In our latest series, we’re getting to grips with the brands that you deal with every day. The ‘Five minutes with’ series will present a company with five short, sharp and to-the-point questions about who they are and what they do. This week we’re joined by Madison Clothing senior brand manager Russell Whitaker.
Can you tell us the history of the company?
The brand actually started out with humble beginnings, as a small bike shop in north London in 1977. Seeing the need for cycle products in the UK that weren’t yet available, we started to import products and began to grow with a small portfolio of products. As time passed we began producing a small range of clothing, including the infamous Tour short in the early 1980s which established itself for decades to come. Around 2007, we began to revamp the clothing and develop new ranges. Ten years on from there, we have a complete range of mountain bike, road and commute apparel and boast a couple of World Championship jerseys along the way.
What are you ultimately trying to achieve?
We’re all riders here at Madison Clothing and understand how expensive our sport can be, so producing kit that riders can be proud to wear and at a fair price is what we set out to do every season.
What gives you an edge over other brands in the industry?
From a consumer’s point of view, we work with some of the best athletes in the country to develop our team collections. We have two professional teams in the form of Madison Saracen on the mountain and Madison Genesis on the road that are a big asset for us when developing new kit. Team feedback and new technology gets fed straight into our ranges, so our customers can be confident that if our apparel is good enough for pro riders, it will be good enough for them. From a trade point of view, the brand is for specialist retailers only, has a lifetime guarantee and no forward ordering so it is protected on every level for bricks and mortar dealers and that’s where we’re having real success. People like to try clothes before they buy them, and we aim to work with our dealers to offer a really exciting in-store package.
What innovations in the industry are exciting you at the moment?
We’re really excited that reflective fabrics are finally becoming affordable, and we’re working on some new styles using this technology. It really opens the door for creative design in the urban category to move away from the traditional bright yellow jackets that have dominated the category in the past. The urban and commute category is hugely important to us and one that we are working really hard to improve at the moment.
What does the future hold for the company?
We feel that we have really reached a level of maturity over the past couple of years with various awards and race wins vindicating all the hard work that we have put in. We still have lots more work to do and every year are looking to better our current product offering, and we hope to continue to push the boundaries from a product development point of view. Our ultimate aim is to continue to grow, continually develop our ranges and with any luck pick up a few more victories for Madison Saracen and Madison Genesis along the way!