Meet Nicole Adamson, the founder of femme/VELO
I recently had the pleasure of photographing her new line of apparel, and I think you are going to be pretty impressed with her story. Enjoy!
WHAT IS FEMME/VELO?
Femme Velo is “woman/bicycle” and that’s really what we’re about - we’re cycling clothing, we’re a club, we’re an event. I hope we can be a go-to for women who bike, and an inspiration for getting more women to bike. When I chose the name I wanted it to be both simple and broad enough that we could do lots of things with it.
WHAT INSPIRED THE IDEA TO CREAT A LINE OF WOMEN'S CYCLING APPAREL?
When I first started cycling there was nothing in the way of women’s cycling clothes that I wanted to wear. Dressing for a bike ride, or a run, or whatever sport you’re into- it’s one facet of who you are, so you shouldn’t have to wear something to work out in that you would never wear in public.
And for me, that was ill-fitting clothing that was clearly designed for a man in baby blue and pink. It was like a boardroom full of men decided, well, we need to make bike clothes for women so let’s take our men’s jersey, shrink it down a couple of sizes and oh gosh I think women are really into pink and baby blue, let’s do that. I don’t have anything against pink and blue per say, so long as it is done with thought and not as an afterthought. If that makes sense.
The first pair of bike shorts I bought didn’t do my butt any kindnesses, either; the chamois was placed where it would be for a man and not of the right construction for the female anatomy. I would get home from a long ride and be sore not from he ride, but from sitting in the saddle with the wrong bibs. Plus there was the “sausage leg” factor, and all women will know exactly what I’m talking about here. Putting on lycra can be intimidating. If you don’t feel good and you don’t feel confident in what you’ve got, it becomes a reason to keep you from riding a bike.
I want to get rid of the reasons that keep women from experiencing how truly wonderful it is to ride a bike.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
Well when I was young I was a tomboy, not sure if that’s still a term, but I was the girl who was outside playing all day. I didn’t have any sense of style nor did I give any thought to my clothes until my aunt took me into a Nordstrom when I was just about to go into middle school. I remember walking into Nordstrom and it was like walking into an entirely new universe. The color and the fabric and the patterns and the people. It was a wonderful sensory overload. And from that moment I really fell in love with clothing. It didn’t change who I was, I was still that tomboy, but now I was a tomboy who really liked nice clothing. I experimented a lot with clothing when I was in middle and high school, trying to find just what my style was. I think I was in college when I discovered JCrew and that’s really been my sort of go to look - structured, well tailored pieces. My “uniform” is a nice pair of tailored pants or jeans that fit well, with a blazer and a pair of loafers. But honestly, I’m still most comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt. And that translates on the bike as well.
I want nicely constructed pieces that are both functional and pretty. I like elegance over flash, pieces that will last a long time and that won’t go out of style, ever.
WHO ARE ANNIE AND ALFONSINA? AND HOW HAVE THEY INFLUENCED YOUR BRAND?
Annie and Alfonsina were women who were brave enough to be themselves. Alfonsina got on a bike and just knew she needed to be racing bicycles and did so despite the fact that she was told she couldn’t. Annie was a woman who was taught that her role in life was to be a wife and a mother and that’s what she did. When the bicycle came along, it gave her the freedom to do more than that, to be more than that. They didn’t set out to change things, but were forced to by necessity. I think that’s incredibly brave. And women are still having to do that today- we are still needing to say "This is who I am, I’m going to be this way. You don’t have to be comfortable with that, or like it, but this is who I am and what I want". And that’s what I want the brand to be about - women just being themselves and being brave enough to stand up straight and tall to defy whomever tells them they shouldn’t. As the mother of two daughters, that’s really important to me. Plus, I think we really need to remember the women who made it possible for us; Annie and Alfonsina were two of those women.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR?
Well for me, I couldn’t be anything else. I’ve always been doing something creative. That I’m now doing that for my own company, that's the most satisfying part. I have to be creating something- it’s just in my nature. What’s been incredibly satisfying is starting with an idea and taking it from idea to concept to a product. Seeing other women wear what I've created is a load of fun!
WHAT HAS FEMME/VELO TAUGHT YOU?
Oh my gosh, so much. A lot of things happened around the time I was creating Femme Velo. I was just recently divorced, my two daughters were growing up, and I was really looking back at my life, trying to figure out how I’d ended up where I was, like all people of a certain age do. I never thought of myself as a feminist, or as someone who was strong, or athletic, but suddenly I had two young girls who were coming of age and really needed someone in their lives to show them that as girls they could do and be whatever they wanted. I’d always told them that, but hadn’t really done that myself. I had just started cycling at that time as well and remembered how much I’d love bicycling as a child. The more I rode, the more I wanted to ride and to be strong and fast. And, I was looking for a career after having been a stay at home mom for thirteen years. So, all of that happened at the same time. So, really it wasn’t that it taught me anything, but gave me a roadmap to who I was and had lost touch with.
WHERE MIGHT ONE ACQUIRE SOME OF THIS FINE KIT?
Right now we’re an online boutique. We’re doing pop up shops wherever and whenever we can so that women can touch and feel and try on the kit. We’re talking to bike shops across the globe (literally) who will hopefully carry our line of merchandise. My ten year vision honestly is to have a Femme Velo brick and mortar store where women will be able to come in and have a cup of coffee and food, meet up with other women to ride their bikes, and will be able to shop for great gear.
HOW MIGHT ONE BE NOTIFIED OF NEWS AND HAPPENINGS?
I’m just now getting our blog up and running and we’ll feature new posts each Thursday and Sunday. We have a mailing list women or men can sign up for on our website and we’re out there on social media (FACEBOOK + INSTAGRAM) , and of course our website: www.femmevelo.cc
Did you find this "Field Trip" interesting? If so, leave a comment below!
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