Hello Herd! Another lap of the sun ticked off and what a year it’s been. 2021 has brought with it highs and lows, so it’s a little tricky to know where to start. Let’s start with the highs I guess…

2021 // The Highs //

Expanding the HQ Team

The team here at Stolen Goat HQ is now double the size in terms of head count compared to November 2020. In what feels like an “Avengers Assemble” type moment, we now have an incredible team of talented people. We’ve added depth and experience to our marketing, operations, product development, customer service and design pillars. It’s always a delight to welcome new people to the team, and together we move forward and grow stronger. I’m confident that 2022 will be, in many ways, a defining year for this group. Stolen Goat is approaching it’s tenth birthday and in that time I’m pleased to say that only 1 person has chosen to leave, and he had solid reasons and has gone on to explore his life goals. That’s a strong retention rate by any measure and long may it continue.

Launching Stolen Goat Custom

This year we also launched Stolen Goat Custom. In partnership with our main supplier Bioracer, we can now offer clubs, teams, groups, companies, charities (and more!) class-leading custom kit with your own bespoke design, created with help from one of our designers.

Bioracer themselves have had a great year – the highlight being the announcement that they are now the kit supplier for Team Ineos. Functioning at the top level of this sport is one of the key reasons why we choose to partner with them as a supplier, and the Ineos deal can only mean good things for Stolen Goat customers. The custom queue is rapidly growing, so get in touch if you want to join the party. You’ll be well looked after here.

The Stolen Goat Herd

The overall size of the Herd – our amazing Stolen Goat community – has also grown at a solid clip. Things like our Strava challenges have seen plenty of new hooves joining The Herd, and we’ve loved seeing more people getting involved! As a result we have averaged around 1000 new customers per month this year, and what’s more pleasing than that is seeing existing members of The Herd stick with us yet again. More than half our orders this year have come from “existing customers”. Thank you so very much to everyone that has ordered with us this year. It sounds cliché but  you make this possible, and ultimately we’d all be out of a job if it wasn’t for your support, loyalty and enthusiasm for this brand.

New Stockists

Stolen Goat started as a pure “direct to customer” concept but you asked for us to be stocked in physical shops and so we listened. It’s an absolute delight to work with the 30 or so stockists that we have on board. Each shop is unique in it’s own right and we feel adds significant value to The Herd as a whole. The prices are consistent, so if there’s a shop close by, you should definitely pop down. While Stolen Goat is currently stocked in UK shops all the way from Cornwall up to Scotland, we are very aware that there are big patches of the UK where we are missing and we have measures in place to add new dealers starting as early as January 2022, so stay tuned. We are also very aware that we have limited physical reach internationally. We do have plans on this front, but it’s a bit more… “logistically challenging” lets say.

Collaborations 

It would be very wrong not to mention the Adventures with Art Collection that we launched in October. This project actually started back in March after Tate got in touch to discuss the viability of the project. Of course we were very excited to be working with such a powerhouse and the synergy felt very strong. What’s nice is that they had already done their due diligence on us. Tate really liked the fact that we are focused on women as much as men in our offering, and that we have sustainability in mind with initiatives such as the Lifetime Guarantee, Crash Replacement policy, paper based mailing bags and so on. We also worked with Tate, and Bioracer, to create a paper-based solution to package the products. We’re planning to roll out a version of this in 2022 across the board.

We’ve done some other cracking collaborations this year too, such as joining forces with Stroud Brewery to create our special ‘Kidding’ organic pale ale and a custom Stroud Brewery cycling jersey. We’re also working with Cycling UK on a custom range of kit and accessories – the sales of which help to fund their projects to get more people out riding. Partnering with like minded companies is always great fun, and it’s a solid way of welcoming new people into The Herd. One such project that we love to be involved with is the Velovixen kit that we design and produce. They have such a wonderful brand and are also approaching their tenth anniversary so please make sure you keep an eye on good things from them in 2022.

The Stolen Goat Race Team 

Finally, the Stolen Goat Race Team was put in place this year. There is a lot more to come in 2022 from this talented team. But the brief was to bring together a group of local young riders, male and female, so they can have the freedom to ride and race without fear of the team going under or running out of sponsorship etc. Shout out to Simon Jodrell who is selflessly managing the team and doing a great job of developing their careers.

And to all those vocal members of the Facebook Herd Group (you know who you are) – yes, we will be launching the team kit for general sale shortly. :) For now, I strongly suggest you follow the race team on Instagram and twitter.

2021 // The Lows //

Well there’s two obvious things to mention here: Covid and Brexit. I don’t particularly want to dwell on the inner workings of these issues as I’m sure you’re bored of reading negative stuff about these things. That said they have been a major stress factor for us this year, and it makes me so very grateful to have such a hard working, intelligent and determined bunch of people on the team. Without the perseverance that many have shown this year, Stolen Goat would be in deep water I’m sure.

Brexit had a slightly delayed impact for us, mostly because we had taken measures at the tail end of 2020 to make sure we had plenty of stock to last for the first quarter. What we weren’t expecting was that the “deal” between the UK and the rest of Europe meant that members of the EU would have to pay import duties on goods from us even if the goods were actually manufactured… in the EU. Go figure. That sadly meant we had a couple of months of not being able to ship to the EU. But out of adversity comes innovation, or so the saying goes, and we now have a solid solution for shipping to the EU. At the same time we were able to improve our offering to all countries and can now happily provide free shipping as well as heavily reduced return fees to anyone on Planet Earth.

The combination of Brexit + Covid started to rear its ugly head as we moved through the year. Packages – and we’re talking pallets of stock – went missing, were delayed, quarantined, damaged, or “lost in transit”. In some cases they were sold off at auction by the very same couriers who were supposed to be bringing them to us. The sheer stress this has caused this year is very hard to quantify. It’s had a heavy financial impact, for sure. But more importantly it’s very distressing for us having to let our customers down. So I’m deeply sorry if you were personally affected by any of that. Stress aside, it caused massive delays, stock outs and general unpleasantness for much of the year.

It does feel like the transit issues are calming down a fair bit now, but the rising cost of raw supplies is starting to be felt. Most of our suppliers have had to put their prices up this year and our other suppliers are justifiably making similar predictions for the next 12 months. Covid is not done with us yet. But I am positive that The Herd will continue to survive and thrive, despite tricky trading conditions.

2022 // What’s Down the Road //

This bit is always tricky because there’s so much I want to tell you about, but I can’t spoil the surprise. There are a few snippets that I can give you though, and let’s just say you’re going to be seeing a lot more of us in 2022.

  • Stolen Goat will be the official kit supplier for The Cycle Show! Yep, Stolen Goat has been selected as the official kit supplier for The Cycle Show – the biggest cycling trade show of the year in the UK. April 2022 will see the show moving to Alexandra Palace in London and we will be there in force. We’ve even created a bespoke Cycle Show x Stolen Goat jersey, which you’ll be able to purchase via The Cycle Show when tickets go on sale early in 2022! More details to come, so stay tuned.
  • Attending the National Cycle Show. Speaking of shows, we will also be at the National Cycle Show in NEC Birmingham in June. Getting to exhibit at these shows is a great way for us to spread the SG word, and we’re really looking forward to getting to meet more of the cycling community.
  • New collections. New season, new kit! Of course, we will be launching a fresh new range in late Feb / early March. This drop is really exciting for us as there are some… additions to the range that we have been working on for way too long. We can’t wait for you to see them. As we move through the year you will see our ranges start to evolve somewhat – it’s all very exciting.
  • More Stolen Goat stockists. As I mentioned earlier, we are set to start opening up SG availability to more shops. While not every store is right for SG, if you have a local shop that you think would suit our offering then put them in touch, or let us know and we can reach out to them.
  • Stolen Goat Race Team – you’ll see a lot more from this lively bunch of talented individuals.
  • Ten years of Stolen Goat! It’s our 10th birthday, so you know, expect something ;-)

Crucially 2022, like the 9 years before it, will be about adding value to your life if you choose to join us in this journey. Whether you’re an out and out roadie, gravel rider, triathlete, mountain biker, runner or swimmer. If you use sport as a mechanism for escaping the mundane and to find a little more freedom in your life, then we want to be there for you.

For now, stay safe and enjoy the festive period. Thank you so much for your love and support this year, we can’t wait to show you what’s in store for 2022. Much love to you and your family from everyone at Stolen Goat.