It's the last day of 2014, and I'm one of those reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the next. This past year has of course brought a whirlwind of change, since on the 20th December 2013 Flare Clothing Company Ltd. officially started trading. So, I'm going to share with you my thanks for some of the incredible highlights of 2014, and give you the low down of what to expect in 2015.
In a crazy rush to get stock designed, produced and delivered in time we arrived at the London Bike Show on a Wednesday afternoon in February. Not knowing what to expect we unloaded the contents of our (hired) van to a buzz of excitement in the ExCel arena. Bit by bit we constructed our stand, not quite realising that this would the first of many iterations of a display space, and stood in that 3 x 2m rectangle for the next four days. At the London Bike Show we met some of the people we work regularly with today - Phil at VeloVixen, Ellis at Fibrax, as well as some of our first (and still loyal) customers. It was also a fantastic opportunity to meet Emma Atkinson, with whom we had shared many emails and conversations but it was brilliant to spend the weekend with her, discussing plans for how we would work together.
At the beginning of March we headed up to (very windy) Innerleithen to film a video with Emma. We wanted a storyline to the edit, and decided to take advantage of a crash she had on the fire road to shoot an "Alice in Wonderland" style daydream, that highlighted the bright colours of the 2014 "Roost" clothing collection. It was brilliant fun hanging out with Emma over the weekend and catching up in the pub after the two days of riding and filming. If you haven't seen the edit check it out here:
In May I entered the world of racing, spurred on by Ben Skinner-Watts and Emma. The Steve Peat Steel City race was the place to try, and since we were sponsoring both the ladies' and ladies' open categories I thought that if I won I could at least save Flare a prize (haha). Sadly it was not to be, and I came mid-pack in the open category and some wonderfully talented women took home the goodies! We had a fantastic day in Grenoside woods though, the sun was shining and pretty much everyone in Sheffield came out to watch the action. Even a flat car battery at the end of the day didn't dampen our spirits!
Mid August happens to be my birthday, and this year something happened to arrive from Santa Cruz after months of waiting.
Not much else needs to be said.
At the end of August we then went back to Scotland for another spot of filming. We were very lucky to be visited by Sarah Atkin, national New Zealand and Oceania Downhill Champion while she was travelling between world cups so wanted to show her some great trails and shoot an edit. Back in Innerleithen we had another great weekend of riding and shooting, so if you didn't catch that one when it went live check it out here:
We went to a lot of races in 2014, Steel City as I've mentioned, Aston Hill races, the Downhill National Championships but of course the significant presence over the race season was the British Downhill Series. If you didn't know, we sponsored the senior women's category, so made appearances at every round, from Fort William to Bike Park Wales. The highlight of the BDS for us was handing out the prizes at the last round to all the awesome girls who have done amazingly throughout the season.
At the end of September we had the pleasure of going up to Scotland to take part in the Red Bull Foxhunt with Rachel Atherton. I posted a blog about it earlier in the year, so check that out here if you're interested. The Foxhunt was a really special event for many reasons, we finally met Rachael Gurney after a summer of emails and Facebook messages, and hung out with loads of girls who we had met and spoken to earlier in the year. Throughout the race season I had also met so many of my riding heroes - Manon Carpenter, Tahnée Seagrave and the at the Foxhunt I rounded out the top three with the privilege of meeting Rachel Atherton!
Mid-November we had our most exciting product launch to date - this was the longest development process with the most 'hiccups' throughout, but we were thrilled to announce the arrival of the Cloudburst Waterproof Jacket. We have so far had fantastic feedback on this, and can't wait to see more people wearing them in 2015
Finally, not to out-do the arrival of the Juliana, but on the 29th November we welcomed the third member of the Flare family. Tippie the Border Collie (can you guess his namesake?) will be in attendance at all 2015 events, so make sure to come and play some ball if you see him!
In 2015 we have some incredibly exciting things to come, so here's a sneak peek of things to look out for!
Flare Rider Co. The new men's line will be going full force in 2015 with a line-up of technical enduro and DH clothing to complement the women's collection
New Flare Collection The Spring/Summer 2015 collection is set to be AWESOME! We're loving the colours and graphics and the quality has stepped up a notch with an enduro-weight line as well as a heavy-duty DH collection. This is set to launch in the Spring.
Race Team We're really excited about all of our riders for next year, from enduro to DH to Xterra to sled-dog racing. Keep an eye on the Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on hot they're doing throughout the year
New Blog Series Jim Barron from Dirt Vixens will be starting a blog series here from January, with one new blog released on the 10th of each month. This will start with bike choice and setup, continuing on with different techniques and tips for riding other trail conditions. Check back after the tenth of the month for the first instalment!
Events This year we will be attending even more events than in 2014, the British Downhill Series, the UK Gravity Enduro, Fort William Downhill World Cup, Tweedlove and of course Steel City among others, along with our wonderful roster of riders.
Portugal/Spain/USA We're heading overseas several times this year, in January to Wheelers MTB in Portugal, in June back to Pure Mountains in the Sierra Nevada and to the USA in August where we'll finally meet Anka and Moe from Dirty Jane and our riders on the other side of the world.
Phew! I finally want to say thank you to all of those who have supported us throughout the year. I can't express my gratitude enough, I hope that you're as excited for things to come as we are!
Happy New Year! xxx