It’s International Women’s Day, and we thought what better time to share a little more about the woman behind Spin Shed and the challenge of a lifetime that gave birth to the idea for the site!
So, nearly two years ago, myself and a brilliant friend Ann, set off on the challenge of a lifetime. We cycled unaided the length of France, 1060 miles in 14 days - with a slight detour up Mont Ventoux! This was a huge challenge for us, because just nine months prior to setting sail to St. Malo on the ferry, we had never even set bums on road bikes before, let alone ridden 80 miles a day for two weeks straight.
I’ll write more about our training and the trip itself in coming weeks as firstly, if we managed to achieve it, anyone can, and secondly, the route itself was awesome. We based it on the France En Velo book written by the brilliant cycling author, Hannah Reynolds, but as I said, I will talk a bit more about that in later blogs.
Anyway, back to how our trip led to the idea for Spin Shed being formed. As complete newbies to cycling we needed to get kitted out with the whole shebang! Bikes, pedals, shoes, clothing, gloves. And one of our biggest challenges, despite the physical challenge itself, was finding cycling clothing that we liked. We found the choice in mainstream outlets and high street shops was really limited, particularly for women, and also most of it made us look like pros (which wasn’t what we wanted when we were still having the occasional fall at traffic lights). We just wanted something stylish that we felt good in. Having the confidence to get out on the road can be daunting enough, without feeling uncomfortable in what you’re wearing.
So anyway, on our way down to Nice I decided to launch a new stylish women’s cycling brand. But it wasn’t until I got back and started researching the market, that I realised just how many amazingly stylish independent brands already existed, just customers like us didn’t know where to find them. And that’s how Spin Shed was born.
Before building Spin Shed, we spent a lot of time understanding the difficulties small independent brands faced in reaching customers, and learning the reasons they can struggle to get stocked in the mainstream outlets. The agreements that are often enforced, for example minimum stock requirements and sale or return agreements, don’t favour smaller and independent brands. Our aim was to design a solution that gave customers a great shopping experience, being able to find brands all in one place, but offering stylish independent alternatives to the bigger names commonly seen.
The concept behind Spin Shed, is that it really helps everyone. Independent brands get to feature in a store along a similarly stylish range from other providers, therefore reaching a much wider audience; and customers can find brands they may not have seen elsewhere, all in one place.
The more customers we can encourage to shop through Spin Shed, the greater audience we can build for each of our brands. In addition, we’ve developed our rewards programme (explained here) to thank customers for shopping on the site, whilst building useful reviews.
Whilst the concept for Spin Shed originated from an idea to launch a women’s only brand, we found through talking to other cyclists, the need existed for all, so you will find Men’s, Women’s and Unisex ranges on the site. Having said that, I do think we have a pretty amazing collection of Women’s specific clothing that we’re really proud of (with even more to come), check them out here...