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

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

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.”

Advertisement

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

21 Comments
  • Avatar
    Chris I September 20, 2016 at 11:12 am

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

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    9watts September 20, 2016 at 11:17 am

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

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

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Mike 2 September 20, 2016 at 11:34 am

      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?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Mike 2 September 20, 2016 at 11:36 am

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

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Adam H.
      Adam H. September 20, 2016 at 11:38 am

      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.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      dan September 20, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      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?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Dan A September 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      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.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Matt S. September 21, 2016 at 12:08 pm

        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…

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Middle of the Road guy September 21, 2016 at 11:21 pm

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

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        9watts September 22, 2016 at 7:16 am

        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.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    rick September 20, 2016 at 11:47 am

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

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Steve Scarich September 20, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    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.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Matt S. September 20, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      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…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      wsbob September 21, 2016 at 12:37 am

      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.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Matt S. September 21, 2016 at 10:20 am

        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…

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          jered September 21, 2016 at 1:21 pm

          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.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    MonicaInPDX September 20, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    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.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    bikeninja September 21, 2016 at 9:21 am

    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.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      jered September 21, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      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!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    fat spandex dude September 24, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    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.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Tim Hanrahan September 27, 2016 at 8:51 am

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

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar