Gary Ryan on Vie 13
Vie 13, an up-and-coming custom clothing manufacturer based in the US, is the official jersey supplier of the Burnaby Velodrome Club. Working with them over the last year we’ve had the opportunity to put credence to their claim of providing technical gear without compromise. But don’t just take our word for it, have a look at their Instagram feed. You may recognize many of the riders including Njisane Phillips, Theresa Cliff-Ryan, and Caroline Buchanon to name a few. For a company that’s only been around for a few years they boast a pretty impressive resume.
For us, partnering with Vie 13 was about more than just the results. We appreciated their philosophy and could sense we had common goals; quite simply, offer the best to everyone. Always available to his customers (another aspect we value), we had the chance to speak with Gary Ryan, one of the founders and owners of the company, about his brand and this is what he had to say…
BVC: What’s the significance of “Vie 13”? Why did you choose that name?
Gary: Initially we just wanted an upside down 13 as the logo, it’s such a common thing in cycling. The upside down 13 has been used for over 100 years in races like the Tour. It’s so familiar that even when we launched in Vegas we had people come up and look at the stuff and say we know this brand.
Back in the day they used to call it, “Making your own luck.” I liked that, make your own luck. Cycling is such a hard, graveling sport. And then “Vie” is just a really fitting word. Obviously it means “to contend”, but in French it’s pronounced differently and mean’s “life”, in German “road”, and in Italian “go”. It has a different meaning in all of the countries where we are but it really works with all of them.
BVC: Your website talks a lot about how you started the company because you didn’t want clothing with compromise. Care to elaborate?
Gary: We’ve always had a women’s team and at the time there really wasn’t much in the way of women’s lines. They existed but it wasn’t really what we wanted. So we thought we could do better ourselves. In fact, the prototypes we make are always women’s. You know you know your craft if you’re making women’s clothes first, the men’s stuff is easy after that.
BVC: I know I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the clothing you guys have been producing. In your mind, what really sets you apart?
Gary: From the outside, definitely quality. When we started no one was really using Italian fabrics everyone was just focusing on price point. So we figured we could focus on the quality. We use some of the same fabrics as Assos and the exact same chamois that’s used in their $360 shorts. Another example is that we use a 4-way stretch, dimpled fabric in the shoulder of our pro jerseys. In the end it may only save 5 watts but that may just be the difference.
We’re obsessed with making things functionally quicker, we want all of our products to be a bit faster than the competition…a speed boutique if you will. It might just be my track sprint background where every millisecond counts but that’s what we try to accomplish. Just recently we (wind) tunnel tested in Texas and our pro suit, which is slower than our speed suit, was still faster than the leading competition! We’re always looking to push the envelope.
Never satisfied resting on their laurels Gary also spoke a bit about some of the products they have in development. While I’m not able to give all of the details, let’s just say you’ll likely be seeing many more upside down 13’s on the front of jerseys and speedsuits in the future! Vie 13 really does embody the phrase “Make your own luck.”