The tough market in the U.S. and worldwide took a toll on another small business as outdoor, bike and street lifestyle brand Swrve Apparel is calling it quits after 20 years.

Founders Muriel Bartol and Matt Rolletta, who started the LA-based brand in 2005, said the move comes as the industry’s landscape continues to change.

“We’ve seen the cost of business increase across the board, from the cost of our fabrics, to cut and sew, transportation, shipping, e-commerce platforms, payroll, marketing, etc. It’s never been easy to run a small business, but every year we face growing costs to the point where we can’t raise our prices and remain competitive,” they wrote on their website.

The company owners said they are a “teeny tiny company” and have been able to hold their own with apparel behemoths for 20 years, but they simply do not have the buying power to negotiate the size and price of orders as the big guys do, nor do they have the volume to negotiate discounts in shipping and other overhead costs like the big companies.

“We’ve always seen increasing costs with each new run we do, but in the past few years, the price increases and minimum order quantities have increased dramatically, to the point where it makes it difficult to move forward with how we do business,” they added.

“We want to add that though these are the external pressures that Swrve is facing, we’re ready for a new adventure. We’re excited to start a new chapter in our lives with time for other interests that we have mostly set aside for the past two decades. As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens, and we are eager to find out what lies beyond for us.”

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February 28, 2024

Dear Friends

We are writing with some big news.

We are in the process of closing Swrve.

It will not be immediate, we have a fair amount of inventory for most items, but we will no longer be making new runs of our products, except for maybe a few small in-house runs.

We want to take this opportunity to thank you.

We started Swrve with a single product, a pair of knickers intended for urban cycling that were designed and made in a tiny rented studio in downtown Los Angeles and sold via word-of-mouth through the local bike community. We grew into an innovative outdoor company with quite a few notable achievements and were always in awe whenever our work took us to a new destination on a faraway continent.

We couldn’t have done any of this without you. We love swrve and we’re incredibly grateful to our customers for having supported this venture for the last 20 years.

It afforded us a life focused on making thoughtful garments of the highest quality, in a way that made us proud of the work we did. We never really worried about making money, or explosive growth, or many of the considerations that a lot of companies with investors worry about, because we had no investors. In a real sense, you were our investors. With every purchase you made, you invested in our company; making the next runs possible, funding the next development we had in mind, and keeping us financially afloat.

We also want to acknowledge what an incredible group of people you all are. We are often astounded by you all. We’ve sent packages off to CERN, the Smithsonian, NASA, and other esteemed institutions of knowledge. Some of you are teachers, park rangers, artists, researchers, writers, chefs, bike collective members, conservationists, architects; in other words, people who are creative, thoughtful, and dedicated to making the world a better place. People who value nature and spending time in the great outdoors as much as we do. We have been in the absolute best company. Thank you.

We also want to acknowledge our employees without whom none of this would have been possible. We are eternally grateful to everyone who has come through our doors and worked to make our vision a reality. It’s an honor that will always have us filled with gratitude. Shoutout to Roxy who has been with us for 10 years and without whom this whole operation would collapse. And also special thank you to Erin, Melvin, Lesbia, Jose, Pancho, and Todd, who were with us at different stages of our growth, and whom we will always consider part of the swrve family.

We are aware what an incredible privilege it has been to build and grow swrve from the ground up, and we are awed that we were able to do it for so long. We are humbled. We are thankful.

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
Matt + Muriel

Image courtesy Svrve Apparel