While Colorado may be home to one of the worst dressed cities in America, we're still ranked as one of the fittest. It's no secret that people here love being active -- and Colorado Clothing has been making workout and sport apparel for our generally healthy population since 1998.
But in 2009, the company saw a gaping hole in a market it had yet to tap: women's active wear (read: yoga clothes) at a reasonable price. In 2010, the company launched Soybu, it's own line of lifestyle apparel, and business only got better from there.
"We've specialized in knits since the day we began," says Soybu founder Jeff Schmitt, "and we were being asked by our customers to develop products that they had seen in brands like Athleta or LuluLemon."
After a test version of the line that ran in 145 Sports Authority stores nationwide proved successful, the athletic retailer has decided to incorporate Soybu in all 472 locations. That's big business for two Colorado-based companies -- Sports Authority, once known Gart Brothers, is based out of Englewood.
So, what's the big deal with Soybu? The most obvious distinction is the price point: while Lululemon's yoga pants can run from $74 to $128 for a single pair, Soybu aims to sell it's apparel at an average of 30 percent less.
"If you look at the price points of Lululemon and Athleta, then Nike, then down to a Target level with Champion, there was nobody in that middle tier I felt was delivering quality," says Schmitt. "I was talking with my wife -- we have small kids -- and moms just need to have versatile clothing. They don't buy Nike and Under Armor. They're not as hardcore athletic as they are about lifestyle."
In response to this idea, Soybu has created not only traditional workout style tops and bottoms, but dresses and jackets that can look less like the gym and more like everyday attire. Named for it's inclusion of eco-friendly fibers, Soybu utilizes soy, bamboo and recycled materials in it's designs, also lending to a reasonably priced product.
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"One message we have is, if you weed out 99 percent of the population due to price point, we don't feel that that's very eco-friendly," Schmitt points out.
The rollout of the Soybu line in Sports Authority stores began earlier this month.