I was impressed by upstart Valencia St. shop Mission Bicycle Company’s soft launch of apparel this week, and the way they introduced it to local bloggers was especially well-planned. Instead of inviting us to fight for an owner’s attention over cheese and cheap wine at a crowded launch party, manager Jefferson McCarley offered one-on-one product show-and-tells and introductions to the makers of select bags and clothing after hours. (Not that you can buy them now–the shelving and showcase were set up only for the two hour event while passers by looked in the windows; the accessories and clothes won’t be available for purchase until August 22nd.)
I thought the promotions plan was a good one–not just because it prevented another pitch email, but because it was a more intimate way to show their selections. Besides the touch screens for frame customization going in the store this week–which I guess you would use if the clerks are busy?–the Mission Bicycle web presence is clean and useful. (Not that you’d expect less from a company whose board includes Vimeo co-founder Zach Klein, Threadless co-founder Jeffrey Kalmikoff, and Google senior software engineer Brett Slatkin). But there’s something nice about being able to get your hands on the goods, especially when they’re SF weather-worthy, like B Spoke Tailor arm warmers repurposed from Merino Wool sweaters ($59).
A few other items of note were Cordarounds pants with reflective material ($89), Cheuy caps ($25), Sheila Moon knickers (honestly, I didn’t check the price of these because I bought a pair last year in a post-century haze), and exotic wood top tube covers ($39-$69). The store will be the only retailer to sell SF Bike Coalition hoodies ($40) and is designing a Mission bike bag with Rickshaw Bagworks, maker of the previously featured Moleskine folio.
My only complaint is that most of the clothes sold are made for men, which may reflect the fact that at least two thirds of the custom frame shoppers are men. But the way they introduced the items in advance was smart (a friend who worked for Adidas said they approaching showing new Stella McCartney lines to bloggers similarly). Despite the somewhat lacking description language (“Think of it as a farmers market for bicycles. In an Apple store. That sells custom single speed bicycles.”), I’ll go back. Could you fault me?