The Sports Edit is a multi-channel retailer offering a carefully curated selection of the most stylish and innovative sportswear brands in the world. We stock a diverse and varied range of sports and activewear brands; some established, others emerging, and we are introducing new brands to the UK.
Diversity is important to us, as we don’t think there has been enough variety available in traditional sportswear retail. Each of our brands is carefully chosen for a unique style, attitude and strength. This isn’t just about fashion and retail.
Our mission is to create and inspire a community of people who are passionate about sport, style and wellness.
Prior The Sports Edit I was doing something very different!
I was Head of Emerging Markets at an investment bank, and before that, I set up and ran an investment bank in India.
I’d been thinking about the idea for a long time, and had done a lot of research and spoken to a number of people. I had a lot of start-up experience, but little knowledge of fashion, so I did an evening course at Central Saint Martins on starting your own fashion business, and as the idea developed during that course I quit my day job.
My advice to others would be to get as far along as possible before quitting your day job.
There will always be a scary point when you need to jump and go all in on your new business, but the more developed the idea, business plan, recruitment and funding sources the better.
I try to set people clear, closely defined objectives and empower my team to get on with it.
As a team, we have very ambitious targets, and we’re pretty obsessive about constantly improving all aspects of the business, from buying to marketing to tech.
Team dynamics take a while to settle down in a start-up, as there are so many moving parts, the strategy is evolving, and roles tend to be a little blurred. But we’re well into our second year now, so things are much clearer.
LA is arguably the most influential city in the development of the activewear market, and we’re there twice a year, meeting dozens of brands, both existing and new, seeing how trends are evolving there.
We closely track over 100 active brands, we use Slack to communicate about emerging trends and brands, we watch trends on the catwalk to see if/how they can translate to the active market, and we make sure we are training in the studios and sports that our customers are doing, so we understand the context. Basically, it is a restless search.
We’re looking for people with a following that is based on something authentic.
At the heart of what we do as a business is the belief that exercise is central to a balanced and better existence. We want our customers to get out there and get sweaty, to feel good and look good. We want to work with influencers who can help inspire our customers, so are great instructors, who are on a journey to master an activity, have an interesting back story, and are generally up to cool shit. And ideally, they also have that knack for delivering a powerful photo.
On the future of athleisure
On the one hand, I see ever stronger secular shifts driving athleisure: rising levels of health and wellness awareness and interest; increased appetite for versatile stylish sportswear, worn by women across contexts from working out to working; and still rising participation rates in activities like yoga, Pilates, spin, Class Pass etc.
But on the other hand, there are many more brands chasing the opportunity. The market is growing fast, but there is a bit too much “me too” imitative competition out there, and I think a lot will fall by the wayside, especially as we are seeing the big brands we work with really up their game.
Brands to look out for…
PE Nation. It is a ridiculously cool new Australian brand with a completely unique, bold, retro inspired aesthetic. We’re launching it later this year.
I love Ultra Boost trainers, as they sum up what we’re about – they look great and are at the same time probably the best running shoes you can buy.
In terms of apparel, the two leggings I think every woman needs in her wardrobe are the Alo Yoga High Waist Moto Leggings and Koral Lustrous Leggings. They are the very definition of transitional activewear. Lastly my favourite sweats are from Spiritual Gangster.