Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
“The bicycle industry is thought by some guys, and the sport is very often presented through performance, while this is not necessarily what girls are looking for”, stresses Véronik Bastien (left), who launched with his sister Michele (right) the company’s Peppermint.
Quebec is full of passionate entrepreneurs who are trying to leverage an idea or an innovative concept. Each week, The Duty takes you to meet people with a vision, whose ambitions could transform your daily life. Today, twin sisters who offer a new way to roll.
After having experienced the world of marketing agencies and met all kinds of customers, Véronik and Michèle Bastien believed that more large-thing not intimidated. It was before the fall of 2016, when they landed in Las Vegas to participate in one of the most important gatherings of the bicycle industry in North America, Interbike.
The two sisters were displaced so far to meet some of the suppliers of the fabrics with which they were dealing, from the beginnings of their young company, bike clothing, Peppermint.
“We arrived there and we look as if we were the pitounes of the place. We said “let’s see, that is our company,” ” recalls, Véronik.
The surprise caused by the arrival of two young entrepreneurs in an industry dominated by men illustrates the reason for Véronik and Michèle have wanted their place in it. With the Peppermint, they give themselves a mission to offer clothing and bike accessories designed for women, by women.
“The bicycle industry is thought by some guys, and the sport is very often presented by focusing on the performance, the technical side, the intensity, whereas this is not necessarily what girls are looking for “, stresses Véronik.
Be inspired by the yoga
The two sisters had the idea to create a company bike clothing women in 2015, when they were on their saddle, Croatia. The friend who accompanied them did not have the equipment necessary to follow them in their day of cycling. And at the moment we gave him a beautiful set blue, white and purple, this cyclist with little experience took suddenly confidence.
“When we are back in Quebec, we thought that there was something to do with it. There was an opportunity to create what yoga and running have managed to do, that is to say, of enabling girls to be comfortable in their own skin and encouraging them to do physical activity, ” says Véronik. “We want to redefine the experience of cycling among women,” adds Michèle taking up the slogan of the company.
The sisters Bastien chose the bike because they love this sport, but especially because they saw an important need to fill. In performing a market study, they found that the women did not know the brand of bike or that they do not recognize, then they form a significant proportion of the population cycling. In 2015, 45 % of the 3.2 million adults cycling in Quebec were women.
Export a movement
The founders of the Peppermint claim that their products differ from the existing brands by their design more daring, their attention to detail and the local design of their clothes.
“In the bicycle world, people will often say that the recipe for the female clothing, it is” pink it, shrink it “, that is to say that we can change the red to the pink and it takes a very small man to the small of a woman “, shows Michele, noting that the body of male and female are very different.
The products are only sold online, but the company tries to make themselves known by showing the ephemeral boutiques, developing a network of ambassadors on wheels, participating in cycling events and organizing for a year now its own event, the Peppermint Bikefest.
The business went well for the two sisters until a fire swept through their warehouse and their offices last October, making it go up in smoke virtually all of their inventory. “We were back to zero “, $ Véronik.
“Our brand would have been able to crumble in the space of a day,” notes Michele, but we had worked so hard to be more than a product that we haven’t seen impact. When we showed our products, the clients had remained faithful. “
Over the next few years, the two entrepreneurs thus relate to the rest of Canada and possibly the United States to export their clothes, but also the movement that they have managed to create.