Wiggle started out as a small independent bike shop called ‘Butler Cycles’ - based in Portsmouth, UK.
Mitch Dall, the founder of Wiggle, bought the shop in 1995; it had already been trading for over 50 years. After the purchase, the shop moved premises, but remained a bike retailer; it also changed names to “Bikes @ Butlers” to reflect a new interest in online trading.
‘Wiggle’ officially started trading on 28th May 1999, after investment from founders Mitch Dall and Harvey Jones. Harvey was an internet enthusiast, and was keen to develop a business that would have a strong online presence.
“I remember Christmas 2001 – we sent out 100 parcels in one day. That was a record!” – Barbara Tatford, Wiggle’s Purchase Ledger Co-ordinator
In 2002, a larger base in Portsmouth was identified, as an opportunity to take the young and fun online sports retailer to the next level.
Wiggle continued to experience impressive growth in the 2000’s, and was adding one new brand a week to keep up with consumer demand.
“I remember being the first person to process 100 orders in a day“ – Bradley Nolan, Wiggle’s’ Processing and Returns manager.
In April 2009, Mitch Dall sold his shares in Wiggle to the private equity company ISIS Equity Partners (they had invested in Wiggle in 2006) and Wiggle’s existing management team.
In September 2009, Humphrey Cobbold joined the company as CEO.
“My first group ride with the Garmin-Slipstream cycling team was something I could easily get used to” – CEO of Wiggle Humphrey Cobbold.
A new London office for I.T. and Wiggle’s own brands was set up in the vibrant Borough Market area of London in early 2011. Two new warehouses were acquired to increase stock holding, and to continue providing a first-class service to customers. Wiggle was going from strength to strength.
Wiggle was sold to the private equity investment company Bridgepoint in December 2011. Bridgepoint specialises in investing in middle market businesses, and driving Wiggle to continue to raise the bar and provide a great service was their primary objective.
The investment enabled Wiggle to launch 11 new websites for overseas consumers in 2012.
In 2013, Stefan Barden joined the company as CEO. In 2015, the company moved its warehouse from Portsmouth to newer larger premises in Wolverhampton, and the offices moved to new premises at 1000 Lakeside, Portsmouth.
In February 2016, the merger of Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles was announced; combining the two largest companies in the UK online cycle retail market. The Wiggle-CRC group formed in July 2016, after the Competition Commission approved the merger.
In February 2017, Wiggle-CRC appointed Will Kernan as the new CEO - Kernan was previously the CEO of The White Company, and before that the MD at New Look.
Wiggle remains a separate brand and website from Chain Reaction Cycles, despite the two companies being integrated in terms of stock holding and finances. The combined Wiggle CRC group generates an annual revenue of over £400 million.
The Wiggle CRC Group now employs over 1,000 staff, across offices in Portsmouth and Belfast.
From Wiggle’s early days, it has always recruited passionate and dedicated individuals, who share a love of the sport that they work with.
Regular staff rides, runs and outdoor activities showcase the enthusiasm that Wiggle staff hold.
Wiggle staff take pride in being able to genuinely use, test and develop the products and services that we supply. It ensures Wiggle always deliver the best for its customers.
Wiggle has created and supported a network of worldwide events since 2005. These have developed from just a handful of local rides, to over 100 cycle sportives, runs, and even obstacle course races.
In 2013, Wiggle became the title sponsor of UCI ladies professional cycling team, Wiggle Honda (now Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling). This sponsorship demonstrates the company’s commitment to sport, and in particular to supporting female athletes.
Wiggle has always taken pride in being more than just a retailer; it works with brands, individuals and of course customers; to develop the best range, delivery and services in the tri-sports market place.
The passion for sport, and for delivering the best, is reflected perfectly by Wiggle’s own-brands: dhb, Vitus, Nukeproof, LifeLine, Prime Wheels, and X-Tools. These products are designed, tested and developed in-house, by Wiggle staff. Each brand continues to be market leader in terms of quality and price.
Being active in the great outdoors is a great way to get people together, create a sense of fulfilment and enjoy life. Wiggle’s aim is to give as many people as possible the choice to access cycling and tri-sports.
Wiggle believe in being the kind of company that we would want to deal with, if we were you.
You have our absolute commitment as fellow active sports enthusiasts that you will be satisfied with Wiggle.
At Wiggle we’re always trying to go that extra mile for our customers.
Our drive to offer the best service and value, year after year, has not only pleased our customers, but it’s also won the respect and admiration of our peers in the cycling industry.
Through passion, performance and perfection we have been rewarded with the following:
Other notable past awards
BikeBiz online retailer of the year 2010, 2011, 2012
The News Business Excellence Awards, 2012
Golden Chariot Ecommerce Award 2012
Product Innovation title – Oracle Retail Awards 2011
220 Triathlon Awards 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Hitwise number 1 award for ‘Sports – Cycling’ January – June 2010
Hitwise Top 10 Award for ‘Sports and Fitness Industry’ January – June 2010
IMRG Hitwise Hot Shop List Winner Top 100 May 2009
Hitwise Top 10 Award – ‘Sports & Fitness’ 2009