Interview with RYB Denim

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RYB Denim, a fledgling company who hopes to make denim bicycle jeans  for ladies, is tapping into the intrinsic need of having comfortable, fashionable & functional active-wear for the growing market of female cyclists. I managed to snag this interview with Chandel Bodner recently:

So who is RYB Denim, and how did you come about?

Chandel BikeRYB Denim, Ride Your Bike Denim, is me, Chandel Bodner, designer and founder, and Steve Sal Debus, admin and marketing. We play polo together in Toronto. Not long after I returned here in May, Steve and I quickly realized that our personal strengths and experiences complimented each others in a way that would really make this project a success. Passionate about business and marketing, Steve wanted to explore more crowd-funding platforms, and I wanted to create and distribute the jeans I’d been designing and considering for years. It was the perfect storm to get this going, and to get it done quickly, with confidence, and with quality.
We are also a part of a community of cyclists the world over and they are also all RYB Denim. We’ve been fortunate enough to look to our friends, family, and community for support in getting this project off the ground. We’ve worked with great industry professionals, videographers, photographers, cycling enthusiasts, and more.

What was the moment you realized this was really going to happen?

The moment I really realized it was going to happen was when we got our studio space. At that point in time we were able to really dedicate consistently, and in our own environment, together. It was a benefit to keep us focused and discussing. That was a month ago, start of September.
The reality is, this isn’t “really going to happen” unless our indiegogo campaign is a success and we reach our funding goal. Indiegogo.com is our funding platform (¬†www.indiegogo.com/projects/ryb-denim), and we have a minimum goal to reach before we can actually produce any of the pairs of jeans. We have been getting great support so far, but we have to order a minimum amount of fabric, and make a min. # of jeans for it to be cost effective and also help us move into a growing business potential.
What do you make?
Simply put, we make jeans for women who ride bikes.

Why is it different than what people can already get? What are some of the things that make your bicycle clothing more awesome?

Working on pantsThere are companies, like Levi’s, that make a men’s commuter jean, but currently, there is not one company producing and distributing cycling jeans for women. All too well is the story of jeans being too low in the back, tearing and wearing through where the seat rubs, discomfort where the seat and bulky inseam meet, pant legs that are too wide, no stretch, no room in the thighs, knees, and calves, shallow pockets…these are all of the current issues with jeans that you can already get. These are the issues that we addressed, and solved.
Besides off the above issues being taken care of, we added cycling specific features, like a u-lock holder, reinforced belt loops, and reflective piping.

Why Denim specifically? Any plans to expand from there?

There are apparel products for cycling that are specifically made for women, there are none that are jeans. That’s why denim specifically. Our expansion plans keep us in the denim world, for now, but we would like to release more styles, colors, and other pieces, like jackets and shorts. It really all depends on the success of our indiegogo campaign.

Why women specific?

There are options for men already, and none for women. Being that I am one, it seemed natural to me to answer my own problems first and see who else was having them around me. It just grew from there. It helps that I moved around to a few major North American cities and really got to see first hand how many women are truly on the road riding their bikes every day. It was empowering and inspiring.

Are you marketing this product for polo players specifically, or bike riders in general?

RYB Denim (5) (Copy)They are marketed for any female that rides a bike, but they are also great for motorcyclist’s and even horseback riders. Our community of bike polo has been a great way to learn and develop the product, test it!, and share the information and has helped us promote greatly [and we thank you so much!], but I wouldn’t say that’s where it ends. We’ve been cycling for more years than we’ve played bike polo for, so the whole of the cycling community is where we focus our marketing.

We just recently sponsored the first ever ladies only bench-style bike polo event at a World Championships. The International Ladies Bench Event on October 20th was the finale to the 5 day Hardcourt Bike Polo World Championships. The winning team’s players, there are 8 teams of 6 or 7 players each, will receive a pair of RYB Denim jeans in their size at the end of our campaign.

What kind of price point are we going to see with your products? I’m assuming a bit more expensive given the attention paid to producing them, but what’s a ballpark figure?

We have a MSRP [manufacturer's suggested retail price] of $149 CAD. We are only selling through our online crowd-funded campaign on Indiegogo.com at the moment. They are $129 CAD there. There are other perks/rewards/products available for the campaign only as well. Items that might entice other supporters, at varying contribution levels.

How can readers learn more about what RYB is up to?

RYB Denim (2) (Copy)Well, right now RYB Denim is a concept that Steve and I have invest time and money into to get off the ground, but we are unable to do this without relying on the support of the cycling community, that is why we launched a crowd-funded campaign, www.indiegogo.com/projects/ryb-denim. This has all of the information about the jeans, how indiegogo works, how it would work for us, and how RYB Denim will get out of “concept” and on the road. We also have a facebook page that has fun updates about the denim line and about our friends, community, and supporters, www.facebook.com/RYBDenim.

What’s next?

Today, the counter says we have just over 24 days to reach our goal. Next we make sure the world of female cyclist’s knows about us! Steve has some marketing strategies up his sleeve, and we’ve got some more promoting to do.

We have another Toronto-local fitting and try-on evening. In November we’re taking RYB Denim to the Philly Bike Expo and while we’re down there we thought we’d do a New York pop-up fitting night, Montreal, and Ottawa! That feels like just the tip of the iceberg! It’s going to be a busy 37 days!

Anything else you care to mention?

I guess I just really want to say that I’m proud to be doing this, and working with Steve, and we both really thank the cycling community, our friends, family, and bike polo for supporting us so far. We really REALLY can’t do this without you all!
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