Watch out, big-name apparel companies: There’s a new kid on the block, one that may leave major retailers shaking in their boots.
Tribesports, a British sportswear company, is aiming to turn the $250 billion global athletic apparel industry on its head with a revolutionary approach: a community-powered athletic wear line. The idea has evolved from what was initially a sports-centric social network into a brand that offers high performance gear at prices that are up to 40% less than market leaders.
Tribesports is living up to its popular billing, as evidenced by the success of a recent Kickstarter campaign. After setting an initial crowdfunding goal of $46,000, the company more than doubled that within a week.
So, what make Tribesports’ stuff so good, and what’s next for the revolutionary retailer? Men’s Fitness sat down with one of Tribesports’ founders, Jenna Anians, to find out.
Men’s Fitness: How did the Idea for Tribesports come about?
Jenna Anians: After two years of growing Tribesports to become one of the world’s largest sports social networks, we decided to use the combined voices of our global community to rip up the rulebook and really bring something new to the market. Using Internet technologies and the backing of real sports people everywhere, we’re revolutionizing an outdated model that hasn’t changed for half a century.
Why do you believe the model will be successful?
Following the traditional process layered on by global sports brands, there are inefficiencies that drive up the cost of the end product for the customer. We believe there is a new way: providing value for customers without compromising quality. It is no longer necessary for the customer to pay for failing retail stores or advertising budgets spent on celebrity endorsements.
The campaign was funded relatively quickly; were you surprised?
We were thrilled to see the production-funding target of our Kickstarter campaign met so quickly (we reached 100% of our target within 39.5 hours of launching). It’s phenomenal and really reinforces our belief that there is space for a new approach in the sportswear industry and that sports people everywhere are ready to embrace it.
Are there any new products in development?
Absolutely. We have a number of products that are moving through the prototyping and sampling processes.
Looking beyond the Kickstarter launch campaign, we intend to work with our community and customers to drive the direction of the range; to design, spec, and spread the word about Tribesports performance wear. From providing the training data that tells us what kit they really need, to color choices, technical features, and to modeling the finished product, real sports people will be at the center of everything we do.
Short-term, we are moving forward with the build of our online store (due to launch this November). We will make sure transparency in the product journey is central to the shopping experience, giving customers as much information as we can to help them make an educated decision when choosing their performance sportswear.
In the short- to medium-term…We are innovators; we will continue to research cutting-edge fabrics and construction methods, and will introduce new products into the Tribesports range. We’re also very excited about wearable technology. The body is a sophisticated information-processing machine whose data is just beginning to be analyzed and understood, and that data approach to performance fits perfectly with our digital community of sports people. Watch this space.
Tribesports athletic wear goes into production in September with shipping for U.S customers slated to begin in November.