Tarragindi-based entrepreneur Barbara Spooner launched her cyclewear from scratch back in 2017 and there seems to be no stopping her, with bigger plans for the brand.
Spooner, who created Birds on Bikes for plus-size and older women with the help of her husband a few years ago, wanted to hire new staff and expand across New Zealand, Britain, Canada, and the US.
She’s looking at starting making the cyclewear in-house and getting them into small boutique stores, as well as moving to new premises.
Spooner has also decided to make cyclewear for ‘normal-sized’ women, with help from an investor and business partner.
At present, the brand is experiencing more than a 50-per cent growth each year but she has bigger plans, which includes pushing for more sales internationally.
It all started when her husband, an avid cyclist, encouraged her to ride but the problem was she couldn’t find cyclewear that would make her feel comfortable and stylish.
“I’d go into the cycling stores and the reaction would be ‘No sorry we haven’t got anything like that, but we have been asked a lot lately…’ It was then that I decided to create my own range of cycling clothing for women of ALL sizes. Lumps, bumps and all,” she shared.
Whilst Birds on Bikes was launched in 2017, it was in 2019 that the business kicked off.
She was inspired to develop and launch the new range of products after participating in the Fashion 360 Incubator programme, an intense 6-month programme where she worked on the business, spoke to industry specialists and had access to great mentors.
It helped that she has a diploma in Graphic Design and Advertising, which she obtained from the Commercial Arts Training College in Brisbane.
One of the things that will help her with her expansion plans is the $5,000 grant she received through the Lord Mayor’s Women in Business program. It would allow her to invest in an industrial coverstitch machine for her business.
More than being a brand, Birds on Bikes also has an online community group for like-minded women that ride or want to ride a bike, providing a safe space for the ladies to share their stories, make new friends, and encourage the other riders.
Through her group, Spooner wanted members to feel safe and to enjoy bike riding whilst sharing time with family and friends; to be active participants, involved and engaged with the beautiful outdoors.
“When I look at this group it always reminds me why I created Birds on Bikes. The joy on the faces of women that are normally neglected when it comes to cycling fashion is what keeps me going,” she said.