Interview: Juliana Bicycles' New General Manager Elayna Caldwell

Jan 27, 2019
by Sarah Moore  

Elayna Caldwell has been working in the bike industry for over two decades, getting her start at Bell Sports back in the mid-nineties.

In the Fall of 2018, after what the brand called "an exhaustive and perhaps quixotic search," she started a new role as the General Manager of Juliana Bicycles. We caught up with her in late December at her home in central Colorado where she works remotely for the Santa Cruz Bicycles sister brand, and her husband, former Bike Magazine editor Joe Parkin, co-owns a bike shop.

A native Californian, Elayna started riding on the trails behind her house in the hills of Thousand Oaks when she was in high school. "I saw a mountain bike in a window of a bike shop and I was like wow, I really want that. I need that tool for freedom," and she bought the $450 bike – A Ross MT. Hood. Soon after, she started racing mountain bikes when she was studying Natural Resource Interpretation at Humboldt State University. Racing wasn't about being the fastest - in fact, she never moved out of Sport class, but she absolutely loved racing and credits the expensive habit with the reason she got into the bike industry instead of becoming a park ranger.

"I moved to Santa Cruz after I graduated and I was looking for a job," she said. "I got a job at Bell Sports for a few months, in Customer Service. I was super into racing bikes, and I needed a job."

From there, a woman that she says was her fairy godmother got her an interview at RockShox in 1996. They were opening up a Marketing and R&D department in Santa Cruz and she got a job as the Marketing Admin. "RockShox was the coolest place in the world to work at that point in time. It was RockShox in its hay day and also that was one of the peaks of mountain biking. It was pretty freaking awesome." When the brand moved to Colorado Springs in 2000, she wasn't able to move with it, so she looked for another job and found it at NHS (Santa Cruz Skateboards, Santa Cruz Snowboards, Santa Cruz Surfboards, etc.) as the Creative Department Manager.

"I worked there for four years and then I was at Interbike and saw Steve Simons who was one of the founders of RockShox and was working at Fox Racing Shox at the time. He said, 'Hey, Elayna, we need a Marketing Manager.' I interviewed, and then I was the Marketing Manager at Fox Racing Shox for eight years."

After nearly a decade at the brand, she did a brief two-year stint at Interbike before becoming SRAM's Mountain Bike Brand Director. "My team was responsible for all the mountain bike marketing; Brand Communications, PR, the SRAM Women's Program and Sports Marketing."

A job with SRAM meant a move from sunny San Clemente, California to Chicago. "We lived in Chicago for two and a half years. Then I asked my boss, 'Hey, so we don't want to live in Chicago anymore. Can we move to Colorado?' And he said, 'How about Germany?' So then my family and I moved to Schweinfurt, Germany for two and a half years."

She worked out of SRAM's German facility, while her son Nico went to a German kindergarten. Apparently, seven-year-old Nico has already developed a love of VIP tents and hanging out with pro racers.


Elayna Caldwell and her son Nico
Photo by Robin O'Neill


"It was a great experience. I learned a ton about the German and European market. Due to the proximity of where we lived, we were able to drive to a lot of events that were close. You can drive to Italy or Switzerland - pretty much anywhere within a couple of hours." But it was also difficult to be so far away from family and friends. "It was hard. I didn't have any friends for example. I had work friends, but that was it. It was hard to be away from family. My mother passed away during that time and that was hard."


How did you make the decision to move to Juliana from SRAM?


Elayna Caldwell: It was... first of all, I love SRAM and they're great people and it's a great company and I had an awesome time working there. I would say the reason that helped me make a transition was that I was able to work remotely.

So there were a lot of things that happened all at once. I've always been a fan of Juliana. Juli Furtado actually is a really good friend of mine and so it was just one of those things where it was an opportunity to be able to run all of a company, not only marketing. That's what was really interesting to me.


So how closely were you involved when the initial, Juliana-SRAM team was getting off the ground?


Elayna Caldwell: Funny story. I was in a meeting. It was John Dawson, Sports Marketing Director at SRAM, myself and my former boss in a meeting with Rob Roskopp about the Syndicate. We were talking about the Syndicate team and blah blah blah. I said, 'Hey, Rob. How about if we start the first ever all women’s pro enduro focused team and call it the Juliana-SRAM team?'


So it was kind of your brainchild?


Elayna Caldwell: Yes.




What were the goals with that team initially?


Elayna Caldwell: Well, have the first ever women's enduro focused team, one. And to get more women out riding enduro bikes and racing and hopefully winning.


That team is still on the website. Is it still around? What are the goals with it going forward?


Elayna Caldwell: Kelli Emmett has become our Sports Marketing Coordinator, which she's awesome at. Anka Martin still races a bit and Sarah Leishman has leaned into her career at Arc'teryx. So none of them were really racing the EWS at all last year. It was kind of on hiatus. In the last few years, Juliana started the Free Agent crew. So we've got this really great group of women that have a lot of potential for the future.

We've got Alex Pavon from Flagstaff and she's doing the social media for Juliana now as well. We have Brittany Phelan who won a silver medal in the 2018 Olympics in ski cross and she had some pretty decent results in the EWS as well. Porsha Murdock who is out of Bend... We have some really great girls in Europe, too. Kelli is doing a great job growing the team and helping them be successful racers.

We've been growing our grassroots racing effort and supporting them the last couple of years. Then this year, we will be reinvigorating our team and sending the top racers to a few of the EWS's. The EWS in North Star and the EWS at Crankworx, Whistler and possibly more.


Katie Zaffke Elayna Caldwell Kelli Emmett



Is that more the focus - moving towards grassroots racing and ambassadors, or do you see kind of that pro EWS team coming back in coming years?


Elayna Caldwell: Well, it's interesting. Recently we had a company lunch and one of my co-workers said, ‘Wouldn't it be great if we had somebody that could win at EWS?' I said, 'Yeah. Double my budget. I know what it takes to have winning racers and it costs money.' So either you're buying them, or you're forming them. Either way, it's not cheap. But yeah, definitely trying to grow grassroots, and then working with what we can with the EWS.


After 2nd in Snowcross at the Pyeongchang winter olympics Brittany Phelan was out racing on home turf this time on two wheels.
Sea Otter Classic 2018 Dual Slalom


So you talk about budgets. How are the budgets allocated between Juliana and Santa Cruz? How is it that Santa Cruz has this very elite World Cup team and Juliana can't quite get an EWS women's team?


Elayna Caldwell: The Syndicate is a very mature program that has been around for a long time with very professional support with the ability to attract high level sponsorship. Juliana is still new and we are working on growing our race support.


What were Santa Cruz's initial goals when they started Juliana?



Elayna Caldwell: That's a great question. Juli Furtado was working with the company. There were Juliana products in the early 2000s. Santa Cruz did a Juliana model of a Superlight in 2000 and it was the first mountain bike aimed specifically at women. Juliana was making products under the Wylder brand with smaller grips and smaller handlebars. They did that Superlight, then time went by and in 2013, they revamped the Juliana brand. They came out with several models. The models were all named after queens. The queen of rock and roll which is still in our line called the Joplin, The Queen of Mountain Biking – The Furtado, etc.

Katie Zaffke started in 2013 as the Brand Manager, and she was pretty much the only person that was dedicated to Juliana. She was a one-woman band for quite a few years. The brand was going along. Then two years ago, they hired Kelli as the Sports Marketing Coordinator. Then they decided, "If we're really going to keep this brand and do something with it, we need to have this dedicated position, a Juliana General Manager." So that's where I came in.


So what is your role exactly? What are you hired to do?


Elayna Caldwell: I'm the General Manager. I'm responsible for activating sales, marketing, and working with the product management team as far as what our spec is. It is all the touchpoints of the business.


How closely do you work with everyone at Santa Cruz? How do the two brands work together - Juliana and Santa Cruz?


Elayna Caldwell: We have certain shared services like Graphic Design for example, where it's one department. And the Bike Product Managers - they're doing the spec for Santa Cruz and Juliana. There are plenty of shared departments, assembly, receiving, wheel assembly, HR. I hope I am not forgetting anyone.

As far as marketing goes, our Juliana team is small, but since we are the sister brand to Santa Cruz we are able to plug into the marketing services of the larger team.

There are seven major events that Santa Cruz sponsors... yes, they sponsor a lot of events, but there are seven that are highlights - Downieville, Trans Provence, Trans Cascadia, NZ Enduro, etc. We work on getting some of our racers to those events because we believe in them and they are great for the sport. Those are the kinds of things that we work together on. Then where we can, if there's an EWS that our Juliana racers are attending we will pit with the Santa Cruz team.


What has surprised you the most in your time at Juliana so far?


Elayna Caldwell: How much potential Juliana has.


How are you planning on growing the Juliana brand?


Elayna Caldwell: Well, we had our best year yet in 2018. So that's exciting. I'd say now that I'm here, we have 1/3 more resources. I plan to work with our Sales team and focus on our programs that have been successful. We have the Juliana Ride Outs, which is a series of events that we're growing this year. At a Ride Out event we work with a key retailer. We invite 20-40 enthusiasts/key customers of the shop who are interested in trying out a Juliana. We are focusing and growing the Ride Out program for 2019, and we're also working with our internal demo program to support more demos because typically when you have bikes that cost over a certain amount, which is probably about four to five grand, then demos are definitely something that helps a customer make that purchase.

So focusing on those things, and then also giving a bit of renewed... not renewed because we've never had it, but some more focus in Europe to the Juliana brand. There's been the smallest amount of, whatever a grain of sand is, is how much focus has gone there.


So the shift is towards ambassadors and racers in Europe to help grow the brand there?


Elayna Caldwell: Yep, mostly ambassadors.


Is one of the goals of the brand to help grow women's cycling?


Elayna Caldwell: Yes. I mean, yeah. It's like... I think that's one of those interesting questions: 'Do we want to get women that ride bikes on our bike? Yes.' Then is it new people? Yes, but I would say typically we, from talking with our staff and salespeople, we do the best in markets that are already mature. So your California, your Pacific Northwest, your mountainous states. So typically a Juliana customer is someone that's already a mountain biker.


Would you say the brand is focused on somebody who is already a mountain biker, not somebody who is just getting into mountain biking?


Elayna Caldwell: It doesn't mean we don't want them. I'm just saying that those are typically the people that buy one our bikes because also our bikes are not your lowest price point. Our bikes are, you know, they're premium priced bikes. Perhaps that person might be a brand new cyclist, but typically they tend to be someone who is already a cyclist.


Something I've noticed that Juliana does really well is having strong female cyclists in their advertising and imagery and photo and video shoots. How important is that to you? How was that developed? How is it determined what riders should be shown in different Juliana promotions?


Elayna Caldwell: We've done no new projects since I've been here because I've only been here two months. So I can't really take any credit for any of that that's been done in the past. I would say it's not so different from what we did at SRAM, because at SRAM we did use a lot of the Juliana riders. We had Sarah Leishman in a lot of our content. We sent her to New Zealand for a shoot and she was in a Reverb video and a few things. I would say it's just about showing a strong and powerful mountain bikers that are also people that you can relate to.


Do you have criteria for the ambassadors that Juliana works with?


Elayna Caldwell: I would say people that are good ambassadors for the sport, meaning they reach out to other riders, they help out at our retail engagements, they want to help grow the sport. Many of our ambassadors are also doing interesting things like they want to go to medical school or they're educated or they have other interests besides just mountain biking.

There's this one woman, she works for NASA as some super crazy smart woman. Then there's Rachael Walker. She works for Hope in the UK and she used to be a corporate attorney in London. Another one of our ambassadors has this whole women's series for ride education.

So there are all these various people. Aneela McKenna in Scotland who is a parliamentary speaker. She's a Juliana ambassador. She works on women's rights. So there are all these really amazing women that are Juliana ambassadors. Do we want fast racers? Yeah, but we also want people that are doing interesting and good things in the world.


Elayna Caldwell at Sea Otter with Juliana riders in 2018
Elayna Caldwell wearing Brittany Phelan s silver medal from the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

How important do you think it is for all of those women to be under the umbrella of Juliana as opposed to being ambassadors and racers under the Santa Cruz brand?


Elayna Caldwell: If you look at Santa Cruz, there are not really many women under that brand. We've definitely been using Juliana as our tool to promote women's cycling.


Why is it important that Juliana have different bikes for women?


Elayna Caldwell: They are the same frame, so let's not make any mistakes about that. We do have different shock tunes on our rear shocks for lighter riders. So that is one thing that definitely differentiates the Juliana bikes from Santa Cruz bikes. We do have a few other different things like grips and bars and on smaller frames size of the crank arms.

I would say that it gives women a chance to have their own brand, their own look, their own feel. I want women to be able to have something that they can grab onto that is their own thing, that's not just the guy thing.


What do you respond when people come to you and, I get it all the time, they say, 'Women's bikes are stupid. I don't like women's bikes'?


Elayna Caldwell: Well, first of all, I said that for a long time. I'll admit to that. I would say when Juliana came around, I had a great affinity for the way the bike looked, the way it felt, the brand. It was something that I wanted to be a part of.

We're not making women's bikes that have shorter top tubes that don't fit. There was that whole experiment that many of the bike companies did with women's bikes that they stopped doing. So that's not something that we're doing. Basically, it's like, 'Yeah, we're giving you a brand that you can grab onto and be a part of. If you don't like it, that's okay, too.'

Something that I've heard too often is that women don't buy Juliana bikes and they buy Santa Cruz bikes because of the resale value. That is total bullshit.


How do you know this? I've actually been very curious about this.


Elayna Caldwell: Juliana riders such as Sarah Leishman say, 'Yeah, when I go to sell my bike, I have no problem reselling them for the same amount I would sell a Santa Cruz.'

It is something that I would like to look into because I do think it's complete bullshit that someone would think, 'Oh, I'm not buying a Juliana bike because I can't resell it for the same amount of money.'


Since you started mountain biking, what have you noticed for women cycling? How has it changed?


Elayna Caldwell: Since the early '90s? Jeez. Well, there's really cute clothes now. There were no cute clothes then.

I want to write a book that's called 'The Only Woman In the Room' because I was the only woman in meeting rooms for a really long time. It's interesting because right when I was leaving SRAM, our last weekend, we planned a trip to Moab. We had 20 women from SRAM and we invited all our friends. We had over 40 women on this trip in Moab and it was pretty kick ass. Just like all the women in the bike industry.

I just told them, 'You guys are so lucky. The world you live in now has changed so much. There are plenty of women in mountain biking and plenty of women in the bike industry and it's pretty awesome.' So that's changed a lot.




Do you ever see it being 50/50 one day where as many women mountain bike as men?


Elayna Caldwell: Well, that would be super cool, but right now that's probably not the reality. It's interesting because Orvis, they make fishing gear, they have a program that's called 50/50 and they're working to get 50% of their customers to be women instead of 80% men. Super interesting.

Would it be great if it was 50/50? Yeah.


What do you think is the most exciting thing that's happening in mountain biking right now?


Roam Fest. I think they're doing some cool stuff and I think... the amount of women going to festivals or teaching environments, they're all selling out their events. Do I want to go to another f*cking clinic in my life? No. I never want to see a parking lot with a cone in it ever again. But that is me being bitchy and my coaching friends will smile at this.

I have lots of friends that are coaches, and I've sponsored them, and I've done all that, but do I want to do it? Not anymore.

I think that right now is super exciting... when you go ride, there are so many women riding now. I think it's just the tip of the iceberg. I've been riding with my group of friends for a really long f*cking time and now we're old. But we still have fun, our riding clothes are much better now and we might have Botox.


Elayna
Photo by Anne Keller


You just mentioned being the only woman in the room. Has that changed?


Elayna Caldwell: It is slowly changing and improving. I mean, sometimes there might be two, but there's not a lot, especially once you get to a higher level. It's getting better, believe me. There are definitely more women, but still, sometimes you're the only woman in a group of twenty.


How have you been able to rise to the places that you have and have your voices heard as the only woman in the room? What has that been like in your career?


Elayna Caldwell: I never thought about it... How is your voice heard? I would say, when you're working with a lot of other great people, then they will let you... everybody shares and everybody speaks. I don't think that that's a problem when you're working with a lot of other really great managers.


Do you have advice that you would give to any women who are thinking of working in the cycling industry or would like to work in the cycling industry one day?


Elayna Caldwell: I don't personally like saying I want to give advice to women. I want to give advice to people. I would just say work hard. It's such bullshit advice. You get in there, and then you do your job. If you do a good job, people notice and you're able to get a chance.

One thing that we didn't talk about was mentoring. That's something that I had the opportunity to do at SRAM. We had a women's mentoring group and I was one of the champions of that. There were six women in the initial trial group that were involved, and it was super great because there were some key people involved, our CEO, our VP of HR and me who were a part of it. The women were able to get a lot of contact with people that they wouldn't necessarily be able to have a relationship with. I saw these women grow professionally. I saw all of these women totally flourish. It was so great.

That would be something, if I could give advice to people or women, if you can get involved in mentorship programs or anything where you can be involved with people and learn from them, that's a super useful tool.


74 Comments

  • 58 6
 Not 'bullshit' at all re the worry of dropping around £5000 on a bike which has a potentially tiny resale market. I'm sure Sarah Leishman (and all the other high profile ambassadors) can sell her bike on more easily as it has a little more kudos than being just another 2nd hand bike and she would have either been given the bike or got it at trade price so far less pressure to actually recoup money. You only have to look at the appalling resale prices on ALL bikes and particularly the number of high end bikes on second hand market which just don't sell at a decent price. Factor in to this the fact that Juliana is marketed as a women's bike + the fact that many women are smaller so are therefore buying more xs and s size bikes which all adds up to making a reasonable second hand sale more challenging.
So, please don't dismiss potential customers' very real concerns.. and by the way, I would be in the demographic to make me a potential customer but I don't appreciate having legitimate concerns brushed aside as 'bullshit'.
  • 20 2
 I have a friend who works in the industry and I asked her why she didn't buy women specific bikes. She brought up this exact issue. So I definitely think it's a problem that can't just be labeled as bullshit.
  • 7 1
 I was amazed by that comment. For people who are buying a new bike every year (and there are a lot around here) if buying one brand of bike means saving $500-1000 when it comes to selling it, that's a big deal. Plus you have the satisfaction of owning what other people think of as a desirable bike when you own. It doesn't bother me personally as I get deals, but I know it's an issue. Reminds me of my auto days and realizing why there are so many BMWs on the road. Residual values are high which means monthly lease figures are actually quite competitive compared to other brands. Compare that to the likes of Vauxhall who have similar priced cars but have to offer huuuuuge bonuses to the leasor in order to get attractive rentals.
  • 40 25
 If your only reason for buying a bike is the resale value, you are doing it wrong.
  • 14 2
 So resale value is a supply and demand equation. To make a flat statement that reselling women's specific bikes is more challenging doesn't take into account market dynamics. Keep in mind:

-The average American women is 5'4" - so the majority of women are shopping for S and XS bikes
-The average American male is 5'9" -- so the majority of dudes buy M and up.
-This creates a limited supply of smaller sized bikes (more guys ride than ladies, so fewer smaller bikes on the resale market)

In a hot market with lots of women riders (i.e. Front Range of Colorado) this supply and demand equation creates a market where high-quality, properly sized, women's specific bikes hold their value. Sure - if you're a 6'0" 180lb lady, your'e probably right to go with a 5010, but if you're an average (or below) lady, in a good market, worry not!!
  • 7 7
 @Thustlewhumber: Underrated comment!
  • 4 4
 @Thustlewhumber: Yep! I buy a new frameset every two or three seasons and sell off the previous. I lose a ton of money every time... That's the cost to play in this sport if you want to somewhat keep current unfortunately.

At the pace it's going.. Its not going to slow down anytime soon either.
  • 3 7
flag BigEvil (Jan 27, 2019 at 8:50) (Below Threshold)
 @bohns1: Why does everybody feel they have to stay "current" every couple of years? If we stop buying into the new standard every time one rolls out maybe they will stop forcing it down our throats so often.
  • 6 1
 @BigEvil: Because when you ride real trails year round, your bike gets destroyed. My current bike is 6 months old, and I've rebuilt both shocks (rear started leaking at main seal), done the bearings in the frame once already, 2 sets of tires, 2 sets of brake pads, 2 brake bleeds, 2 sets of grips, a shifter cable, 2 chains. That's what doing 10,000 feet of vert a week does. It's not "upgrade-itis"
  • 2 0
 @BigEvil: simply because this is my hobby and I enjoy a new frame every few years.. Just the way it is.
  • 1 0
 @Fr0ntRanger: A component of the resale market for small bikes is kids though. I have four kids, they ride their bikes for maybe 2 years before outgrowing them so I cycle through the bikes that i buy second hand as they grow. With mixed genders in my family thiers zero chance i'm buying a female specific bike.
  • 24 1
 The resale thing is real, like it or not. More guys are in the market and they won’t buy a “ladies” bike. Sorry. It’s to bad that the race team fell apart and Santa Cruz isn’t investing more, but without a real frame difference, can you blame them. Without new engineering it’s just a very nice niche vanity project.

PS I’ve bought 2
  • 24 1
 I’ve got three daughters and love watching them ride bikes. If they decide that mountain bikes are for them (and I hope they do!) then I hope that they feel that they have a place in the industry, a place at races and a place on the trail. Juliana plays a role in that. Print adds with girls, bikes for girls, shredit’s featuring girls. I say ‘bring it on!’
  • 10 4
 Good point. Here is the dirty secret tho. Almost all of the brands, they do little to nothing to support your daughters (or my sons). If they even make a bike, it's trash 99% of the time for kids that need a real mtb. They look NOTHING like what an adult would ride.

Santa Cruz clearly has the capital to invest in kids bikes in a meaningful way but they refuse to support kids.

Thankfully Brian at Lil Shredder busted his ass to Kickstart the market (never getting rich on it) and proved that it could work. Now there are some smaller companies like Spawn, Commencal etc. Norco does well at it.

So Elayna, if you want new riders you gotta catch them young. Sponser Sweet Lines and *shocking* make a bike that those girls can ride.
  • 4 0
 @Svinyard: I got my daughter a rocky mountain reaper 24. It's not cheap but it has the quality of an adult bike. The best thing is it comes with 24 inch wheels but can switch up to 26 when she gets a little bigger.
  • 15 0
 I'm a simple man. I see Caldwell, I click. That said, just because I had never heard of Elayna doesn't mean she doesn't have an impressive track record in this industry. It is nice to read a bit about the people behind the screens and I trust she'll do just great at Juliana.
  • 15 0
 I'm a guy who bought a new 2016 Juliana nevis discounted at 53% off. It's the same bike as a Santa Cruz Highball with a Juliana saddle and shorter bars which I like. I do get some weird looks, even from women, and yes it bothers me at times but I love the way it rides and I would rather be frugal than fashionable. Plus I've never seen any men riding one which makes me stand out from the sheep.

GET OVER IT: It's Only A DECAL!
  • 1 0
 Dude, I'm with you but the supposed entire point of Juliana is that its not just a decal... its also smaller grips.
  • 1 0
 @johncee: I should of mentioned that the Juliana grips were replaced with ESI Extra chunky. Other then the grips ,bars and saddle it's the same bike as a Santa Cruz Highball.
  • 11 0
 I'm impressed by the ambassador program - what a great bunch of people to support! As a chap I've not seen anything about this but I appreciate I'm not target market!

Also, A LOT of people (male and female) prefer the Juliana colours to the Santa Cruz colours. The frames are the same. Should it not be an option to choose the frame and then get it branded to your preferred option, with the appropriate finishing kit to match weight/preference? This would also help those who are not of average weight, whether male or female...
  • 14 5
 From my perspective I have doubts this brand will last long. I’ve ridden with a number of women and only one was on a Juliana. Most of them buy “male specific” or more mainstream models because there are more available and hold better resale value. They simply change things such as bars and saddle and ride.
  • 8 16
flag chasejj (Jan 26, 2019 at 8:57) (Below Threshold)
 But if you state the obvious as you have you are screamed at as some sort of troglodyte. Common sense has no place when Feminazis want a job or a free bike sponsorship. Women specific brands are stupid and only divide the market further. That is why they ALWAYS fail.
  • 3 1
 I also don't really understand "pink and don't shrink" as a branding strategy. Why not just offer Santa Cruz bikes in more colors, if they feel that the standard colors are somehow alienating to women? I've heard a lot of guys say they like the Juliana colors better, too...
  • 8 2
 @chasejj: uh, chill bro.
  • 12 3
 If you don't like women's specific bikes, don't buy one. Regardless of how you *feel* about women's specific bikes, there is absolutely a market for Juliana, as they've proven and grown. The resale thing is tricky. I do not believe it's bullshit, but I also find that selling a size SX or S is just tougher because there are fewer smaller people out there that want a high-end bike. YES there are plenty of growing groms that could theoretically fit that size, but a lot of times parents don't want to drop a lot of cash on a bike that may be too small soon. I've owned and sold both unisex and women's specific bikes. The latter is always more of a challenge for a lot of reasons.

Elayna has forged a pretty incredible path with her career. She's right though- there are still not a lot of women in those meetings. But it is getting better and brands like Juliana will help not only grow the women's market but getting more women though the echelons of the bike industry career-wise, and I think that's awesome. Strong work, Elayna.
  • 4 1
 PREACH GIRL! Thank you for pointing this all out.
  • 3 2
 That's exactly why a lot of women don't buy them haha. If sales men also didn't push them they wouldn't sell as much
  • 6 2
 @apav04: I don’t mean to be a stick in the way of the preaching. But what exactly has she pointed out?

I am not sure Juliana has or is growing the women’s market. Essentially telling women you can’t be part of the cool girls club unless you drop $5k+. Nothing in particular is special about them other than paint, carbon lay up is the same, part spec is the same other than a saddle and bars. Often even the shock tunes aren’t different.

As someone who has spent significant years selling and servicing bikes, I have adjusted and focussed on helping women buy bikes and product. Usually get so under served and sold a shrink and pink product. Which is bullshit. But often to me YetiBeti and Juliana seem even more patronizing.
  • 2 2
 @bonfire: I said Juliana has proven and grown. I did not say they’ve grown the market.
  • 12 1
 Honest question. Would you give a guy a hard time if he had bought himself a Juliana bike second hand?
  • 4 0
 I actually seen a guy not to long ago on a Juliana and didn't bat an eye. I imagine most people could care less but it's the idea of owning one and the fear you'll be looked at funny.
  • 5 1
 I think nobody should, and I don't think it's part of the equation.
  • 3 2
 I used my partners rubion on a chilcotins trip, my Bronson was out for service. I got shit from men, ladies, and the side eye by just about every rider, personally I couldn’t care less. But it’s there, Imagine dealing with that every ride.
  • 1 0
 Dude's out riding it right? Nuff said I'd say!
  • 3 1
 Gorilla tape the logo. In fact, do it to any bike. I dare ya.
  • 2 1
 I wouldn't hassle anybody who rides. Like in the adv. m/c world there is a saying; "Ride your ride" Some of my friends, or should I say riding buddies would bug me. I'd have no problem riding a Juliana, I don't care about the lifestyle branding of a bike nearly as much as its specs, and more importantly, does it ride well. Of course, paint colour and graphics are about 10x more important than a bike's brand. Gotta be able to look at your bike after a ride and go "Damn fine looking bike".
  • 1 1
 @PinkyScar: But...that's just ugly
  • 2 0
 Honestly I'd jump at the chance to never have my balls bashed but i'm not sure if that's how it works.
  • 11 3
 i really dont like the "women specific bikes" i get you need a wider saddle, and thinner bars but no matter what bike i get i know i always change those two things. having sold santa cruz for years i have only ever sold 1 juliana over the santa cruz paint scheme to one women. "would you buy a women spec bmw or audi if that ment having a different name on the side? im paying santa cruz money for a santa cruz, not for something that does not say it" that was more or less the response i got i sold plenty of bronsons and 5010's to relize that women dont want to be even more separate than men when riding bikes. same thing with giant brand bikes and liv. "i dont want pink i want matte black" keep in mind i do think that in other areas of the country and or world women bikes may be a thing that works great. it also would be better if they really did change the GEO to be women spec insted of just chaging up paint and a name that even now a lot of people dont know down vote me to hell but thats my two cents on women bikes (ps top racers that are women dont ride whem spec bikes a lot of the time so that does not help either)
  • 8 3
 Growing a lifestyle "brand" by attempting to attract customers from other companies is a recipe for failure well traveled by the off road motorcycle industry. A better plan would be lowering the bar to entry with less expensive, less technologically volatile and proprietary equipment. Seriously, if a neophyte looks at our/my sport from the outside - it screams rich, white elitest. Put money in to socioeconomic minority HS mountain bike programs [assuming an environment where cost is reined by establishing something like weight limits and a claiming rule].
  • 3 1
 Well said. Look at Scion. Money poorly spent when all Toyota needed to do was actually make a car that was cool instead of trying to rebrand themselves. You can't buy cool. Thanks to Konas involvement in the HS races in North Vancouver, i now ride one.
  • 8 3
 I get a kick out of articles like this. When it comes down to it, it has nothing to do with getting a more diverse population in mountain biking. Its all about how to tap into a market that is less than another one where the numbers are greater. More or less its about how to sell more product which intern means more dollars. A mountain bike is a mountain bike either it fits or it doesn't. I have a male friend who is only 5' he is a small dude, and struggles to find a bike that fits him. When I ride in a group I don't focus on the demographics, I focus on having fun and all are welcome and no one will be left behind. You cannot force people to do something that doesn't interest them, not everyone wants to ride mountain bikes. I have daughters and have tried to get them interested in mountain biking to no avail. I cannot wait until the US forces the NFL to have females on the the teams.
  • 2 2
 i suggest your friend look at a size s or xs my wife is 4ft11 mabye 5 ft on a good day and rides a small bronson and it fits great
  • 2 0
 I used to be a mountain bike evangelist. I ended up getting more people to buy bikes than actually ride. I came to the conclusion I should just let people choose themselves. I don't get paid to sell bikes though.
  • 3 1
 @thoe agreed. Why can’t we just build shit that’s cool and people just buy what’s good for them?

Women in cycling are saving the cycling industry. But what the industry needs is to eliminate douchebag bike shop bros. Not only for women, but for guys as well. Shaping the industry to be more proffessional and value adding, will help all sides of the gender sphere.
  • 7 0
 Had to google "quixotic", still don't get it. But I enjoyed the interview with EC none the less Wink
  • 2 1
 Read Don Quixote to put it in context.
  • 5 1
 "I would say that it gives women a chance to have their own brand, their own look, their own feel. I want women to be able to have something that they can grab onto that is their own thing, that's not just the guy thing."

I really hope there comes a day when the predominant belief is that a bike is a woman's bike because a woman bought it and customized it herself, and not because a brand told them so; when we don't have to create a 'women-specific space' in mountain biking but instead build confidence in them that they can go out there, own their space and feel that they belong without a women-specific brand telling them so. Until that day, there won't be true equity between the sexes in mountain biking.
  • 2 0
 Absolutely couldn't agree more.
  • 7 1
 I actually think the Juliana bikes look good. Hope you guys, umm err ladies sell a ton of them. Smile
  • 5 3
 my wife and oldest daughter ride them and as the 2 other daughters are bigger will also ride Juliana’s. We’re a julianabicycles family i guess you can say. I bought my nomad because of my family’s push for juliana. My oldest daughters dream at the moment is to race for them so this will be a neat read for her. Buy the female(s) In your life one and be a hero!
  • 2 0
 I built my wife a Juliana when we were dating as her first bike. She loved it, only reason it was a Juliana was because the frame was dirt cheap as last years blow out/close out. The opposite of the resale argument rings true, if you can find one a shop or online retailer is trying to move, you can often get a sweet bike greatly reduced.
  • 2 0
 "Do I want to go to another f*cking clinic in my life? No. I never want to see a parking lot with a cone in it ever again."

Pretty funny! I do wish to see Juliana do well, and would love to see 50/50 out on the trails. My wife prefers her spin classes and is "over the rocks and roots" trail conditions where we live, but I have ridden with other ladies before and had a blast.
  • 3 1
 I guess I just never understood, if the frames are the same, why SC didn’t just allocate some staff and budget to women’s marketing and events etc instead of a whole new “brand” that basically uses different colours? Santa Cruz has cache man! That name means something which is why I look back at my made in USA VP Free as one of my all time favourite bikes. It ripped and everyone looked at it like “dang that SC is sick” whereas people are like “what’s a Julianna?”
  • 2 0
 The Free Agents picked up a rider named Clare Hamilton last season. She has the potential to be an EWS contender and she has experience as a bike mechanic. She’s a tough, hardworking farm girl with an awesome skill set on the bike. Definitely worth considering for a full sponsorship!
  • 3 1
 Let's be realistic, trying to get any sport or hobby 50/50 has one main reason; to sell more product. 50/50 means full market saturation. I say support all equally, but to superimpose quotas gets close to affirmative action. I have to say that our riding group is 20% female, there is 0 predjudice. We are here for the same readon. Support each other, not goad each other into stupid stuff.
  • 5 1
 Interesting how people start conversations with 'so', 'I mean', and 'like' ...
  • 1 0
 Right?!
  • 7 3
 also ive never heard of a "male spec" bike its just called a bike.
  • 3 0
 Congrats! Hope to cross paths soon
  • 2 0
 The frames Are the same. Buy a Santa Cruz bike, put on a wns spesific saddle, cut the handlebars and voila!
  • 1 0
 I'm sure we've crossed paths climbing Space Mountain or Lizard Rock! I'm in Newbury Park....which I feel blessed to have been raised here since 1976. We have great trails!
  • 2 0
 Great read Sarah! Great questions and honest answers. Developing the EWS team could be pretty awesome ;-)
  • 1 0
 Listen, I rode on my local trails (obvs better than your local trails) with a dude on a Juliana, does that make him.... a woman who rips?
  • 1 0
 I vaugely remeber Elayna having a chest protector back when she used to twist throttles that said "MOTOMUFF". Shredder...,
  • 2 0
 Juliana paintjobs look AWESOME
  • 6 6
 I love the lovely ladies on sexy MTB's. More ladies on bikes the better! Keep up the good work and have fun riding!
  • 3 1
 Congratulations Elayna!
  • 5 8
 Blah blah please buy Juliana blah blah blah. I know, i really undertstand it, pb needs money, she needs money, SC needs money. I know. I should not try to read It and just shut up. But marketing somehow pisses me of, sorry.
  • 5 6
 Men who wear fanny packs, should they be buying women's specific bikes?
  • 3 3
 Marketing BS.
  • 3 1
 The Godwin's Law of Bike Forums.
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