Det forholdvis nye amerikanske cykeltøjs brand Velocio, grundlagt i 2013, har på lige fod med Rapha på rekord tid har fået et hipster agtigt ry for at være noget særligt. Om de så er det, skal vi undlade at kommentere på. Det må den enkelte potentielle køber selv afgøre. Deres eget argument har hele tiden været uafhængighed.
Men de tre grundlæggere har formodentlig fået et økonomisk tilbud de ikke har kunnet sige nej til, fra en af branchens tunge drenge, der den seneste tid har opkøbt adskellige både nye og gamle brands, senest Hammerhead navigation –læs vores omtale her –
Velocio har ihvertfald nu annonceret sin overtagelse af SRAM, hvilket markerer komponentproducentens første store indtog på cykeltøjs markedet og afslutningen på en næsten ti år lang serie af lidenskabelig uafhængighed for Velocio. Den slags opkøb er der sådan set ikke noget usædvanligt i. Konkurrenten Shimano har gjort noget lignende og har idag også en omfattende produktportefølge, for på den måde at fastholde forbruger, grossister og forhandlere i butikken, og deraf også bedre at kunne dominere og styre markedet.
Selv skriver de tre grundlæggere fra Velocio i en lang pressemeddelse:
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TODAY WE’RE SELLING VELOCIO APPAREL TO SRAM. HERE’S WHY.
Let’s start at the beginning. We were motivated to launch Velocio in 2013 by a drive for a better cycling product, a better cycling culture, and a deeper commitment to responsible manufacturing.
That drive transported Velocio to unique milestones: from elite-level racing to sustainable manufacturing to progressive outreach for unifying causes. Velocio, today, is a brand we’re really proud of, the brand we set out to create.
Yet, there’s a unique challenge to running a business that often gets overlooked: succeed and your reward is a deeper expectation to grow. Grow too large, too fast and the risk is the often -lamented loss of brand, the dilution of product, and corner-cutting changes to boost profits. We won’t do any of those things.
In selling Velocio, our focus was on finding a partner, a large brand or brand family that would value our three pillars: design, responsibility and culture. We approached SRAM precisely because we thought there might be a place in their well-respected orbit of components and bike products for us. We approached SRAM because our cultures are compatible.
Our history with SRAM goes back to 2015 when we shared sponsorship of the UCI pro cycling team Velocio-SRAM, and it continued through shared event sponsorships, athlete pairings, and marketing efforts: a keen eye could spot Velocio clothing in the first-ever SRAM AXS product launch ads. In the last six months, we’ve gotten to know the staff at SRAM, learned their vision for riding, and sorted how we fit together.
For SRAM, softgoods is uncharted territory, we are their first foray into apparel. But SRAM’s loyalty to their own employees and their efforts at outreach through World Bicycle Relief, among other causes, fits with how we see bikes and people and business.
Our supply chain, manufacturing, and product design will not fold into SRAM’s manufacturing arm. All the Velocio policies and campaigns that have defined our brand, from the Signature Guarantee to the Unity Campaign will remain unchanged. The customer service team that serves our customers well will continue to do so.
What’s exciting is that we’ll now have SRAM’s backing for more independent product design and development, including a still bigger push towards sustainability in our product offerings and how we deliver them. We’ll also have SRAM’s reach into racing and teams as well as their insights into global distribution and retail support. If the burden of a growing business is to grow ever further, there are few partners more suited for that future in the cycling industry than SRAM.
When you walk through the office headquarters of SRAM’s Chicago home, there’s a large script that reads “We believe in the power of bicycles to change the world.” We’ve never had a single location that’s served as our headquarters- Velocio has long been a remote company- but in light of our partnership moving forward, we’re buoyed by the fact that SRAM’s call to action sounds remarkably like our own driving belief:
There is a better way.
Brad Sheehan, CEO
Andrew Gardner, CMO
Olivia Dillon, CRO
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