It’s been a while since I wrote personally on this blog, Rob does such a great job of managing the content on stolen goat but from time to time I wish I had more time to contribute to this part of the business.
Warning // Some Gushy Stuff //
Cards on the table… I’m writing this with what can only be described as a major hangover. But it’s one of those hangovers that is made much easier to bare because you had such a flipping blast the night before.
Last night my lovely wife and I were fortunate enough to join 12 other fantastic people for the stolen goat Christmas party. Some of these people were colleagues, some were early stage investors and many were partners of said colleagues and investors. But all of these people have long been dear friends and folk that I regard as part of my extended family.
A few years ago it was just me running this show. Me, in a shed, in my garden. Actually that’s not 100% accurate – since day one my wife Debs has been a supportive rock and encouraged me to indulge in this crazy goat themed cycling business! I can never thank her enough, Debs and my two girls are my driving force and propel every decision I make.
Also, from day one my good friend Tim Morel (affectionately known as Tim Senior) has been there for me. Tim instantly saw the potential in the business and has offered nothing but help, support and firm belief from the outset. Having Tim and his brother Dave, and their much better halves at the party last night was heaps of fun and a joy to watch.
Now the business has flourished and grown to include many long standing colleagues and fresh faces. These wonderful people contribute more to this company than I ever could on my own. So I have to confess I felt a very strong sense of pride sitting at that table last night watching these people mingle, laugh, dance, drink and generally be merry. A huge shout out to Chief SG Designer Trevor who couldn’t make it last night, you were missed my friend. But to my other colleagues / friends / family – Rob, Andy, David and Abby and of course all your respective better halves – I can’t thank you enough for the support and love you have shown this company. You are all good people and the company is infinitely stronger with you on board.
This year we have travelled to Mallorca, Austria, Belgium and beyond to ride and discuss the future with close friends, partners and colleagues. We’ve made new friends along the way, worked with some awesome brand ambassadors and of course new customers join the herd at every step. To say this is an adventure is an understatement. I’m loving every minute and every challenge, the highs and lows and the roller coaster ride that is running a small but growing business.
With that in mind, here’s a sneaky peak of what’s coming in 2019…
New Year // New Office //
Gushy stuff over I promise. Yesterday we completed our move to our new office in Hook in Hampshire. I say completed… there are boxes everywhere and a lot of work to do but well, it has tonnes of potential. It’s 4 times the size of the last office (and roughly 37 times larger than my garden shed by my calculations).
This larger space is not about vanity, it’s a place that allows us to keep on growing and to fundamentally build a cultural home for stolen goat. A home that allows us to work and play how we want to. Both work and play are important to us so this new space will not only be a clean and modern working environment but a place for bespoke events and a ride out area for the team and local cyclists. We are also planning on doing Zwift meetups from here so wherever you live, we can still ride together next year if you’re up for it? Much more to come on this in the New Year.
The Importance Of Brand Identity //
Brand identity and knowing where you stand in the market is becoming increasingly vital in all industries but I think cycling is only just waking up to this. In 2019 stolen goat will be moving away from WiggleCRC who have been our major retail partner for the last 3-ish years.
There are many reasons for this and none of them are sinister – the team at Wiggle are good, hard working, professional people (and also genuinely passionate about the sports in which they operate by the way). I’ll be doing a more in-depth post on this in the New Year but for now I’ll just say that Brand Identity is everything and in my personal opinion, and it really is just my own opinion, there are certain brands that really shouldn’t be on a marketplace like that. As the internet continues to make the World a smaller place, there is less of a reason for brands to be fighting for visibility in a marketplace knee deep in discounted products.
We’ve enjoyed working with Wiggle, but it’s time for the next step…
Making The World Ever So Slightly Smaller //
In 2019 and beyond we have serious plans to get closer to our customers. That’s not as easy as it sounds given that this year alone we have shipped SG goodies to over 50 countries! But in January I’ll be taking a trip to Canada to solidify our plans to launch stolengoat.ca.
This new platform will allow us to better serve our growing customer base in Canada and North America. Low cost shipping, easy returns, stocking into select bike shops and hopefully an all-round better experience for this part of the globe. We are also looking to roll this concept out to Australia later on in the year.
Belgian Brothers (and Sisters) //
We have a few suppliers here at stolen goat, but Bioracer remain very much our closest allies. I have always enjoyed working with Danny and his dedicated team but this year even more so. We even got to spend a few days with them in Austria for the Cycling World Championships where they pretty much won all the medals on offer in terms of athletes wearing Bioracer clothing.
This trip solidified in my mind something that has been bugging me for a while – we really need to bring more of Bioracer to the UK. The kit is awesome and yes it literally makes you faster, but Bioracer deep down is much more than that…
Like us they treat their staff and partners like an extended family. Cycling is life to these people. I sat near Raymond (the founder of Bioracer) in Austria as race after race unfolded, and that guy still has nothing but pure love and enthusiasm for this crazy sport. Bioracer are becoming more and more entwined in the heritage (past, present and future) of cycling and their passion is infectious.
So, it is with great joy that I can say that stolen goat will be offering Bioracer Custom Kit as of January 2019. If you would like your company, charity, event or team to be wearing high performing kit to the same specs that we offer right here at stolen goat then we can help you with that. Again, there will be more on this announcement in the coming weeks and months but we will be focusing on support for corporate companies and event organisers as this scale of clothing supply is something we are very familiar with and feel it is an under-served part of the market.
Oh yeah, and of course we’ll be launching our brand new collection at the end of January! This new season of kit is ram packed with goodies! I’m really very excited indeed to see how you all react to it ;-) Join the newsletter to be first in the loop >>
In the meantime, I wish you and your family a very happy Christmas and New Year. Thank you for your support in 2018, in whatever form that support has taken.
We are all taking a few days off now to recharge the batteries and pack in some quality time with the family, ready to push hard on those pedals in January… and I’m personally going to go and nurse my hangover with a few mince pies!