Fitness apparel - once a staple of gym rats, sports enthusiasts, and young people has taken the industry by storm. Now, we can find these clothes and accessories in wardrobes across all age groups. Clothes and accessories like t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, athletic socks, caps, etc., are everywhere. The pandemic played a big part in making them popular. People were working from home - most are still working remotely or hybrid - and needed comfort and functionality rather than the old office wear. The phenomenon has stuck, and it is not going anywhere. We can see it in the market research worldwide, and they predict it to grow at a staggering 25% for the upcoming three years. People do not have to exercise wearing those - it is a part of the lifestyle now. It presents a unique opportunity for you. As popularity grows, the need for such clothes and accessories is growing. People are searching for alternatives and moving away from mass-produced generic apparel towards custom apparel. You can be the one to provide them with suitable options. If you are an entrepreneur or sell clothes, you can seize the moment. The blog will provide all the information about custom fitness apparel and efficient methods to reach your target customers. Before we dive in, let us start with the various segments within the niche.
Custom fitness apparel types:
The term encompasses a vast industry that we can breakdown into smaller parts and includes:
- Custom sportswear is specifically for a particular sport. Such as custom jerseys, shorts, and knee-high socks, for soccer. Other clothes include tracksuits, shorts, t-shirts, etc.
- Custom streetwear is a style of clothing that become popular during the 90s and is a combination of various subcultures and includes graphic hoodies, sweatshirts, t-shirts, beanies, hats, socks, etc. Previously, it was mostly limited to the streets but now a massive cult-like online following. It has turned into a new luxury.
- Custom activewear allows people to move freely and remain comfortable for long hours. It is a term for outdoor sports and activities, like cycling, running, cross-country, yoga, pilates, etc. Unlike sportswear, it is a more general term, including an array of clothes customized to be stylish and perform, like joggers, yoga pants, grip socks, etc.
- Custom athleisure is a modern term for comfortable and fashionable clothes for every activity. We can attribute their growth to the pandemic.
What is the need to start a custom fitness apparel?
The line between work and exercising has blurred over these past years.
- The Allied Market research projects the market to reach a whopping $451 billion by 2028.
- The US will be the most dominant market.
- They expect the Athleisure clothing market to grow even more by $793 billion during the same period.
We could attribute the rise of the market to
- The growing popularity of healthy lifestyle and be distinct.
- Social media played a massive part in the influence of vloggers/bloggers, influencers, celebrities, etc., with their custom apparel and accessories.
- There is a shift from going to the office, working the entire week, and relaxing at the weekend to a remote work culture.
- There is a growing consciousness to support small, middle-level, and local businesses.
- The growing popularity of online stores and advancements in production methods has lowered the cost of custom apparel.
How to start a custom fitness apparel business?
Although there are many steps, we can broadly categorize them into three main ones.
- Choose the products:the custom apparel industry is massive and includes several items. Start with research and understand your audiences. Find out what they search for and their requirements, and be up to date with the latest trends. The industry moves fast, and you must keep up with it to become successful. One of the most effective methods is to tap into a market with less competition, but it is challenging and will take some time and effort.
Custom fitness apparel is a broad spectrum; you must find out your niche. People make the mistake of thinking they should focus on an extensive market with lots of customers. However, it does not mean that you will get more sales. A small niche with dedicated followers is better, especially for small businesses.
- There will be less competition.
- The chances of your customers being loyal are higher.
- Targeting a particular niche will ensure your business will be in front of people actively searching and willing to buy. For example, when someone searches for custom yoga socks, they know what they want, and with fewer relevant in front of them, the possibility of buying from you is higher.
- Choose products with customers in mind for custom sportswear. If your market audience is sports fans, choose products for a particular segment, like, cycle compression shorts and custom socks for cycling.
- For custom athleisure: Do not limit yourself to custom items only for sports enthusiasts. They are probably the most popular and with the largest market. For regular people, they mean comfortable and casual clothes they can wear in various situations like walking, jogging, working from home, etc. Emphasize the importance of comfort, design, colors, and being distinct. Think of how they would use them and how they can satisfy their unique needs.
For example, Hummingbyrd is a digital store that offers a unique collection of luxurious sports apparel and accessories for women athletes and runners. They focus on active professional women who want to deliver their best performance. It has helped them keep their focus sharp. Their concept is still novel and has massive potential - we can see from the growing following.
- Custom streetwear:It is a way to transform an activewear item into fashionable and opinionated. You can promote to a different market segment. For example, if your customer base is younger, you can surprise them with a hip or trending artwork. The items are easier to design, have massive marketing potential, and allow for experimentation. It is as wide as pop culture. One untapped potential is plus-size apparel which provides you with a tremendous opportunity.
- Choose a path: After deciding on the market and products, you will come up with the ultimate question. How to produce the items? You have two options: choosing a POD service and custom apparel Both these methods have their pros and cons.
- POD: Partnering with a Print-on-demand/ dropshipping company is one way to start your business. The cost is low, but one of the most challenging parts is not building the product from scratch. Most of these companies have a fixed template, and you can only design your artwork. With so much importance on individuality and the need to be unique, it is tough to stand out from the competition only based on design. Materials and quality are of the same or much importance.
They also do not cover the entire range of products you want and focus on a few items they think are in demand. Although it seems an effective method, you 100% depend on them. They also take a fixed cut from every sale, which leaves you restricted for profit. And, when you want to change the service provider, start over again.
- Custom manufacturer:The myth that it is expensive, you need a lot of resources, and technical know-how stops many from choosing the path. The industry has changed with various techniques and manufacturers entering the scene over the last decade. It has considerably brought the cost down. With competition, they also provide services like design help, like EverLighten is one company with in-house designers to take care of your needs.
The freedom to create custom apparel from scratch is unmatched. For example, if you want custom yoga socks, you can choose from a wide range of materials, colors, grips, etc. It enables you to cater to a specific audience and make your business distinguishable. You can choose the number of items and the delivery date. Producing in bulk also lessens the price per item.
You can change the manufacturer anytime or have various manufacturers for different products, like one for custom hoodies and another for custom socks. And, you do not have to pay for each product you sell like the previous option.
- Promoting your business:No matter how lovely your custom products are, people will not know about them without solid marketing. Focus on selling an emotion rather than products. Think about your brand and business representatives and focus on selling those values and stories to customers.
- Leverage visuals: A picture is worth a thousand words hold for growing your custom sports apparel business. We are visual creatures; no words can describe the design better than high-quality images or videos.
- Do not limit yourself to flat images and use the environment where they would use the products. Go to the gym or track and showcase the photos of people doing the activity, like running in custom socks.
- Highlight what makes them unique and helpful to the users.
- Be sincere in your marketing. A professional model might look good, but it is not what people want to see, especially with the rise of all-inclusion movements. Use regular folks to showcase the products; you can ask your friends or family.
Use social media:
We can attribute the rise of custom sports apparel to the growing influence of social media; the activities have moved past confined gym walls and are in your living rooms. Your audiences are active on social media and like to interact in relevant communities. Being in similar groups or growing your community is the way.
Collaborate with influencers: One of the fastest ways to market your business is to join forces with social media influencers. The method is especially effective in custom sportswear apparel; fitness and looking good are huge on these platforms. Partner with professional athletes or sports instructors if you have a few bucks to spare. Another way is to partner with local fitness clubs, yoga, dance, or similar businesses.
Building hype: grab their attention with deals and limited-time discounts. Another way to boost engagement is with exclusiveness and rarity. Create a few items with limited numbers which they can buy within a specific period. For example, custom bamboo socks for one week. To justify the deal, do not use the same products often. Use the latest trends to your advantage, like environmentally friendly and sustainability is growing in popularity.
Be mindful of the seasons: People can wear custom sports apparel all year, but it does not mean you have to sell the same items all the time. Custom hoodies are comfortable during the colder months and regions, while custom t-shirts are ideal for summer. The same goes for colors; people like darker shades during winter and lighter ones during warm months. Custom beanies are popular during cold weather, while caps are during summer.
Time to start:
The demand for custom sports apparel and accessories is hot and will rise further. Expand the line or start selling online. Do your research and clearly understand your target market. Be as active as your customers to partner with a reliable manufacturer. EverLighten has helped many startups, big companies, sports teams, universities, etc., for over eighteen years.
Don is a former professional rugby player for England, passionate about sports and video games, and started wellness and comfort custom apparel and accessories. They were looking for high-quality custom compression socks for long gaming sessions. However, they could not find the right supplier because they were challenging to produce, and the deadline was short. EverLighten helped them with various options for designs, sizes, packaging, and materials. We took care of everything, including their concern for packaging, by providing environmentally friendly moisture-proof bags.
Read the full story https://everlighten.com/blogs/success-stories/don-the-gas-team.
Create custom sports apparel with EverLighten:
- Best pricing: We customize items in our factory, which helps customers to get the best prices.
- Premium quality: Customers get custom products with the best materials, production, and packaging.
- Fast delivery: our factory helps deliver orders in the quickest possible time.
- Customer service: Customers can contact our support team anytime for their queries.
- Customer-centric: We love helping every customer create their dream products.
- 100% customization: Customers can customize every aspect - materials, shape, sizes, colors, etc. - of their custom products.
- Minimum order quantity: Customers can order as many as they need; EverLighten offers the lowest minimum limit in the industry.
- Worldwide delivery: We deliver worldwide, and you can track the orders with an online tool.
For information, inquiries, and ordering, visit https://everlighten.com/collections/all.