The Side Hustle: Romance Cycling

You know you’re doing something right when your customers go from mates to an international audience just a few weeks after launch. In this week’s The Side Hustle, we speak to Nathan, co-founder of Romance Cycling, creators of eye-catching cycle apparel with a heart.

17th May 2017
by:

Hi Nathan. What’s your day job?

I am the design director for a newly launched magazine: INFRINGE.

INFRINGE is a platform dedicated to exploring the culture of hair. I have been part of it since it launched just over a year ago and our first printed issue is out in a few weeks, so it has been pretty full on lately.

What’s your side hustle?

I am one half of Romance Cycling: a small, independent London-based cycling label. My business partner Adam and I design and produce small batch limited run cycling kits. We aim to put out clothing that people see and immediately want to ride in. We have also set up a race team for this season to test and showcase our kits, but also to have fun in the midst of the thriving London cycling scene. But honestly — it all comes down to riding your bike with your mates.

The Side Hustle Romance Cycling
The Side Hustle Romance Cycling
The Side Hustle Romance Cycling

How did Romance come about?

We both have a deep love for cycling and ended up spending a tonne of money on kit. We played with the idea of creating our own kit — we had some ideas and design concepts that we loved. But the time, effort and cost to produce it just for ourselves never really stacked up. That’s when we thought about turning the idea into a brand and seeing if we could sell it.

This suddenly seemed like a challenge we had to take on. After sourcing the right manufacturer and sweating over the design, we had a “soft launch” with friends and were blown away with interest and sales. We then launched for real on our website and social media, and within a few weeks had an order book not just from the UK, but also Australia, America, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Dubai, Belgium — the list grew.

How do you balance work, life and your side project?

We manage pretty well. The work load is split pretty much down the line, but we are both loaded with work at different times. The process starts with me as I do all of the designs, work with the artists that we collaborate with and sort all artwork liaison. When that is done, Adam takes care of managing the production, dealing with the manufacturers in Italy, pricing, ordering and sizing. Then finally we have a product that we both have to market, sell and take care of packing and shipping off to customers. It’s a load of work but ultimately a load of work we quite enjoy doing.

The Side Hustle Romance Cycling

What's next for Romance?

This year we really upped our game. Rather than dealing on a low risk, pre-order strategy, we have taken a leap of faith and got a load of stock. But the main thing we have decided to do is work with two amazing artists: Camille Walala and Kate Moross; they both gave their time to create two super limited edition jerseys. All profits from these jerseys will go direct to World Bicycle Relief, an incredible charity that helps communities in rural developing countries to access education, healthcare and work through the power of bicycles. They’re changing lives for good — something we are passionate about — and it’s a chance for us to give something back through cycling, a sport we love.

Dream cycling holiday location?

We are actually heading to Sweden to do a 3-day ride through some Swedish forests, so really looking forward to that. We have done The Alps and The Dolomites in the last few years, which have been incredible, but this Swedish ride is way off the beaten track, so should offer a good adventure and hopefully some good stories to come home with.

Otherwise for cycling… we’ve got a lot of love for Mallorca.

What are you listening to right now?

Going through a podcast phase and just ripped through S-Town: 8.5/10

 

Nice one, thanks Nathan!

Follow Romance Cycling @RMNC_CC on social, or visit rmnc.cc to check out their latest collection.

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