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Velorosa Sees High Sales in 2020 Amid Surge in Pandemic Cycling

Velorosa in DSM

December 18, 2020


Velorosa Cycling is Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) local shop for women’s cycling wear. From jerseys, tanks and shorts to face masks, rubber jewelry and other accessories, Velorosa has it all. Owners Kim Hopkins and Lisa Carponelli join Startup Stories DSM to discuss the business with the podcast’s host, Mike Colwell.

Designing Women’s Kits

Hopkins discusses the importance of a well-fitting kit, something that looks and feels great that will keep you comfortable while riding. Carponelli says she loves setting up popup stores to meet customers. The two collaborate on what the brand should be and who the company represents, as well as what those women want in their cycling wear. 

Hopkins, as a graphic designer, got into cycling and began creating team kits before joining forces with Carponelli to create Velorosa. In a given season, Hopkins comes up with 10-12 designs and shows them to a Velorosa focus group, made up of trusted friends and customers, to decide what designs to move forward with. In 2021, three new collections will debut in February and arrive end of March/early April. 

Brand Ambassadors

The Velorosa brand represents diverse disciplines within cycling, as well as women of different shapes and sizes. Everyone modeling for the site is a cyclist. Not only that, they are a range of cycling abilities. Many of those showcased are also customers.

Bicyclist Sarah Cooper is an ultra-cyclist who has worn Velorosa during the Race Across America, or RAAM, collaborating with her to create a custom kit for the event. Cooper has raced all terrains, including gravel roads, mountains and more. One of Velorosa’s claim to fame is that Cooper did RAAM without getting saddle sores from riding thanks to her well-designed kit.

Cycling During COVID-19

Due to the pandemic, cycling has benefited from the lockdown and social distancing practices. Back in March 2020, Velorosa’s owners admit there was a lot of worry about how the shop would fare as time went on, but as cycling became an activity that people could do outdoors and somewhat distanced, the year turned out to be a great one for Velorosa. Carponelli says that their online presence also helped them see sales as they were positioned well for the cycling boom. Since events were canceled, the money allocated to those events went instead to social media and marketing. Velorosa was able to reach a wider audience through the medium and pick up new customers through creative ideas like the recent Facebook Flash Sale they held for fans on the social media platform.

Listen to the entire podcast. 

Want to know more about Velorosa? Read this blog post about how the founders have prepared for RAGBRAI in past years. You can also buy local and support women-owned businesses by purchasing from Velorosa’s 2020 Holiday Gift Guide. The female cyclists on your list will love the Queen of the Mountains Fleece Hoodie, Signature Crew Socks (built with performance compression!) and the Cheetahlicious Cycling Jersey and Cycling Shorts.

Inspired by this Startup Story? Subscribe to the Startup Stories DSM podcast and check out upcoming events, videos and other free resources dedicated to helping startups and small businesses accelerate success in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

Startup Stories DSM

Startup Stories DSM is a podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs who share both their victories and failures on their paths to success. It is produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership.