Over the last year and a half, Warrior Wear has been making the transition from Kickstarter success to sustainable brand. Backers chipped in nearly $6,500 to bring Founder Jered Seibert’s line of men’s yoga shorts to life, and nearly half have come back for more. (Plus many new customers.)
Seibert says the growth of the business that earned him year-end accolades with spots on The Metroprener’s list of Top Businesses Success Stories and Top Entrepreneurs of 2017 has been a whirlwind. At times it has felt like a slingshot into production; at others, like the slow grind of building a startup. But, it’s all been part of the experience he hopes has led to a sustainable customer base and market segment through a message of transparency.
Men’s yoga is a niche – but a growing one. 2016 and 2017 were, “The years where men started to open themselves into the possibility of stepping into studios and embracing the concept of yoga,” Seibert says.
2018 will be the year they start to tell their friends about it.
Seibert has seen it anecdotally in Columbus. While there are classes where he’s still one of two or three men, there are times where males are the majority – something he hadn’t seen in years prior.
The Warrior Wear that initially caught backers’ interest is much the same Warrior Wear that’s growing today. Seibert says they’ve been able to keep production in Ohio, and stayed true to their mission and niche product focus.
“We didn’t want to dilute our message or our product,” he says.
The shorts have been fine-tuned since launch and more colors added, but the core body of the product is the same. Growth will come in the form of products that expand on the lineup of shorts without extending the brand into areas where they aren’t experts. For example, Seibert says a pair of pants will be debuting soon.
With a clear vision of its products, Warrior Wear is tackling finding the best method of distribution. Through strictly e-commerce, the brand is reaching a global community, shipping shorts to countries like Denmark, Japan and Indonesia.
“We’ve absolutely found success and support in the Central Ohio region,” Seibert adds.
He’ll look to expand Warrior Wear’s reach with a Studio Affiliate Program hopefully rolling out in the next three to four months. From the very first pitch Seibert gave for Warrior Wear in September of 2016, he’s been on a mission to reduce the stigma around yoga for men, “And I think a big part of that is studios carrying men’s apparel,” he says.
It invalidates the insecurity. Seeing clothing for them on shelves can help create a more welcoming environment. Warrior Wear is working with several local studios for the win-win of helping studios through profitability, while furthering their mission and cause of getting men on the mat.
Warrior Wear hopes to extend the in-studio representation to teachers as well, rolling out an ambassador program.
“We want to design a program that’s not just asking them to wear our clothes,” Seibert says. “We want them to believe in the story and the mission.”
There are still unknowns in the road ahead, finding a sustainable path to growth, but Seibert says he and his team, that have been there since the beginning, are ready to keep showing up.
For more information, visit yogawarriorwear.com.