Geek-chic togs boss raps IBDs

In May, BikeBiz.com carried the first news about the launch of 'passion brand' Rapha, a high-quality, non-lurid, retro-loving road-cycling clothing brand. Now, in a focus piece in Marketing magazine, Rapha founder Simon Mottram said his business model was consumer direct because bike shops are "not temples to retail excellence."
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Mottram has an impeccable brand consultancy background (Circus, Interbrand and Sapient) and a bevy of cycle-enthusiast business angels backing his start-up company.

Rapha products "bring new standards of design to cycling clothing. They have been conceived by road riders, working with leading technical sportswear designers. Every detail has been developed with the rider in mind. Every material has been chosen because it is the best in the world at its job," said Mottram.

The ranges includes a £130 Sportwool jersey; a breathable, windproof cap; an updated musette ("The design of the Rapha musette nods to the past, but its magnetic closures, buckles, messenger stability strap and waterproof Epic fabric make it an essential contemporary performance product,") and a 1950s style Merino wool shirt. There's also a softshell, semi-waterproof breathable nylon jacket, and a 'vintage collection' of recreated old jerseys, caps and original copies of Miroir Sprint, signed photographs, toys and promotional material.

This week's Marketing profiles Mottram and his company, revealing that there are plans to roll out Rapha in America, Japan and America.

Mottram believes in what he calls "the triumph of the niche."

In Marketing, he said: "We've all got so much stuff that when you buy anything, from olive oil to garden trowels, you're looking for a better, more authentic specialist product. It says more about you, it's more pleasing, it's more of an experience. That's what Rapha is all about."

http://www.rapha.cc/

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