2012: the year that London hosted the Olympics, the Queen marked a mere 60 years on the throne, Skyfall was released, Andy Murray won his first grand slam, the last typewriter was made in the UK and David Cameron forgot his 8-year-old daughter in a pub.
It was also the year that VeloVixen was born, during those heady, feel-good days after the Olympics.
Ten years later, we're still here! In the early months, we had inevitably suffered from imposter syndrome. In a male-dominated sector, was this a viable business? Was there really a proper audience of female cyclists out there?
Were we - with our 'useful' experience of acting and investment - even the right people to be doing it?
Today, we're recognised as the home of women's cycling. We've helped tens of thousands of women to get more from their cycling. We still hand select our expansive range of cycling gear to combine quality, value and style.
Our community of subscribers and Facebook Group members is thriving - a true example of how kindred spirits can share a passion. And our VeloVixen own brand outsells all our other brands.
So to mark our 10th anniversary, we've launched a special collection. It's a combination of reinventions of favourite designs set alongside fresh new looks. And each one is personal to us as a family business.
Here's how the designs were inspired into reality:
Our timeless striped colour combo has been reborn - this time with some striking additions. As Claudia (somehow still smiling after a challenging 6 months of pregnancy!) shows in the picture, it remains the beautiful array of positive colours, elegantly stretchy fabric and guaranteed smile-creator.
Where did the colours come from, you ask? It's very personal to us, as founders. You can see some of the inspiration in the images above, taken on the 2010 trip that inspired VeloVixen:
- The lighter blue is a nostalgic nod to the huge South American skies we cycled under for a year in the lead up to VeloVixen, as well as the Argentine flags that flew in every small town we passed through.
- The yellow is a blend of Patagonian gorse, unforgiving Andean sun and endless yellow road lines.
- The deep pink is the feist of the VeloVixen cyclist.
- The orange is our daughter Emma's lifelong favourite colour!
- The purple is the subtly regal sense of being entitled to get out there and be you.
- And the red is the belief in traditional cultures that red objects conveyed health through their colour alone!
We've also reflected these in the beautiful new Rapida Pila (meaning 'stack', or - in Spanish slang - 'energy') gilet, with its distinctive and super-visible multi-coloured VV foxes :
Elle and Claudia wearing the Rapida II Jersey and the Rapida Pila Gilet (top), and the Rapida Tri-Suit (above)
Talking of classics, when we asked our Facebook Group Cheetah which design they most wanted revived, the winning vote was for the Cheetah.
This feisty graphic overlays its strong orange and purple shades with that fabulous wild print to create a unique look that's had Vixens turning heads since our first collection.
We are big animal people at VeloVixen, and wanted to reflect that in this design without resorting to any old leopard print. Strong colours also stir our souls. From what our customers tell us, this seems to fit the bill.
Claudia sparkling in the Cheetah II Jersey and Cheetah Bandido Neckwarmer
The Splat design is all about the carefree joy of getting out on your bike. Like throwing paint around, it's a release, an explosion of joy and a buzz of endorphins. It's something we've all experienced at VeloVixen, and it's part of cycling life.
This is our most vibrant Splat colourway yet - a perfect accompaniment to the fresh greens and bright wild flower colours of the early British summertime when the Oxfordshire countryside around where we live and work looks at its most liberating.
When we did our photo shoot, we couldn't believe how striking it looked set against a rural April backdrop.
There's a jersey, base layer and bandido neckwarmer available in the collection. We're confident you'll look every inch a cycling Vixen in the Neon Splat.
Claudia and Elle lighting up the country paths near VeloVixen in the Neon Splat Jersey and Neon Splat Bandido Neckwarmer
The two base layers in the collection are just achingly VeloVixen! Whether you go for the VivaVixen Rosé (left), with its joyous array of vixens, or the Neon Splat (right), they're frankly too good to wear under a jersey!
We're expecting to wear ours on the turbo trainer and for other indoor sessions, and even when we've covered them up we'll know there's something special under our other layers.
And then there's our shorts - as featured in all the pictures above. Whether you prefer bibshorts or standard bibless cycling shorts, the famous fit and pad remain every bit as proven. And this year, there's even a strong pink logo featuring alongside the classic orange.
We're so proud of our VeloVixen range, none more so than this latest, celebratory collection. It's a truly personal project for us. We hope you like it.