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Hillsboro-based apparel retailer TeamEstrogen.com closes doors after 18 years

Posted by on September 20th, 2016 at 10:51 am

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Team Estrogen Inc., an online cycling apparel retailer based in Hillsboro, is closing its doors after 18 years in business.

TeamEstrogen.com co-founder Susan Otcenas told Bicycle Retailer & Industry News last week that price competition and the changing behaviors of customers led to the decision to call it quits. Here’s more from BR&IN:

“We were never about price and discounts, and the world has changed. There’s a fundamental tension between the kind of hands-on customer service and high-quality staff we’ve always had and the customer demand for lower prices and free shipping,” Otcenas said. “The consumer has spoken that they value those things, and I totally understand it, but as a small company, it’s hard to compete in that space if that’s the main focus. It’s a race to the bottom, and we’re choosing not to go down that road.”

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In a message posted on her site, Octenas wrote:

For the past 18 years we’ve had the privilege of helping thousands of women discover the joys of cycling and triathlon. Its been an exciting ride watching the industry grow from just a tiny handful of women’s brands and product lines in 1998, to the broad selection of women’s apparel available today.

We are proud of the role we’ve played in helping women’s cycling to develop, and trust that the brands we’ve worked with through the years will continue to listen, innovate and create the products that female cyclists need and deserve.

To our customers, we say a heart-felt Thank You! Your loyalty, support and feedback throughout our history are much appreciated.

As the name suggests, TeamEstrogen.com was known for its focus on women’s apparel and accessories. Otcenas owned the company with her partner Jeff Mendenhall.

In addition to running her business, Otcenas is a dedicated advocate who spent eight years on the Board of Directors of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. The BTA gave her an Alice Award in 2015. Otcenas was also active in supporting bicycle projects and policies in Washington County.

TeamEstrogen.com will close its virtual doors on Wednesday September 28th and will continue to support customers through the end of October.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Tim Hanrahanfat spandex dude9wattsMiddle of the Road guyjered Recent comment authors
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Chris I
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Chris I

How many triathlon-focused businesses have closed in Portland so far this year?

9watts
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9watts

“and the customer demand for lower prices and free shipping”

Another casualty of the un-restrained megalith that is Amazon. Boo!

Mike 2
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Mike 2

I’m not sure that Amazon is the competition. Perhaps CompetitiveCyclist or triathletesports?

Or are you suggesting that Amazon offering free shipping on some items has directly lead to the closure of high priced specialty shops?

Mike 2
Guest
Mike 2

Personally, I blame K-mart for their bluelight specials. And Walmart for their everyday low pricing strategy!

Adam
Subscriber

I go as far as to not buy any bike accessories on Amazon anymore. I highly prefer going into the bike shop for that. Occasionally, I will order parts from a company’s website directly if the bike shop will have to order it for me anyway.

dan
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dan

I don’t go announcing this everywhere because I know it makes me sound like a crank, but I’m boycotting Amazon and have been doing so ever since their nasty spat with Hachette. Do you really want Amazon deciding what books you can get?

There was also the interesting affair of revoking rights to purchased e-books – that’s right, you don’t own anything, you paid for a license that we can rescind. Not to mention the apparently hellish working conditions. Why would we support that company? What happened to supporting local business?

Dan A
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Dan A

I very rarely get any bike stuff from Amazon. More like Jenson, Niagara Cycle, eBay, Backcountry, Tree Fort Bikes, or our local online retailers Western Bike Works or Universal Cycles.

Matt S.
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Matt S.

Me too. I received a gift certificate the other day for $25 (Amazon) and I thought about purchasing a set of lights. I had them in my queue and everything, but had concerns about not seeing the product first hand or talking to a bike rep to get their opinion. Advice from a pro goes a long way. I didn’t trust the reviews found on Amazon…

Middle of the Road guy
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Middle of the Road guy

Do you go out of your way to pay more than you have to for items that are not produced here?

9watts
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9watts

I go out of my way to buy locally produced items, & to patronize locally owned stores that pay people real wages or try to. I fail at this plenty but I try.

rick
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rick

What else to expect when Washington County has chose to turn so many roads into freeways? Note NW Bethany Blvd.

Steve Scarich
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Steve Scarich

How can we account for the success of Rapha and its $200 jerseys? I have yuppie friends that actually pay full price for their stuff.

Matt S.
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Matt S.

Because when you wear Rapha, people think your ride more than you actually do, probably in the form of a cleverly crafted black and white composition…

wsbob
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wsbob

The amount of money the gear retails at, is relative…to the market…and to how much money, or need for a particular type or quality of gear, the people in a particular market have. Rapha maybe has their market demographic figured out better than some other companies have.

I can imagine some people with non-standard body types, have a very difficult time getting good fitting gear. It’s very unfortunate when a company that seeks to offer excellent goods that meet the fitting needs of such people, goes by the wayside, because so many people are caught up in the trendy fervor of trying to get by, settling for cheap standard sized gear that will never fit them well.

Matt S.
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Matt S.

Good fitting clothes are more expensive in any industry, that’s a given. I think road biking has this pretty and shinny phenomenon that occurs and Rapha plays right into consumer sentiment. Carbon bikes, tight fitting jerseys, shaven legs, SITI shoes—presto, I’m a racer, yah!!!

It’s a lot more about good fitting clothes…

jered
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jered

I find the crazy spendy Rapha stuff to actually be a bit more generously sized for my American body compared to some Italian brands and their size charts are pretty much spot on… but yeah, I’m not buying it at retail – every.

MonicaInPDX
Subscriber

This is a loss, as they have carried several specialty items not found elsewhere, including my favorite maternity jerseys. I ordered from them a few times and found their curated collection to be far superior than slogging through other sites. Bummer.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Sad to see another bike shop closing. As times change perhaps it is time for a new breed of bike shop to meet those needs. With the recent incidents reported on this blog perhaps there is an opportunity for a new “gladiator” style bike shop with Lacrosse type bike helmets ( front grills), shoulder chest and knee protection, puncture proof tires and self defense clubs and scabbards for them.

jered
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jered

I’ll build up my Fargo full MAD MAX fury road style, shooting flames, guy playing guitar on the back, tanker on a beer run!!! YESSSSS!

fat spandex dude
Guest
fat spandex dude

It really stinks that they’re closing up shop. I’m wondering how it’ll affect their forums, which is the first place I’d point anyone looking for a a friendly women-centric online community for cycling. Hopefully they’ll maintain that in some way, rather than just shuttering like Serotta’s forums did.

Tim Hanrahan
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Tim Hanrahan

Congratulations on your long run Susan. And best wishes on your next adventure.