“Simon Mottram is the founder of trailblazing cycling brand Rapha. Combining his passion for two wheels with his professional background
he launched Rapha in the summer of 2004. The brand proved to be an instant hit and has gone from strength to strength in the years since.
Glenn Kitson spoke to Simon in an attempt to get the inside track on Rapha.”
GLENN KITSON: Can you tell me a little bit about your
SIMON MOTTRAM: Yes, my name is Simon Mottram and I am
chief executive and founder of Rapha. Before doing this I spent 15
years as a brand and marketing consultant. Before that, years
and years ago I was a chartered accountant and I took the unusual
step from this into design and marketing because that was what I
was always interested in. I managed to make this work for me,
so I had a lot of experience of advising brands on development
and strategy etc… particularly luxury brands.
GK: Which brands were these?
SM: I did a lot of work for high-end drinks and high-end car
brands, Aston Martin and Jaguar. This was 15-20 years ago. I
also did some work for Chanel and Burberry, brand evaluations
for those guys.
GK: So you understand this market then?
SM: I lived in that world a little bit and I enjoyed that world. I
couldn’t really afford to be that big a participant in it but if you think
back ten years ago it was pretty exciting and there were lots of
interesting things being done. There was lots of talking regarding
the direction that the luxury market would go, from being simply
expensive and exclusive to making it fit with this democratised
‘internet world’. That is exactly where we (Rapha) fit. There are a
number of brands, such as Apple even, that are kind of luxury in
the sense that they are beautiful and curated and the product is
incredibly well thought through. They are pretty exclusive and yet
we all have them. So the question was how do you manage such
‘mass luxury’. I did a lot of work around these things and the
idea of Rapha came from me being a customer and being a rider.
I would go to my local bike shop and walk in with my wallet open
with the intention of buying something. I wouldn’t want to buy a bike
every week so I’d look for a cap or something that would connect
me with the sport and I would walk away with money in my wallet
because what was on offer was really horrible. It was bad quality,
it was positioned badly, nothing was ‘talking’ to me.
It became a huge frustration and an obsession to find a better
way of doing it. What I realised was that there was a gap in the
Some of my first drawing were Garfield copies. This is the good stuff
Curated is a series of products developed by the people at Arkitip. Arkitip is a continuous source of inspiration. The quality of editing that comes from them is consistently impressive. The combination of art and commerce is something I strive to attain.. The video below is the latest in a series of collaborative efforts between the designers and artists.