Yesterday, VeloVixen announced the devastating news that they are now going into liquidation. In case this phrase is new to you, liquidation simply means that they cannot keep trading and are forced to sell (liquidate) all their assets to pay for any outstanding debts.
We’ve worked with VeloVixen for a good 6+ years and they started around the same time as Stolen Goat, back in 2012. In the last 12-18 months I have worked extremely closely with Phil & Liz, the founders, so I felt compelled to write something today. Reading their post last night really hit home.
To many, this will come as a major shock, especially if you are a fan or customer of theirs. I can tell you that, like many small brands in the cycling industry, they have really fought hard to stay afloat, but these last 1-2 years have been crushingly tough for so many companies.
To be honest, they have always been up against it. They launched in 2012 when women’s cycling was barely a category on most major cycling retailer websites. They’ve only ever been able to sell to 50% of humans and even today women’s cycling is a much smaller industry than men’s cycling. But they approached the challenge as only Phil & Liz know how – with courage, good humour and a bucket load of passion.
I want to take a moment to reflect on what they have achieved…
- They survived ten long years in an underfunded, low margin business. All the while making it look effortless from the outside.
- They pioneered the niche, and have deservedly won several awards over the years. No major player has dared to even attempt a female only cycling platform. I’ve seen a few start-ups over the years have a go, but they all fizzled out pretty damn quickly.
- They have created an incredibly vibrant Facebook group purely for female cyclists, that thankfully will continue to exist.
- They have helped to raise bucket loads of money for charity.
- They’ve headlined women’s-specific areas at major cycling events.
- And, vitally, they’ve supported, encouraged and inspired countless women, of all ages, to get involved in the sport of cycling.
I know there are people out there that have literally had their lives transformed by being a part of the VeloVixen community and Phil & Liz should take full credit for that.
Liquidation is a messy and painful process. It’s the stuff of nightmares to be honest. There will be VeloVixen customers out there who may lose out in terms of returns etc., but I implore you to look at the bigger picture. Phil & Liz, and their family, have lost a major part of their income overnight, as well as the people that they employed. I can tell you that Stolen Goat is owed a significant sum of money as a result of this process and it’s money we are unlikely to ever see again. Regardless of the impact, I place zero blame on VeloVixen, I know exactly how tough trading is right now and we need to support each other.
I’m super sad to see this happen but I’m very proud to know Phil & Liz and I feel privileged that Stolen Goat could share in their journey in some way. They are amazing people and I’m sure the next part of their personal journey will be rewarding.
As to what happens to VeloVixen in the long run, well I’m hopeful that someone will be able to bring it back to life in the near future.
For now, please do what you can to support your favourite small businesses. It’s tough out here! Even if it’s just sharing social media posts and helping to spread the word – any support you can give means the world. There’s a bumpy road ahead, but together we can all do great things.