The Herd Group Holdings, the new parent company to British apparel brand Stolen Goat, today announced the acquisition of VeloVixen, a month after the women’s cycling clothing company entered liquidation.
Confirming the takeover this afternoon, Stolen Goat founder and Herd Group CEO Tim Bland said that VeloVixen’s role in creating a women’s-only cycling apparel platform, and in doing so fostering a space and a community for women in cycling, was “far too strong, and far too important to simply let fade away”.
Alongside the acquisition of VeloVixen, the newly formed Herd Group parent company has also expanded to include the bikepacking luggage brand Wildcat – a move that coincides with Stolen Goat’s recent foray into the gravel and mountain biking scene – and a new marketing agency, Bleat Creative, which will manage the group’s internal brands.
“Separately, these brands offer adventure-ready sports apparel, women’s specific cycling kit, and bikepacking gear,” Stolen Goat said in a statement today. “Together, they feed into our mission of empowering more people to get out there and do what they love.”
The takeover of VeloVixen comes just over a month after the company’s founders, Liz and Phil Bingham, announced that the company was entering liquidation, citing “an unprecedented number of adverse forces” – including the increased costs of products and energy bills, changes in customer behaviour, and a rise in advertising rates – as the primary reasons behind the closure.
Founded in 2012 in the weeks after the London Olympics and based just outside Oxford, VeloVixen aimed to provide premium cycling clothing for fashion-conscious female cyclists, as well as creating a hub for women’s cycling in the UK.
The small family-run company soon won awards for its female-specific offerings and in 2016 secured £500,000 from outside investors in what Liz Bingham described at the time as “arguably the biggest ever UK investment into a female-specific cycling operation”.
However, a sharp fall in the demand for cycling kit since the Covid-19 pandemic (exacerbated by the impact of the current economic situation on customers’ disposable incomes), combined with a rough Christmas period, which saw returns rise to unprecedented levels, contributed to the decision to cease trading in January.
As news emerged of the liquidation, Stolen Goat’s Bland was one of the first to pay tribute to what he described as the “inspiring” brand, with whom he had worked closely for the past six years, and – with the Binghams keen for the VeloVixen name to continue in some form – now seems set to continue the company’s ambition to encourage and support women in cycling.
“VeloVixen has supported, encouraged, empowered and inspired countless women of all ages and abilities to get involved in the sport of cycling,” Bland said in a statement today.
“This legacy was far too important to let fade away, which is why we wanted to make sure the hard work, passion and commitment that had gone into building the VeloVixen platform didn’t to go to waste.”
VeloVixen’s co-founder Phil Bingham added: “Whilst bringing 11 years of hard work to a close is never going to be easy, there is a silver lining to every cloud. We could not be more delighted that the VeloVixen brand, which has contributed so much to so many people’s lives, is to be adopted into the loving care of our friends at Stolen Goat.
“Of the many great people we’ve got to know in the cycling world, it’s the team at Stolen Goat that we’ve been closest to in recent years. They’ve helped us design and manufacture our own brand VeloVixen range and been consistently amongst our most popular external brands.
“Perhaps most importantly, they have shared passionately and sympathetically in the ups and downs of running a small business and been immensely supportive of our journey. We’ve loved working with them.
“We have total confidence that they will do justice to everything that we have created. They will no doubt help to spread the VeloVixen word further still, and bring new dimensions to our creation that we hope our existing customers will enjoy. We wish them every success and happiness in taking on VeloVixen and can’t wait to see how it goes!”
In the statement, VeloVixen also announced that any customers with outstanding returns or refunds will be offered exchanges or gift vouchers (though monetary refunds will not be available).
The company will also continue to stock third-party brands, while also attempting to “elevate” its own VeloVixen range.
The takeover coincides with the creation of the Herd Group parent company and the acquisition of Wildcat, the UK-based bikepacking bags and accessories brand.
“Wildcat has been established for over ten years, with a loyal customer base and an exceptional line of bike packing bags and accessories proudly made in Britain,” the Herd Group said.
“For us, it’s a natural fit to bring Wildcat into our Herd – especially as Stolen Goat has been branching further into the gravel and mountain bike scene.
“Our vision for Wildcat is to make it the epicentre of all things adventure travel-related: bikepacking, camping, hiking… a huge range of outdoor adventure activities are on the agenda in the long-term. We’ll be bringing both third-party and in-house products to the growing Wildcat community, and we’re looking forward to taking this exciting brand to the next level.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.