Words Emma Cole Photography Rob Milton
‘Rapha is a cult, but a good one,’ says Rapha’s CEO and founder Simon Mottram. ‘People aren’t buying Rapha because they want a badge that says they’re a cyclist, or a certain kind of cyclist.
‘It is much richer and deeper than that. It’s about how much they like cycling and about who they are as a person.’
Mottram will step down as Rapha CEO at the end of the year, though he will remain on the company’s board of directors. Under his tenure, Rapha’s popularity has become undeniable. In fact, the British clothing brand grew 30% last year and is on track for the same growth this year. And it has longevity on its side too.
Rapha’s Classic jersey is still one of its top ten most popular products, more than 17 years since the company launched in 2004.
‘The boom in cycling over the pandemic exposed us to lots of tailwind,’ says Mottram. ‘We’re one of those lucky brands who were in the right place with the right proposition.’
Communicating that proposition, however, has been more challenging of late. Rapha’s base is near King’s Cross in London, yet like the rest of the world it has had to adapt to new ways of working, now operating semi-virtually with a reshuffled office and a hot-desking policy, meaning empty chairs for much of the time. ‘My biggest challenge is to get everyone to understand what matters in the company as it gets bigger.’It used to be really easy when […]