Proviz: Defying the Darkness for 10 years
It’s been 10 years since Proviz founders Anthony and Rupert Langly-Smith first set up the business and what a decade it has been! In that time, we’ve introduced six different ranges, catering to everyone from hardcore cycling fans to first-time runners. We even make sure your beloved dog can be seen at night.
To celebrate this milestone the brothers are introducing a brand refresh, complete with a new strapline – #defythedarkness – and 15 brand new products, many of which owe their existence to our incredibly loyal customers.
“Much of our success over the past 10 years has been reacting to growth in our existing products, keeping one step ahead and making sure we are pushing boundaries in terms of innovation for our customers,” says Rupert. “We wouldn’t be here without our customers and it’s always an absolute joy to introduce new products that they have specifically asked for.”
Brothers Rupert and Anthony Langly-Smith
So, how did two brothers with no experience in design and manufacturing turn a great idea into a thriving business? “Our game-changing moment as a business was the launch of our REFLECT360 range,” says Anthony. “One Guy Fawkes night we went out as a family wearing our Nightrider jackets. They have bright reflective strips and I remember cars slowing for us as the light hit them. I said to Rupert, ‘imagine if the whole jacket was reflective.’”
Less than a year later, Anthony and Rupert took their first REFLECT360 jacket to a major trade fair and were surrounded by press and retailers within minutes. “We got our biggest ever order from a major retailer just off the back of one jacket on one mannequin,” says Anthony.
Today, the REFLECT360 collection is sold in 70 countries around the world and features 50 products, ranging from jackets and gilets to backpacks, helmets and gloves, all of which incorporate the millions of tiny, highly-reflective beads that, at night, light the wearer up like a Christmas tree. “We’re still so proud of that range – we were the first to market with this kind of product and the demand was phenomenal, beyond all expectations. It continues to be one of our most popular collections,” says Anthony.
It also perfectly demonstrates the new Proviz strapline – #defythedarkness. “The strapline may be new, but the belief behind it isn’t,” says Rupert. “It really goes back to our first days in my flat in London. Even then, we were always about defying the darkness, helping to make cyclists (and later runners and other outdoor fans) visible at all times and to empower them to take charge of their own safety on the roads.’’
Anthony agrees: “Our message is about empowerment, whether you’re cycling, running, walking the dog – especially at night-time. We want people to wear our jackets and gilets and backpacks and feel more empowered, like they can overcome anything.”
Evolution is the key to any successful brand and for Anthony and Rupert that means keeping customers at the heart of everything. “We get so many social images sent to us with happy customers in their reflective Proviz gear, not to mention amazing testimonials,” says Anthony. “But we also know our customers have a lot more choice than they did 10 years ago. There are lot more cycling brands, that’s for sure. That’s why we keep innovating, keep evolving with the times and trends.”
Proviz’s latest evolution will see the launch of 15 new products – many of which owe their existence to customer requests – to coincide with a new-look website. “We’re excited to add these key items to our collection in time for the new season and the launch of a new site,” says Rupert. “We’re adding a fleece option, so now you have reflectivity, waterproofing and warmth. This has been a constant request for both our adult and child ranges and we’re really pleased with the results.”
Other items include arm and leg warmers. “We always get asked for those,” Anthony says. “We’re also launching Nightrider 2.0, which is a new, improved version of one of our original bestselling pieces from 10 years ago.”
As well as new products, the Proviz team are always looking at price and customer experience, says Rupert: “As an online and wholesale business we need to be very exact with our pricing and make sure our website is easy to use. These things all matter to our customers, so they matter to us more!”
The past 10 years have seen Proviz build on the brothers’ original idea to give cyclists more visibility on the roads to now encouraging everyone to make the most of the outdoors, whatever their activity level. Recently, Proviz was shortlisted for the prestigious Growing Business Awards, sponsored by Amazon, the most credible and high valued recognition of growing businesses and a testament to how far the company has come. “Our brand was founded on product innovation, based on our observation of peoples’ lives outdoors,” says Anthony. “The first 10 years have been an incredible experience. We can’t wait to see what the next 10 bring.”
Ant’s Pick – the new Nightrider 2.0 cycling jacket
Rupert wears the Nightrider Men's Cycling Jacket 2.0
Inspiration: we always wanted to add more reflective fabric to the previous version of the Nightrider jacket. Combining dayglo (yellow or pink) with ample reflectivity makes this a great option day or night. It’s also a better fit and there are a few extra new features thrown in, too. We are really pleased with the finish.
Favourite feature: it has to be the option of visibility for day or night.
What Ant uses it for: I will be using this jacket all year round for short and long rides.
Rupert’s Pick – REFLECT360 Outdoor fleece-lined jacket
Inspiration: request after request from our customers! Our previous outdoor jacket didn't have the warmth option, but this one now does.
Favourite feature: there are too many to list – but the combination of 100% reflective, 100% waterproof and 100% warmth is pretty special! It’s also got a lovely warm hood!
What Rupert uses it for: I have been using it already for morning and evening strolls, as well as a general outdoor jacket, it’s a real multi-purpose jacket and my daughters LOVE their kids’ version.
Make sure you check out our new website and keep your eyes peeled on our social channels for more exciting announcements.