Plus-sized cyclewear specialists based in Ilkley hope to defy the experts after walking away from TV’s Dragons’ Den empty handed.
Family-run start-up firm Fat Lad at the Back (FLAB), which aims to offer cycle clothing for the average build upwards, drew criticism from the likes of businessman Duncan Bannatyne for the brand’s name on yesterday’s BBC Two show.
But its founders claim FLAB fans across the country voted with their wallets as the increased web traffic crashed their website the night the show was screened.
Since the show was filmed in April, the brand, which will mark a year in business in October, has been stocked by Evans Cycles nationally and now has thousands of supporters wearing jerseys that cater up to a 60inch waist.
Co-founder and cycle enthusiast Richard Bye, who decided to create his own cyclewear after spending years struggling to find Lycra befitting of the larger frame, said the firm has since been inundated with social media support.
“We are fixing a problem and the people that get the brand and buy into it are really pleased we exist now that finally they can find something that is for them,” he said. “You can’t please everybody in a name.”
The growing brand plans to expand into running and triathlon gear next year and has already successfully launched its ‘Fat Lass at the Back’ women’s cycling range, which comes both branded and unbranded.
Mr Bye added: “People aren’t just buying because it’s a cycle shirt, they feel empowered as they’re trying to get fit – it’s a shame the Dragons didn’t quite get that.
“It was a great little experience and the reaction was tremendous, our Twitter went mad.”
A community of thousands now sport FLAB jerseys and subscribe to the social media pages of the brand, which the YEP flagged up amid its ongoing Let’s Get Cycling campaign earlier this year.
We’re urging more people to get on their bikes in Yorkshire’s Tour de France year and beyond.
Michelle Arthurs, head of social media at Evans Cycles, said that FLAB has “filled that space in the market” for larger riders.
Visit www.fatladattheback.com for information.