One size- or style- does not fit all, and although times are changing, women continue to face challenges when it comes to cycle wear. “Find a need and fill it,” the saying goes. As is the case with many start ups, Rebecca Redett’s own needs sparked her entrepreneurial spirit. She founded Sassy Cyclist to create the clothes she wanted to ride in.
PBE Do you have any background/education/training in sewing and or fashion design?
RR No, not at all! I am a former nurse-midwife and spent my former career in healthcare. The idea for the company came from a love of cycling (and a dislike of the typical cycling apparel). My friends and I used to make a team jersey for an annual charity ride. And while we loved our own graphics, we weren’t so thrilled with the actual garment. So I decided to go ahead and try to make one we’d love! We were the Sassy Sisters so my company became SassyCyclist.
PBE How did you find/choose the company that manufactures the Sassy Cyclist line?
RR The first batch of jerseys was made in the garment district in NYC. Through a stroke of Google, I found a sportswear apparel manufacturer in Baltimore, where I live. Every subsequent collection and the development of new products (sleeveless style, headbands, and arm warmers) have been made at this local company. Its close proximity, 8 miles from my house, allows me to visit when I need to meet with the staff, deliver supplies, check on samples, and pick up the final products. I’ve learned a lot about cut and sew clothing production from these factory visits. And I like being involved at all stages of production.
PBE Did you start by making prototypes/one-offs? How long did it take to get to the production-run stage?
RR Yes, I made several prototypes, had to tinker with the fit and make adjustments along the way. It took a little over a year from the idea to the first collection of jerseys.
PBE What’s your favorite part of running your business?
RR Bike riding (I consider it part of my job! ), meeting other female cyclists, and the actual designing of the jerseys. I have tons of ideas for really fun jersey designs and other cycling gear, but only a few of them come to fruition since each collection is a big investment.
PBE Where do you find inspiration?
RR For design, ideas come from anywhere and everywhere- flowers, grasses, a cool pattern on a tile, repeating patterns. It’s fun because bright colors and eye-catching patterns are important for visibility in cyclewear.
Ideas for new products often come from fellow riders and people who come up to my booth. Starting to make arm warmers because women ask for them frequently. Same with the full zip style- a customer asked for it.
PBE What’s your favorite ride/route/destination?
RR I enjoy both mountain biking and road cycling, so my local favorite spots are:
Mountain biking: Little Gunpowder trail in Baltimore County. It’s fun, zippy, well cared for, and often runs along a river.
Road cycling: The many beautiful, hilly roads in nearby Northern Baltimore County. There are beautiful farms, fields, old stone fences, horses, roadside flowers. So picturesque, I often have to stop to take photos!