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Translated by
Roberta HERRERA
Published
Mar 23, 2022
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Café du Cycliste continues to forge ahead

Translated by
Roberta HERRERA
Published
Mar 23, 2022

Towards the end of the summer of 2021, Rémi Clermont and André Stewart, founders of Café du Cycliste, welcomed a new investor to the brand, which since 2010 has been offering premium sportswear for those who count cycling as part of their lifestyle. 


Rémi Clermont,co-founder and creative director of the cycling brand - Café du Cycliste


Gregory Mager joined the company as a minority shareholder. The entrepreneur co-founded the company Maesa in 1997, which supports and develops beauty brands internationally. The organization reports a global turnover of more than 350 million euros, with a presence in the European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and American markets.

"For the past four years, we have been ranked among the 500 fastest-growing companies in France by Les Echos. In 2020, we grew by 50% and since 2017 we have grown by an average of 40% per year," said Clermont. "We are profitable. Beyond just searching for financial resources we needed expertise to accompany us in our growth." The brand is positioned on a rapidly growing premium cycling apparel market driven by both a general trend and the economic context caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen many people choosing to ride bikes these past few months.


Café du cycliste



"In 2010, the cycling apparel offering was quite homogeneous with a predominantly performance-oriented approach. Frankly, competition is great, it has given rise to new ideas. Obviously, the products remain technical, but we differentiate ourselves with our perception of cycling as an outdoor sport. We are based in Nice, with the most beautiful terrain in France. We have given a real outdoor and mountaineer identity to the brand. It's a different state of mind and this is reflected in our products. We chose to offer stripes and this remains one of our signature elements. And even if on the silhouettes the technical constraints limit creativity, when different types of practices emerge we are not afraid to introduce these features, such as hoodies for example.”

The brand has developed through word of mouth and is making a name for itself through its e-commerce site, which last year generated 80% of its 11 million euros in sales. The brand also relies on its two brick-and-mortar stores in Nice and Mallorca, "located in practical areas" and a few retailers. “We have never tried to expand our network of retailers," explained Clermont. “Today we have about thirty that are positioned on a premium sports market, as well as Mr Porter and Matches Fashion who sought us out to add a technical offering to their high-end fashion range. But we are in the process of strengthening our company. There were about thirty of us last year and we should be about forty by the end of the year. We currently have a retail manager who is working on a deployment strategy.”

Even if its figures continue to climb, the brand intends to keep up its double-digit growth over the years to come. Besides having a profitable business, Café du Cycliste has solid foundations to justify its expansion, which should lead to sales of up to 15 million euros by 2022. Women in particular have been seduced by the brand and its quasi-genderless designs, with women products accounting for 30% of its sales. 


Women products account for 30% of the brand’s sales - Café du cycliste


“We didn't want to offer pink or sexy products," explained Clermont. “We have always considered that we should provide the same solutions to men and women who exercise for pleasure.” The other asset of the brand within the framework of its development prospects is its local sourcing and production. This comes as an advantage at a time when materials and products from Asian factories are subject to production and delivery delays. It is also a way to meet environmentally responsible standards, since the brand is committed to a CSR audit.  "Initially it was a fairly rational approach to assume that things would be better done within a framework with European standards. We now realize that it is an added bonus as we already tick off quite a few boxes in terms of CSR. Not everything is perfect, but it's important because it's a subject that customers are paying more and more attention to.”


The brand already offers products for everyday use such as jackets, but could push the envelope even further - Café du cycliste


In parallel with this theme, the brand intends to expand into cycling accessories such as glasses, shoes and bags, and is starting to think about collaborating with a lifestyle or premium sportswear brand to produce silhouettes for commuters: urbanites who go to the office or move around the city by bike. 

Over the next few months, Café du Cycliste will be putting tools in place in order to boost its presence in existing markets. The brand is already well established in the British and German markets as well as in North America. However, it aims to strengthen its foothold in France, where it currently generates less than 15% of its sales. Future developments could include opening stores in key retail locations.
 

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