Endura has recently been voted the number one mountain bike apparel brand by BIKE Magazine, Europe’s leading cycling magazine. We spoke to Pamela Barclay, one of Endura’s founding directors, to find out how they’ve kept their renegade spirit and no-nonsense attitude at the heart of it at all, and how that’s led to their success.
How long have you been operating in the German market for?
“We’ve been in Germany in a low-key way for around twelve years now, but to begin with this was without the investment and strength it really needed behind it. Around nine years ago Richard Thomas approached our ‘seat-of-the-pants’ stand at Eurobike [a global trade fair for the bike business], perhaps taking pity on us and he joined the clan as Sales & Marketing Manager for the region, built a world-class sales team around him and the rest is Endura folklore. It’s always helpful to have an external perspective because he had the confidence in us, that we were authentic, and could see the potential that we were too close to recognise.”
How does it feel to be recognised in such a big way for your kit?
“We are miserable Scots and have to force ourselves to really recognise these milestones. And when you do, it can feel a bit emotional. Over the last few years, we’ve built this real sense of self confidence, compared to always feeling like the underdog. Four or five years ago, we had the feeling like ‘you know what we have something really good here’, that’s when our marketing showed a step change, illuminating stories of the brand and bringing out the renegade spirit Endura has at its core.
“We are all based in a little Scottish town near Edinburgh, and Germany is vast and demanding as a market, which is something that has definitely pushed us forward. We have a strong marketing proposition and the next stage is how we internationalise that machine.
“This milestone of being the number one brand in Germany is a result of three elements – product being strong, the brand being desirable, and the excellent job our salespeople do of getting it out there, distributed and connected to German customers.
“It’s so satisfying and confirmatory see the language of mountain biking transcend borders and the values we have as a Scottish brand resonating in a different country.”
What is it that sets your kit apart from your competitors?
“Our kit has always been no-nonsense bullet-proof kit but historically it looked clunky. In the last two years the design and aesthetic has massively lifted. We produce solid, trusted kit that now also looks fantastic.
“We have a lot of colour and strong print in the offer now. Previously it was sea of black and grey, but since securing a higher share of the market in Europe, our range is now exciting and has had an injection of colour which has paid off. It’s a testament to the input from our German teams being taken on board.”
What does the future of the cycling industry look like?
“This new normal is a moment to seize as an industry. Cycling is again incredibly prominent, but how many of these new cyclists, who have come onboard in 2020 will still be cycling, will they revert back to team sports? We’ve done incredibly well in terms of growth and we’ve also taken an enormous amount of market share with our in-stock model. The challenge for us is how we play the risk for next year.
“Commute is the big opportunity, especially post Covid-19 transport challenges. In terms of the proposition, we have been on the right side of Covid-19, we’re humble and recognise we’ve been lucky. In terms of how we’ve managed to succeed through this, we hold stock and are very agile about getting back into stock. We’ve seen a massive increase in sales and have the ability to deliver when our competitors cannot.
“Forward orders have come through but we’re in uncharted territory as an industry, we have a model that sits well with it and product that’s accessible as opposed to that of a niche hipster brand. People new into the market feel a sense of confidence with us, rather than all the gear and no idea, and that’s what will make the difference.”