Tell us a bit more about your new venture?
CIOVITA is a combination of the Latin word ‘cio’ (to move) and the Italian word ‘vita’ (life) and means ‘life in motion’, which summarises the brand’s ethos.
The CIOVITA brand is focused solely on cycling. A major part of the business is custom designs for team wear (Club, Corporate, Stage Race, etc.). The business model includes free in-house design, competitive pricing, no minimum order numbers and a fast three-week turnaround, all selling points that are important in this competitive category.
Why have you chosen to enter the cycling apparel market? (A notoriously saturated market both with local and imported products)
We are not just another sportswear manufacturer; we are a cycling brand. We are not venturing into netball jerseys simply because we have the machinery to do it. We focus all our energy into cycling, and aim to build a truly credible brand, a brand that we intend to take to the global stage.
Yes, the market is saturated at certain levels, but cycling is a unique industry. It’s about relationships and having a good time with your customers, it’s not all about the profit. As soon as people realize you are trying to cut corners, they will leave your brand. We pride ourselves on being a nice bunch of people at CIOVITA; we are very approachable and we endeavor to give the most professional and customer-orientated service. Most of all we are all passionate about making the best product we can, this includes an ever-evolving product range as we receive athlete and customer feedback.
We have F(ride)days ride days, where we ride once a week and invite others to join us. We listen to what our customers tell us.
So, what is your take then on SA cycling market (and industry?)
CIOVITA is focusing on mid to high-level product. We have decided not to focus on price point commodity items, because at the bottom end of the market it’s only price that differentiates. We choose rather to build great product first and foremost; the result is a more premium price point, but we don’t sacrifice on fabrics or components. We believe that in the years to come people will talk about us as the brand that makes great product.
Are you doing road and MTB styles? Or focusing on one type of riding only?
The great part about being solely cycling focused, is that all our efforts go into making great cycling product. Currently the range is more focused to cross country/Trail MTB and road, but we are listening to what our customers are telling us. So you can expect the range to grow in in current disciplines and also add more enduro orientated Mountain Biking gear.