US brand aims to prove the cycle clothing market is far from saturated
Portland, Oregon, based in the Pacific Northwest is known for its dry summers and winters that are mild and wet. While that’s great for growing its famous Portland Roses, it’s a climate that poses familiar challenges to cyclists, best tackled with appropriate apparel.
Clothing brand Showers Pass is based in that city, so not only does the brand understand the plight of cyclists in long wet winters first-hand, but it also naturally produces gear that is suited to the UK.
So it’s perhaps a bit of a suprise that until now the brand has only been sold through a very small number of dealers in Britain. Now, however, through a deal with distributor NRG4, Showers Pass is set to get a wider audience on these shores – but not online at discounted prices, the firm assures the trade.
Showers Pass started out producing functional waterproof and breathable cycling raingear, and now also offers urban bike clothing, styled for the office or for socialising.
Priding itself on being technically innovative, gear from Showers Pass has been regularly used by winter hikers, Nordic skiers and runners seeking protection from rain and wind, but also for its core market of racers, commuters, messengers and everyday cycling enthusiastic.Article continues below
Showers Pass is not the only brand operating in this vibrant everyday cycle apparel market, of course, so how does it differ from the competition? Andrew Perry of UK distributor NRG4 explains: “Showers Pass uses the very best fabric on its clothing including Event fabric – widely recognised as being the best fabric for this type of clothing. It’s not available from every bike or outdoor shop in the UK thereby supporting the dealer network.
“The clothing often comes out top in clothing reviews and similar urban wear is normally only found in the UK through the likes of Brompton or Rapha – like the Showers Pass Portland jacket for commuters.”
Bike dealers with their fingers on the pulse will already have spotted the brand in the course of recent months. It appeared at last September’s NEC Cycle Show, the Bike Place in Silverstone, the London Bike Show and more recently in the Scottish Cycle Show. Irish cycle dealers will have chance to see the clothing at the debut Irish Cycling Show this month.
At the insistence of both Showers Pass and NRG4, the brand won’t be subject to online discounting as we heard above – a key factor in Showers Pass’ attractiveness to dealers, Perry explains: “We think that truly good quality clothing at competitive prices and not available online represents a great incentive for the dealer. We often hear stories of dealers having to discount their clothing to match online prices or those from the shop down the road. We will give the dealer back the exclusivity enabling them to achieve the sale safely in the knowledge that they won’t have to discount. We think this is a big incentive for the dealer – also, there are no minimum buy in requirements,” Perry adds. “They can buy one, two or 30 items.”
Showers Pass is just one apparel brand NRG4 is bringing to the trade. It just launched a range of carbon-impregnated clothing from www.sixs.biz including D30 protection all aimed at cyclists, runners, skiers, motor bikers, etc. NRG4 has also launched a range of pumps that have recently been awarded another Taipei and Red Dot design award.
Perry concludes: “We are trying to reach out to dealers to increase our network but are only working with bricks and mortar retailers offering exclusive products to help them grow. One major concern of the dealers is the online presence of the big few – this is the reason why we want to support the local dealer network by offering exclusive products that only they can sell in their area.”
NRG4 has a B2B website in the works, giving dealers full access to stock, delivery schedules and prices.
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