Family business Lusso is a UK manufacturing success story and 30 years on from its creation, John Harrison tells BikeBiz why retailers would be wise to do business with a domestic clothing brand such as his.
Tell us about Lusso's background:
We were founded in 1982, so it’s a big 30 this year. My father was a sewing machine dealer, I was a clothing designer cutter and my wife was a M&S sample machinist. It would of been rude not to with that mix. I did a bit on the bike previously, including the world championships road race and time trial, even riding against Greg Lemond in the states and Stephen Roach in the tour of Ireland. I then had Stage wins in the Tour of Israel.
I was always struggling to get a comfy pair of shorts, so I bought a few rolls of short material and hey presto Lusso began. We are a family orientated business with a number of my family working within Lusso, as well as a good team of girls.
What are the advantages to producing your goods in the UK?
We've certainly got a quicker response to dealer requirements, such as short term turn around for jerseys, jackets and shorts. Customers and dealers are responding to products manufactured in the UK with regards to lowering the carbon footprint and supporting jobs here in the UK market. Everything is made in sunny Manchester.
What products do you offer?
We offer most cycling garments for leisure, MTB, racing, female and children. clothing Starting from Pro 25 shorts at £25 retail, to the top of the range new Carbon Bib shorts at £70 retail. If your customer's after a jersey we've the Aircool S/S Jersey from £30, to the Carbon S/S Jersey at £50.
Can you offer customised garments, should trade customers require it?
We already offer customised garments, but we don't do anything printed anymore as we are fully tied up with the retail trade with production. We do get regular calls from dealers saying they have a customer who isn't your typical tour rider and can we make some shorts with a more relaxed waist, longer shorter legs etc.
Any technology proprietary to Lusso's range?
Our range is full of technical fabrics from the UK and Europe and we only use the best pad manufacturers in Italy. We are very busy on the resist carbon and silver plus moisture transfer fabrics at the moment and people do seem aware of this products and like its properties. We are still using on our winter ranges Thermostat, Thermo-repel, Windex and Cooltech fibres. We are also currently testing some polywool fibres that we are hoping have a range of garments for 2013.
How and where can dealers get a look at the range?
We are planning to do the NEC bike show this year and one Euro show. We had a fantastic response from Birmingham NEC last year from both customers and dealers who mostly loved the fact we still manufacture in the UK.
Dealers can get in touch with us direct on 0161724 5222, or alternatively Bob Elliot - 01772 459887, or Macadam factors in Cardiff 02920 231816.