While selling fitness apparel in your studio can be a great way to add another revenue stream to your business, the initial investment can be intimidating when you haven’t had much prior retail experience. To make a confident decision about what products to offer in your studio, you need two things: knowledge about and passion for the products you are selling.
Zachary Blank, vice president of Paragon Sports, the largest sports specialty store in New York City, grew up in athletic and outdoor retail. We asked Blank to share his insights about making smart purchasing decisions and the fitness apparel trends to watch.
Make Smart Purchasing Decisions
What flies off the shelves in one studio might flop in another, so understanding the needs of your client base is essential. Before placing an order for apparel, talk to your clients and staff about what their needs are.
Offer products in your studio that your clients won’t find elsewhere. “These days there are many places where consumers can purchase,” says Blank. “When deciding what products to carry, understanding who you are and how you can differentiate yourself by the products that you buy is so important in order to create a unique experience.”
Change with the Seasons
When you carry apparel, offering new styles on a consistent basis can help you maintain sales goals. “Freshness is key to our existence,” says Blank. “We are constantly changing what’s on the sales floor (at Paragon Sports) to keep the customers engaged and excited. Whenever you can, keep the product fresh.”
The frequency you rotate your products will depend on your sales and the availability of new products from your wholesalers. Some smaller fitness apparel brands produce two seasons and only ship twice per year while the larger brands offer new products quarterly.
Follow What’s Hot for Athletic Apparel Now
Athleisure wear has been a huge trend among women for a while, and now, according to what Paragon is seeing among their customers, its popularity is growing among men as well.
“What we’ve seen is a mixing of tech into lifestyle and fashion into fitness. That being said, do not ignore your serious athletes who want to be prepared for a marathon,” says Blank.
In women’s fitness apparel, Onzie, Maaji and Colosseum are three hot brands on the rise. Lollipop colors are still very much on trend in running apparel and tights. The “it” color for the season is volt, a neon yellow.
Men, however, still prefer blues and grays for their running and fitness apparel, rather than the multicolor patterns popular with women’s activewear. Another men’s apparel trend this season is the 2-in-1 compression shorts.
For the fall, look for layering to be popular with both men and women. A Paragon Fitness Buyer, Sara Williams, recommends to “add some mesh or color block into your wardrobe to break up basic printed leggings.”
Love What You Sell
Educating yourself and your staff about the products you choose to carry is essential to a successful retail endeavor.
“If you and your staff live and breath what you teach and are passionate about what you do, it follows that they will be passionate about getting clients into the right gear,” says Blank.