- Sweaty Betty
Thought Lululemon was the premium place to get your yoga pants? Think again.
Sweaty Betty is another rising star in the increasingly competitive athleisure sector, and it’s even more expensive than Lululemon.
The athletic apparel brand, which launched in London in 1998 by husband-and-wife duo Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton, is catering to an elite demographic.
The company now has expanded its U.K. empire to the United States – and only in upscale, trendy neighborhoods. Sweaty Betty currently has units in Greenwich, Connecticut, Manhattan’s trendy Soho neighborhood, and Manhattan’s fitness-obsessed Flatiron neighborhood.Bloomingdale’s in New York City and Short Hills also sells Sweaty Betty products. Sweaty Betty is expanding to California, according to The Independent.
Lululemon has a stronghold on the athleisure sector in the United States, but as Sweaty Betty continues to move westward, will it dethrone Lululemon’s seat on the yogic empire? It’s too soon to tell, but one thing is certain: Sweaty Betty is for the richest fitness fiends.
Sweaty Betty’sbasic yoga pantscost roughly $107, compared to $98 at Lululemon. Running pants are roughly $238, whereas Lululemon’s most recently added running pants peak at $168. Other than a pair of no-frills legging which cost roughly $55, the prices just go up from there.
In addition to yoga wear, the retailer offers clothing specific to running, dancing, spinning, cycling, swimming, skiing and playing tennis. Recently, Lululemon revamped the way it sells its pants. Customers were furious when the revamp coincided with price hikes.
But Sweaty Betty customers don’t seem to mind so far.
Between the launch of the United States website in 2010 and 2013, sales increased by 200%, according to Sweaty Betty spokeswoman Katie Stratton. And now, the store is expanding in the United States.
We’re living for the weekend with day 6 of @stefaninurdingxx’s instagram takeover for #sweatybetty… SATURDAY “I love to find cute hair ideas for working out on pinterest and instagram – this is a typical style i’ll wear for cheerleading which is something I love to do when i’m skateboarding too.” Wearing the Speedwork Run Tank and To The Beat Dance Leggings from #TheTomboyTribe collection. (Photo by @fotoholik13)
The reason for Sweaty Betty’s higher prices is its “up-to-date technology,” such as sweat-wicking fabric, according to Stratton.
“Sweaty Betty’s ethos is to empower women through fitness by ensuring that they have both stylish and incredibly technical fitness wear,” Stratton said in an e-mail. “Our design and buying teams ensure that our product offering includes the most up-to-date technology which is what sets us apart from our competitors.”
Sweaty Betty also empowers its shoppers by giving them opportunities to work out. The 30+ U.K. shops and the few United States shops now offer fitness classes in addition to activewear – not too dissimilar from Lululemon. But unlike Lululemon and its signature yoga classes and running clubs, Sweaty Betty acolytes can chose from up to 70 classes per week – including trendy barre, bootcamp, and Body By Simone workouts. Fitness classes provide an opportunity for community, something Lululemon knows all to well.
Investors love Sweaty Betty. Earlier this year, the United States-based Catterton – which has invested in cycling behemoth Flywheel Sports and restaurant chain Outback Steakhouse – invested in the brand.
“Demand for women’s activewear in general, and for brands in the premium and ultra-premium segments in particular, is strong,” Jon Owsley, a partner at Catterton, said in the release. “Tamara, Simon and the entire Sweaty Betty team have created a true leader in the premium activewear category with a brand and differentiated product offering that is set apart for its cutting edge style, high quality and superior performance. We see a tremendous opportunity to build on these strengths and to extend Sweaty Betty’s reach in both new and existing markets. We are excited to partner with the Sweaty Betty team through this investment.”
Sweaty Betty is looking to expand its empire beyond just selling activewear. “We’d love to be the online hub of women’s fitness. Essentially, it would be great if you could come to our website and find videos where you could do classes. We can also be more editorial. We can help people with styling their clothing, with what products to wear. We’re working towards that,” Tamara Hill-Norton told Fashionista last year.