"Instead of display advertising, Rapha continued to fund exhibitions and events, as well as beautifully shot magazines, books and films. Instead of shops, it opened “cycle clubs” (currently in London, San Francisco and Osaka) which, as well as Rapha products, had cafés, collections of cycling memorabilia and big screens to show live races. As a result, it looked like a company devoted to promoting the romance of the sport, rather than one concerned with selling padded shorts.
…The Sky deal takes Rapha into new territory – from upmarket niche to mainstream. “It’s a classic problem for brands,” says Mottram. “How do you retain purity and authenticity while selling to more and more people?”
…Another approach is to manage supply – the company has stopped doing sample sales in London – and to create separate collections within the brand. It already has a “secret” range, with distinct colours and trims, sold to its best customers by invitation…"