Vaela is the invention of Jo and Huw. Sister and brother in-law, Jo is a ‘sustainability professional’ who’s been riding for years - although never in lycra - and Huw’s spent his career helping other people to find and exploit business opportunities. He’s also been riding and racing for years - though always in lycra.
We both believe that cycling has a much bigger role to play in the built environment than it does right now. We established Vaela in 2020 after spending the previous few years being serially disappointed by the cycle clothes available to women – and by the general difficulties faced by women who wish to ride more easily and more often.
Vaela’s principal concern is the design and manufacture of women’s clothing that looks beautiful off the bike and works wonderfully on the bike. We sell direct, we make finite runs (so when it’s gone, it’s gone) and we offer savings to customers who pre-order.
We also work with partners to develop subtly innovative and sustainable solutions to the other issues faced by women when cycling such as safety and confidence. We actively support organisations promoting change and donate 2% of our revenue to organisations chosen by our customers whose visions are in line with our own.
We think that riding a bike shouldn’t leave you looking a mess or like you’ve stepped out of the gym, or mean that you need to drag a whole change of clothes around with you. Vaela wants you to be able to cycle without looking like a cyclist (or a packhorse).
We make stylish clothes that work on the bike – not bike clothes that are stylish. They are made from natural and durable materials like cotton and wool, and we use expert design and pattern-cutting to build movement and performance into them rather than simply adding man-made fibres.
Our clothes are the opposite of fast fashion. They are designed and made to be sustainable from the outset. We pay acute attention to every element - from fabric selection and zip provenance to the design of the seams.
We prioritise the environment and social equity over absolute technical performance, and we promise full transparency on how we are doing relative to our B Corporation grade sustainability ambitions.
That our suppliers and manufacturers share our vision is not accidental. We have deliberately sought out organisations who share our 4 core views on sustainability:
1. Use natural materials
- Use biodegradable materials wherever possible. Avoid plastics, harmful or pollutant chemicals. Minimise water use through the growing cycle and the manufacturing process. Be waste conscious at every stage. Promote upcycling and recycling.
2. Be carbon neutral
- Achieve quantified carbon neutrality right across our business and our supply chain. Minimise our carbon footprint and only offset using recognised legitimate programmes.
3. Provide decent employment
- Provide workers with fair pay and humane working conditions. Be transparent with customers about the whole manufacturing process.
4. Be transparent about our impact
- Measure the impact of business. Build an inclusive and transparent business model that champions women’s empowerment. Create social and economic benefits whilst promoting craftsmanship.
Vaela is necessarily starting small but we have ambitious plans to grow the business. We don't plan to do this by relentlessly marketing the ‘same old same old’ but by adding clothing and accessories to our range that are genuinely different, and our customers tell us they really want.
We will also broaden our size range to ensure that we can cater for every woman who would like to purchase a Vaela product.
Jo & Huw