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If you’re a cyclist or have friends and family who cycle on our streets regularly, you’ll want to hear all about #NOTJUSTACYCLIST – the high visibility clothing brand designed to get cyclists noticed!

Conceived by local mum, keen cyclist and childrenswear designer Natalie Harris, #NOTJUSTACYCLIST was launched in 2018 to help make the lives of cyclists safer.  Natalie has cleverly done this by allowing drivers to see the life associated with the figure riding the bike – be it a parent, child or grandparent – which in turn helps drivers be more conscious of cyclists on the road.

We talked to Natalie to hear more about her motivation to start the business, what spurs her on and the challenges of starting a new business (plus look out for the discount code below)…

WE LOVE THE IDEA OF ENSURING CYCLISTS ARE SEEN AND HUMANISED VIA THE WORDING ON THE CLOTHING. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT GAVE YOU THE IDEA TO START THE BRAND?

As an avid commuter cyclist, I continued cycling to work whilst pregnant with my first son, back in 2014.  Although I’m a confident cyclist, I suddenly felt more vulnerable on the road, knowing I was now carrying our child. This prompted me to have a BABY ON BOARD, hi vis vest printed. My aim was to make other road users aware of me being pregnant, hoping they would take a little extra care when passing me. 

I certainly noticed motorists allowing me more room on the roads, giving me the thumbs up, and responding positively to my situation.  With both my boys, I cycled to work most days, up until I left work for maternity leave!

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WHAT TYPE OF CYCLE WEAR DO YOU SELL AND ARE THERE ANY PLANS TO EXPAND THE RANGE FURTHER?

#NOTJUSTACYCLIST is a total passion project for me, so as it’s still in the early stages, I’ve focused on a small number of items, across various price points.  The website currently stocks hi vis vests, backpack/ pannier and Brompton bag waterproof covers, women’s windcheater jackets and men’s and women’s cycling jerseys.

We are just about to launch some kids hi vis vests, which I’m really excited about.  It always brings me joy to see kids gaining their confidence with cycling.  I know what a huge sense of achievement my son felt when he mastered riding his bike.

WHAT MAKES YOUR HIGH VIS CLOTHING UNIQUE?

The uniqueness is really all in the wording of the print. Every item has the #NOTJUSTACYCLIST logo, followed by MUM /DAD /HUSBAND /WIFE /GRANDPA /SON /DAUGHTER – the idea of this is to make other road users aware, that cyclists are not just people on bikes, causing annoyance on the road – we are human beings on our way to work/school etc. important to our loved ones, and should be viewed that way.

Each piece is hand printed in the UK, with reflective vinyl print, which reflects light to maximise visibility, particularly in the hours of darkness.  All the hi vis garments adhere to the safety standard regulations.

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WHAT HAS THE RESPONSE BEEN TO THE BRAND SO FAR?

So far, I’ve had a very positive response, which is great. Most people are surprised that these products were not already available on the market.

WHAT ARE THE PRICE POINTS?

Our adult vests are £15, bag covers at £18, windcheater jackets £35 and race fit jerseys at £55

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MAIN CHALLENGES WITH STARTING A SMALL BUSINESS?

Having the confidence to spend my savings on sampling and production!! With my experience in the garment industry I know it can sometimes take a few gos to get things looking right, so I had to put my trust in my suppliers, that the products would turn out as I’d hoped!

YOU’RE A LOCAL MUM – HOW DOES THIS TYPE OF CAREER HELP WITH A WORK/LIFE BALANCE (IF AT ALL)?

My kids are still pre school, so with work, and spending time as a family, I’m just trying to grab time where I can to focus on it.  It would be amazing to think that in the future, this passion project could actually become my career, allowing me to work around my family.

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WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE BRAND IN FIVE YEARS TIME?

My ultimate dream for #NOTJUSTACYCLIST is raising the profile of the brand enough, to spread the message more widely. A collaboration with one of the cycling clubs, or Transport for London would be my real aim.  Having a platform where the brand could really do something for cycle awareness and safety on a national scale.  I’m constantly reading about road accidents involving cyclists, if #NOTJUSTACYCLIST could prevent this in any capacity, it would be amazing.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN NORTH WEST LONDON?

Probably the sheer choice of local activities.  One minute you can be chasing the kids (and dog) around in the park, feeling like you’re surrounded by greenery – we love Gladstone park for this! The next you can be enjoying the hustle and bustle of Portobello Road, or having picnics with Penguins in London Zoo!

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Founder of #NOTJUSTACYCLIST Natalie Harris with her two sons

www.notjustacyclist.shop 
Instagram: @notjustacyclist / Facebook: @notjustacyclist  / Twitter: notjustacyclis1 

Natalie is offering QPM’s 10% off all merchandise with code QP10


This article contains sponsored content

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