PEPPERMINT Cycling Co. is a Montreal-based company that designs, develops and markets cycling apparel and accessories for women based on criteria of performance, style and versatility. With optimized cuts and a design that combines femininity and character, the focus is on offering high-quality products that are perfectly suited to cycling. An inspiring story, a distinctive product philosophy and an engaging vision aimed at reinventing the experience of cycling among women.
What was the idea behind PEPPERMINT Cycling Co. ?
PEPPERMINT Cycling Co. was founded in September 2015 by Michèle and Véronik Bastien, two passionate women full of life and energy known for their ability to always excell. Their project is the culmination of a strong mission, a consistent purpose, relevant professional experience and a true passion.
Contrary to what many may believe, it was not our passion for cycling that led us to create the company, but rather a desire to start a business where there was an opportunity: supporting and valuing female cycling. However, from the very start, we wanted to build a reference brand that would inspire change in behaviour. Our ultimate goal was to reinvent the female cycling experience through different business strategies, while putting our combined experience to use.
Besides our interest in sports, we are two young businesswomen who love to work together and who both have a degree in marketing and finance, a certificate in entrepreneurship, as well as a graduate diploma in marketing communication at HEC Montréal. Since we graduated, we have been very active in marketing and communications. When we turned 30, we decided to combine our professional experience, our respective strengths, and our energy to build a brand that would stand out through its collective magic, disruptive offering and social mission. We had our “light bulb moment” during a trip to Croatia, but we started up the company after studying the market in Canada.
As we came from an environment where creativity was valued, we also had to apply what we knew. Thus, armed with the belief that we had something unique to offer, we decided to reinvent ourselves and innovate in a relatively conventional industry that did not have a highly innovative visual design. Today, we have a range of products developed by women that stands out from everything else on the market: cycling products with bright colours and an original design reminiscent of downhill skiing, surfing and yoga; designs that are inspiring and consistent for our target clientele.
Besides “reinventing a range of products,” we also wanted to “reinvent the cycling experience,” and it was by mobilizing and sharing the PEPPERMINT experience that we achieved this. Rather than choosing a performance-based image, we focused on the social and group experience of cycling.
In what way are you entrepreneurs?
This project definitely changed our lives, but most certainly for the better, and we have no regrets travelling along the road that led us to where we are today. We made business-related adjustments and changes gradually and organically during our first year of operation. As a pair, things moved along very quickly. Our growth reflects our shared values, absolute trust and, first and foremost, exceptional synergy; this is what drives the business every day in a clear and committed direction. Today, we are proud to say that our professional and personal leadership enabled us to be the first in Canada to support women’s cycling from a creative and collective perspective.
What is your perspective about beauty?
Keep it simple! We believe that beauty stems from a feeling of wellness and confidence. And because outer beauty originates from the richness of our inner beauty, we place tremendous emphasis on taking care of ourselves, being fit, feeling successful, and leading a balanced life. We obviously have our skin care and makeup essentials that allow us to feel beautiful and proud every day. This fairly simple beauty and skin care routine (day cream, basic make-up, a touch of mascara and coloured nail polish) is a must regardless of the weather. Whether we are going to work or cycling, it provides us with a feminine confidence which we both need. Our habits have always been fairly similar in terms of beauty, with the exception of sunscreen products. At a young age, Veronik developed a severe sun allergy and needed to pay special attention to the sunscreen she was using, while Michèle could be exposed to the sun as much as she wanted and had a dark tan.
How does sport help you on a daily basis?
Sport is our way of releasing daily stress, escape, push ourselves and spend time with our friends. Sport builds confidence, makes us feel good about ourselves, and provides a certain balance in our lives, which never stop. Sport is what taught us our values and discipline, the satisfaction of excelling while having fun, and the strength of team leadership. Sport has now become a way of life and simply an excuse for everything else!
What beauty tips would you give to active women such as yourselves?
There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel good so that you can play sports. You must feel confident to practice your sport, so don’t hold back! As with your favourite sports, take the time to choose your skin care products and the brand you trust. We often spend a lot of time choosing our sports equipment, and all too often we forget to take care of ourselves, even though we are the focal point of our sports performance (mental and physical). So take a few minutes for yourselves before you start your day!
What are your futur plans?
For the time being, we intend to remain at the helm of our PEPPERMINT business by following our vision and developing our business strategies. Our goal is to be the leaders of a lucrative, solidly based business which is continually changing its product offering based on the needs of its target clientele, the brand philosophy, and its collective mission. We also want to give the right tools to the leaders who will contribute to making the PEPPERMINT brand an inspiring and committed brand. It’s really very simple: we want to keep doing what we love!