cycling suit jacket-ey wear that cost a bomb. Shame.

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Simon E [3206 posts] 9 months ago
7 likes

That's a shame. I thought they stood out in the market and had a distinctive approach. I also liked Nick's attitude and the way he responsed in discussions on this website. I hope this won't be the last we see of him.

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 9 months ago
5 likes

Shame, but as opposed to Simon I think they were a mess. Baggy, boxy cuts, with generic looking base layers that you can find littered all over sites like Sports Pursuit. It's was very.. middling. I always checked in with their site though, I was always sort of wanting them to get it and take it all up a notch, because we're missing really nice brands in the UK. Everything's so safe, and beige and generic looking. Just. Please. Grow. A. Pair. Of. Testicles. and hire trendy designers and go for it. At least if they dropped their prices they could have sold more kit. Their pricing was sort of aspirational, but the kit was dull. Ummm? Even the logo was a 5 min job on photoshop. Christ. Circle with V in it. Guys? Did they do that through fiverr?

'Oh but we have some innovative materials and ideas'. Oh who cares. Sports market is saturated with that nonsense. It needs good design to differentiate. And that design doesn't mean the sort of thing that you'd feel comfortable wearing with your gran or playing soggy biscuit with your tweedy chums. 

Ahem. enlightened

Just sort of came out. 

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Blackhound [459 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

Although disappointed they have folded two of the three items failed.  A pair of shorts were mended quickly and a jersey I never bothered to send back despite two different issues with the pockets.  Not sure if quality control was an issue for them but they tried to do something different.

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The _Kaner [1151 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
Blackhound wrote:

Although disappointed they have folded two of the three items failed.  A pair of shorts were mended quickly and a jersey I never bothered to send back despite two different issues with the pockets.  Not sure if quality control was an issue for them but they tried to do something different.

Yes I had issues with a Hoy Fortress Jersey pockets. The bartack stitching was becoming loose and the material started striating at those points.

The suggestion was that I had overloaded the pockets.

I had worn the garment twice, for approx 5 hours in total. I sent them pics of what I always take with me in the pockets...a bit cheeky there as the pic showed all the items fitting easily into a Cervo Rosso Ibrido jersey...

But, all in it was approx 3-4 weeks before I was sent a replacement...but I had to do a lot of chasing.

Plus the 'sale fisaco' I mentioned earlier...missed out on some really cheap items, even though I had received confirmation that the order was placed, the stock wasn't available and it was again about 1 month to get all of that resolved and the remnants of that order delivered.

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BC1973 [5 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

I'm genuinely gutted by this. Vulpine became one of my favourite labels over the last few years. Not just on the bike but off it too. Their attention to design and the ideals they stuck too chimed with my own. I know they had their critics and things didn't always go smoothly but seeing a small business that wanted to achieve something big go under makes me very sad. I hope it's not the last we see of this talented team.

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honesty [76 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes

Love vulpine stuff, and I found their customer service was utterly amazing. I can unfortunately understand how this has happened though as I have never bought something at full price, usually getting huge discounts in clearance sales or special offers. My wife is a non cyclist, but she loves her vulpine stuff as well. Pity. 

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arfa [857 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Really sorry to hear of this outcome. This is a small company that backed what they believed in and produced some great gear. I suspect they were just a few years too soon as mass market non vehicular cycling is (hopefully) not too far away and their kit is ideal for this.
Pricing was perhaps an issue as sales/discounts were regular and perhaps full price was too much

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Rich_cb [555 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

This is a massive shame.

I own a few of their products, the 'epic cotton' rain trousers are genuinely one of my best ever purchases. I've used them constantly and they still work well and look good.

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bobinski [283 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

This is sad but not unexpected. I was caught out in 2 sales shambles the second of which left me very angry. I have. A jacket and shorts from them . But I would t buy any more from them, not just because of the sales shambles but because they were constantly having sales suggesting they didn't believe in the value of what they sold. I am sure they did and I hope they can rise from the ashes in some way but whatever they become will have to invest in after sales  before I could be confident enough to buy from them in future.

That aside I do wonder if this will be the first of many cycling related business collapses. I get the impression the boutique cycling market is contracting. Loads of commuters in London but not many spending  on Vulpine etc or perhaps too many suppliers?

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Leviathan [2937 posts] 9 months ago
13 likes

A few too many companies over-estimating the 'high end' cycling market.

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drosco [428 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

Agree with Leviathan, too many boutique brands.

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fenix [938 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

Only bought one Jersey off them but it was pants. Too thin for purpose and too skinny of sleeve. Wouldn't have bought again. Always a shame to see a business fail though.

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SingleSpeed [405 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes
drosco wrote:

Agree with Leviathan, too many boutique brands.

 

Just to correct there. There are a select few successful boutique brands out there and myriad other average brands selling their products at inflated prices that will subsequently fail and go into administration.

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Yorkshire wallet [1701 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

The cycling in brogues market is only so big.

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amazon22 [282 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

Their website is still up and running - £50 for a tee shirt? Crazy.

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herlihy [10 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Very sad to hear this. Nick Hussey put heart and soul into this . Having said that, the quality of their stuff was very hit and miss, and after buying some of their stuff on their inception I stopped buying given the quality issues. 

 

 

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ped [292 posts] 9 months ago
7 likes

Sad. I feel for Nick and his team. No matter what you think about the kit itself they've been putting their heart and soul into the brand since its inception.

 

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gonedownhill [181 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Bought one of their buff/ snood type things which is class and about the same price as a genuine buff. Might buy another if they are going cheap

As for the rest of the gear I have a beer gut that rules me out of most top end cycling gear fitting and I am a tight bastard, but it looked nice in the photos.

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riotgibbon [231 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

What a pity, let's hope they sort it out. All the stuff I've had from them has been top notch, I always wear it when I'm out around town on my Guvnor. Tough business, they've produced some really good clothing,, let's hope they get the help they need with the business side. Reading some of the pieces recently about Rapha, they've had some tight squeezes too, every business does. The difference between success and failure​ can just be a tiny amount of luck, good or bad, at just the right/wrong time

 

Good luck Vulpiners, you deserve it

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Polite [6 posts] 9 months ago
5 likes

I'm not from Shoreditch but I do have a beard and I cycle. A lot. I paid £50 for one of their merino t-shirts about 4 years ago. I have never had it off my back, including cycle touring in France and Spain, and it is still in as good condition as when I bought it. They even darned it free of charge. I have another coupe of items, too, and the quality is outstanding. £50 is exensive for a t-shirt but it's all relative, I'd rather pay for a quality item, that lasts, than keep buy cheap crap, that doesn't.

I can't belive that I am genuinely shocked about this, I follow Vulpine and Nick Hussey on Twitter and he/they are a refreshing change and something a bit different. A shame.

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Awavey [371 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

yep agreed it will be a shame if they go completely,as theyve always displayed a passion and willingness to support cycling and especially promote womens cycling equally, I certainly never had any issues with the quality of the kit I bought, though Id freely hold my hand up and admit Ive not bought anything of theirs for a few years now, partly due to the cost & partly theres been nothing in their range thats really grabbed me design wise.

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Redvee [381 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
S13SFC wrote:

Plenty of their gear going to be cheap of Sport Pursuit then.

 

Or Sports Direct.

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reippuert [76 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
cyclesteffer wrote:

Wow. Their Hoy-Vulpine stuff was amazing recently. Then they stopped doing it to concentrate on smart cycling suit jacket-ey wear that cost a bomb. Shame.

exatctly - at least i go a completely new wardrode durring 2015/2016 from  their technical wear  range (Hoy Vulpine).

I have the original softshell jacket as well and love it. The 2017 collecton , couldent find a single thing i needed.

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keirik [152 posts] 9 months ago
7 likes
Polite wrote:

still in as good condition as when I bought it.

They even darned it free of charge.

I don't think those two sentences can possibly go together

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