It’s no secret that consumers, especially younger ones, are more likely to spend money on experiences than clothing these days.
So what’s a startup selling high-end sportswear to do? Follow the money.
Equinox, a luxury gym brand with a high monthly price tag to match, has begun entering into partnerships with startups to sell products in their fitness clubs, right near the front.
Men’s underwear startup Mack Weldon and luxury sportswear seller Rhone Apparel have both entered into agreements with Equinox to sell apparel at the gym’s boutiques.
The Rhone partnership involved 11 pop-up shops in Equinox gyms across the country, while the Mack Weldon deal is more permanent in nature.
Think of the Equinox boutique as a sort of gift shop. After paying US$235 (the price to belong to a single Equinox club in New York City) for the experiences that affords, patrons can explore a little boutique set near the entrance. Equinox already sold branded merchandise, but the partnerships (and a “coming soon” banner on its online store) signal there may be bigger plans in store.
SoulCycle, another popular boutique fitness studio that offers classes instead of a full gym experience, has already taken advantage of the craze it created. SoulCycle aims to offer a lifestyle instead of just an hour-long class, and consumers can further buy into the culture with branded clothing that proves they’re part of the “tribe.” It’s become a meaningful part of the brand’s bottom line, according to Racked.
It makes sense for gyms and studios to cash in on the athleisure trend, as it’s currently one of the only bright spots in retail. Casual sportswear pulls in US$44 billion a year, according to NPD Group, while many traditional retailers are struggling.