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Women’s cycling clothing brand VeloVixen enters liquidation

“An unprecedented number of adverse forces”, including the cost of living crisis and changing customer behaviour, contributed to the British brand’s demise, says co-founders Liz and Phil Bingham

UK-based women’s cycling clothing brand VeloVixen has announced that it is entering liquidation, the latest victim of the cost of living crisis, inflation, and the post-pandemic downturn relentlessly affecting the cycling industry.

In a statement released by the brand’s co-founders Liz and Phil Bingham, “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 – contributed to the decision to cease trading.

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”.

> Women's cycling retailer wins £500k investment to expand

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, has brought VeloVixen to the end of the road after 11 years.

“We are so proud to have created such a thriving community and trusted hub for women’s cycling over the years,” the co-founders said in a statement published on the company’s website.

“Unfortunately, in recent months an unprecedented number of adverse forces have conspired against us. Despite every effort, they have ultimately made it impossible for a small family business like ours to continue.”

Acknowledging that “this is clearly a miserable time for us – both emotionally and financially”, the co-founders also apologised to the suppliers and customers who stand to lose out from the company’s demise.

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The statement continues: “Whilst there is no single reason for our situation, some of the factors include: the hugely increased cost of products; energy price hikes and their widespread damage; changes in customer behaviour, with ever-growing returns rates and appetite for discounts; far more expensive advertising rates; and the broader cost-of-living crisis.

“At the end of the day, if a product is discretionary, then right now people are understandably looking to spend less on it. And, whilst we remain passionate about it, much cycling clothing is not absolutely vital for survival.”

The Binghams also said that they hope the VeloVixen name will be able to continue in some form, and have already held discussions with interested parties.

“We will not be involved ourselves, but the worst outcome would be for such a positive force to fizzle out,” they said.

They also called on cyclists to continue supporting small businesses, noting that “they desperately need your support, now more than ever. And please keep supporting the wonderful world of women’s cycling wherever and however you can.”

> UK’s cycling market and infrastructure “being left behind” by Europe, experts warn

As news of VeloVixen’s liquidation emerged, Stolen Goat founder Tim Bland paid tribute to the company and its owners, with whom he has worked closely for the past six years.

“To many, this will come as a major shock, especially if you are a fan or customer of theirs,” Bland wrote on Stolen Goat’s website.

“I can tell you that, like many small brands in the cycling industry, they have really fought hard to stay afloat, but these last one to two years have been crushingly tough for so many companies.

“To be honest, they have always been up against it. They launched in 2012 when women’s cycling was barely a category on most major cycling retailer websites. They’ve only ever been able to sell to 50 percent of humans and even today women’s cycling is a much smaller industry than men’s cycling.

“But they approached the challenge as only Phil and Liz know how – with courage, good humour and a bucket load of passion.”

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Bland also praised the company’s achievements over the past 11 years, including forging a pioneering, female-specific “nice” platform, raising “bucket loads of money” for charity, and “supporting, encouraging, and inspiring countless women, of all ages, to get involved with cycling”.

“I know there are people out there who have literally had their lives transformed by being a part of the VeloVixen community and Phil and Liz should take full credit for that,” Bland said.

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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OnYerBike | 1 year ago

On the one hand it's sad news - they seemed like one of the more socially conscious companies out there and I was always happy when I shopped with them (mostly presents for my partner).

On the other hand, I'm not especially suprised. As noted in the article above, it was a tricky business model to begin with focusing solely on the women's cycling market.

I was also never convinced by their offerings. By and large they simply sold women's offerings from a small selection of mainstream brands, and therefore they were directly competing with other large cycling retailers. They were also far from comprehensive in which brands or products they stocked, so they were not a one-stop-shop for women's cycling apparel.

They were (AFAIK) the only UK stockist of IRIS cycling apparel, which are often well reviewed for women, so that's a bit of a loss. (You could order direct from IRIS but as they are based in the Netherlands, there's all the post-Brexit risk of doing so).

They also had their own-brand range, but as far as I can tell, the design/aesthetics was the main selling point and I for one wasn't a fan. There was nothing to suggest the functionality/performance was especially good (indeed the marketing seemed to be focused on "casual" female cyclists, which made me think the performance wouldn't be quite up there with the offerings from established brands for a more "serious" female cyclist).

Awavey replied to OnYerBike | 1 year ago
1 like

well I remember them selling Vulpine (in their first iteration), Anna Glowinski, Queen of the Mountains (till Alicia went to work for Rapha), Morvelo and often featured on Total Women's Cycling website...

I bring those up even though most wont have heard of them, because most of those brands/companies have ceased to operate over the last 6-7 years or are carrying on but shadows of their former selves, which I think shows how difficult the cycling sector is to get right, Rapha rarely post a profit for instance.

So I cant remember exactly when they started to brand their own kit, as they worked with Stolen Goat for a while before, but it was largely to fill the gap left by all these other brands disappering I suspect. But its basically custom Stolen Goat kits which means its basically custom BioRacer kit, so the quality has always been great, the fit functionality/performance was totally there for "serious" as well as "casual" cyclists (Ive no clue what pigeonhole I fit in) and fwiw I liked alot of the design/aesthetics to it. Weirdly I always liked there design/aesthetics more than Stolen Goats own range, even though its basically the same kit at the end of the day, its just Velovixens designs were better imo.

and certainly on the initial runs, it always sold really well,maybe its because we were all stuck at home with nothing else to do, but there were bits in their latest 10th anniversary collection I wanted to buy which I never got round to because it comes down ultimately to how many pieces of cycling kit do you need to own and do you really need to spend another £100 on a jersey or shorts especially when theres been a downturn in the economy.

Freddy56 | 1 year ago
1 like

Sorry to see any business fail, but the owners' statement not once puts any blame on their own business decisions-everything else is blamed for the demise.

They new the business was dead and still took people's Christmas cash.  Poor show.

brooksby replied to Freddy56 | 1 year ago

Freddy56 wrote:

Sorry to see any business fail, but the owners' statement not once puts any blame on their own business decisions-everything else is blamed for the demise.

Maybe they'd taken guidance on wording from our Govt (it's never their fault, honest!)

jaymack | 1 year ago
1 like

When the fashion concious young woman in this family moved out last summer her cycling bag was stuffed full of VeloVixen purchases. I've just relayed the news, "noooooo!" came the anguished cry, let's hope that the business rises again in a form not too disimillar from the original.

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