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Founder Feature: Alexis Ring

A newfound passion led to a new career for Alexis Ring, founder of Lexi Miller, a line of high-quality, direct-to-consumer cycling apparel made specifically for women, by women, in California.

Alexis had started her career in interior design, in which she’d majored in college. After spending eight years designing residential projects and special events, she fell into fashion design out of necessity.

“In 2010, I took up cycling as a hobby and it soon became a major part of my life,” Alexis recalled.  “I was unpleasantly surprised by the lack of options for women’s cycling apparel. Subsequently, I began to dream up the idea of Lexi Miller as a solution, and launched in late 2015.”

While so many other niches of active apparel have improved in recent years, cycling apparel still had too many pain points. 

“They didn’t fit quite right, the textiles felt cheap and scratchy, and too many jerseys were stamped with garish logos, girly flowers, and amorphous swirly designs meant to designate…what, exactly?” Alexis said.

She drew upon inspiration from the fashion runways, adding style lines and details to the very functional features which endurance athletes require. The result was a sophisticated, modern collection which often garners compliments for being both beautiful and unique, which was her objective.

Alexis delights in every aspect of the design process, sourcing the highest quality textiles and trims to elevate her customers’ experiences. In addition, a large part of Lexi Miller is the stories behind the women who choose to ride a bike: what fuels them, what unites them, and what challenges them. As a female voice in a male-dominated industry, Alexis hopes that Lexi Miller will encourage more women to feel like they have a place on the road, and a voice in the narrative.

Interior design shares some commonalities with fashion, and Alexis is quick to credit her former boss and mentor, Kelly Hohla, who taught her that 90% of interior design is organization, details, maintaining vendor relationships, and managing a project's workflow.  

“I would not have been able to jump into fashion design if I didn't have that experience,” Alexis said. Still, launching her apparel company had decided differences from her work in interior design. “One of the biggest shocks was the length of a sales cycle. As a high-end, emerging brand, it takes many touches to sell a product. We put seams in places that flatter our bodies without sacrificing function. We have a jersey that doesn't have a zipper and is inspired by DVF's iconic wrap dress. We use high quality materials that feel good and last.”

Alexis is quick to acknowledge the many benefits of running her own business. “Knowing that I am on the cusp of a growing movement of more women getting on bikes and the excitement about being a trailblazer in our path. Connecting with my customers and finding out more about them. Knowing that my product resonates with other women, and that I am satisfying a need in the marketplace, solving problems, and enabling women to be strong.”

Advice for other female founders?

“Know that you will have to do everything in the beginning. Be prepared to learn it all. You'd better love what you do because it can be a grind, but so rewarding. Don't turn down an introduction or a meeting. Accept help and pay it forward.”

Katelyn Murphy-McCarthy

Katelyn is a writer and editor specializing in creative nonfiction. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and loves hearing and sharing the stories of women who are making a difference.
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