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Chicago's own BFF Bikes nominated for best women's/female-friendly shop at Interbike this week!

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WOOT WOOT TO BFF!!!!!!

Well said! Congrats again to BFF.

Christine (5.0) said:

This may surprise you, but stores do this thing called "selling stuff."  Stores want to "sell as much stuff" as possible.  So if, say, you start a beauty supply store in Lincoln Park, do you think you would want to stock your limited self space with lots of hair products for African hair, or more products for Caucasian hair?

If a black resident comes to your store, is disappointed by the small selection of olive oil shampoos you politely show her, and opens up her own kiosk nearby to service the neighborhood's small number of black residents, with a vast array of straitening creams and... other things that I don't know about, would you say she only did it because of some false sense of discrimination?  And if, GASP!  the kiosk sold some race-neutral body lotion, would you whine that it's only because potential clients are filled with unjustified feeling of racism and are too afraid to use your shop, rather than conceding that a person in need of specialty shampoo might impulse buy some generic body lotion, which allow the shop to sell more stuff?

Anyway, congrats BFF!

Asper K said:

Are women discriminated against in regular bike shops?  I don't think so.  Why is there a bike shop catering to women?  Seems weird to me.

This nice thread about a local shop's recognition has gone off the rails in record time. -Rich 

This is a positive thread. The original topic makes provocative statements inappropriate here. 

Regarding the comment Asper K refers to above, nothing about it appeared to be a personal attack, merely a statement of the commenter's point of reference.

Are there more folks who have something good to say about BFF getting recognition? The shop is off to a great start. Seems like they've accomplished a lot in a very short time.

Discriminated against may not be the best term for what the problem is. I think it is more about not considering what women customers want and need when they order stock. WSD bikes, smaller frame sizes on the floor and not as a special order, a decent choice of seats, helmets, and clothing are the things I have found lacking in many bike shops. 



Asper K said:

Are women discriminated against in regular bike shops?  I don't think so.  Why is there a bike shop catering to women?  Seems weird to me.



Sydney Barton said:

Discriminated against may not be the best term for what the problem is. I think it is more about not considering what women customers want and need when they order stock. WSD bikes, smaller frame sizes on the floor and not as a special order, a decent choice of seats, helmets, and clothing are the things I have found lacking in many bike shops. 



Asper K said:

Are women discriminated against in regular bike shops?  I don't think so.  Why is there a bike shop catering to women?  Seems weird to me.


And have you seen the bike bags at BFF? I bought this amazingly practical adorable pannier there, it makes me so happy.

Great example of a new business offering what women want but may not have previously found in local stores. 

Christine (5.0) said:

And have you seen the bike bags at BFF? I bought this amazingly practical adorable pannier there, it makes me so happy.

BFF really is not about discrimination--it is about understanding how the needs of women cyclists sometimes differ from the needs of men.  Needs sometimes differ in bike sizing, in clothing that is comfortable for commuting and for racing, or in accessories.  I bought a road bike there because they (including their head mechanic, Steve) "get" that I am really small and had a terrible time trying to find something to fit. They spent a great deal of time looking for the bike that would fit me. 

On the other hand, I bought my Surly LHT from Comrade Cycles, which is another wonderful bike shop.  They were (and are) the right people for that purchase and I recommend them highly, too.

As someone already said, there are niche markets and BFF fits one of those niches.  Long may they be in business and prosper!

Lisa is right. BFF is to a great extent about niche marketing. If there is a niche and there is a market there is a reason to open the doors. There are shops such as Velosmith up in Wilmette that cater to a higher end clientele with miles to pedal and dollars to spend. They do well and their customers are happy they are there. I am  not really their target but I think there is a good reason why they are  in business. The Velosmith customers may not be interested in what a lot of urban shops have to offer. Roughly half the world is female so BFF seems to have a pretty good idea why they are in business. Coming from a family of vertically challenged hobbits who can look Lisa in the eye I would likely recommend BFF to family members, especially female ones, who are looking for cycling related stuff.  As I age I more and more realize that people are  not marketing to  me. That's ok. Plenty do.

So, in its niche BFF has been noted for doing a good job. Well done!  We ride all kinds of bikes and need all kinds of shops. 

That makes sense. Like a 'big and tall' if you will.  I figured a normal bike shop would stock items equally but I guess that's not true since biking does skew male.

I'm gonna try and get on that bike team..prob lotta fun lol!



Lisa Curcio 6.6mi said:

BFF really is not about discrimination--it is about understanding how the needs of women cyclists sometimes differ from the needs of men.  Needs sometimes differ in bike sizing, in clothing that is comfortable for commuting and for racing, or in accessories.  I bought a road bike there because they (including their head mechanic, Steve) "get" that I am really small and had a terrible time trying to find something to fit. They spent a great deal of time looking for the bike that would fit me. 

On the other hand, I bought my Surly LHT from Comrade Cycles, which is another wonderful bike shop.  They were (and are) the right people for that purchase and I recommend them highly, too.

As someone already said, there are niche markets and BFF fits one of those niches.  Long may they be in business and prosper!

Thanks for the humor and positive thoughts about how niche businesses can benefit our bike community.

David Barish said:

Lisa is right. BFF is to a great extent about niche marketing. ... Coming from a family of vertically challenged hobbits who can look Lisa in the eye I would likely recommend BFF to family members, especially female ones, who are looking for cycling related stuff. 

BFF didn't get the award :€(

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