THE SWEATY BETTY STORY
FROM A SIMPLE IDEA TO A GLOBAL LIFESTYLE
I started Sweaty Betty in 1998 to redefine the way women dress, transforming activewear into clothing that make you feel powerful and beautiful. I have always lived an active lifestyle, and in the late 90s the sportswear market was saturated with masculine, and dare I say it boring brands. While working as a buyer, I spotted a few European and American brands that were designed with women in mind and was just like, â€œWow, this is incredible!â€
Faced with redundancy and having spotted a gap in the market I decided to go for it and create a brand that combined my love of fitness, fashion and adventure. Teaming up with my fiancÃ© (now husband and CEO of Sweaty Betty) Simon I wrote a business plan and then raised money from friends and family. We couldn't forget a name, so after much discussion we took the ultimate cool girl â€˜Betty' from the American Archie comics and contrasting with the taboo word â€˜Sweaty,' giving us an intentionally polarising name, with a logo to match.
We then found a store in Notting Hill, and filled it with the most beautiful and technical workout wear for run, ski, yoga, swim and every discipline for the British fitness enthusiast. This area was so perfect, there was a really nice gym and one of the first Pilates studios and we were right where the early customer was â€” they just got it. Not that everyone was quite there, my first assistant quit on the day before we opened, but I persevered and it taught me a lot about our customer.
Affirmation then came from the Evening Standard, which named Sweaty Betty as â€œone to watchâ€ two weeks after it opened. And again three years later, we were named â€œSports Retailer of the Yearâ€. The last 18 years have been filled with so many exciting milestones, from our design, ecommerce and retail teams winning awards, launching a website and appearing on Mary Portas' What Britain Buys. In 2015, we collaborated with Richard Nicoll for a collection that even featured on the London Fashion Week catwalk.
I am now a mum of three, or four if you count my dog Ennis and we have over 50 stores from London to Los Angeles, including concessions in Harrods and Bloomingdale's. Sweaty Betty has gained a loyal following for our exclusive prints, the best technical fabrics and new silhouettes, and we are always creating new, innovative styles. Inspired by my love of London style and global travel, we have reinvented activewear to create clothes that make you feel powerful and beautiful. Over the last 18 years, fitness clothes have become far more than something to work out in, people now wear their gym clothes all day, from a yoga class to drinks with friends. Cheers to looking cool while you sweat.