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A regular feature in global fitness titles such as Women's Health, as well as a favourite fit fashion brand across iconic publications including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Grazia - this is Sweaty Betty in print and online.

The company, which already counted Whittington as an investor, in February received a “strategic growth investment” from Catterton for an undisclosed amount that helped fuel its expansion in the U.S. Serow will continue to be based in New York, overseeing a U.S. team of 15 employees. “There are several things I love about Sweaty Betty….This is very much a woman-led business in the athletic space. It's an incredible market. In an interview, Serow acknowledged that while the category is one where almost everyone feels a need to get into the space — Tory Burch is the one the latest entrants — and grab some market share, that didn't necessarily mean Sweaty Betty is late in getting into the game. “The market is a little tired and stale, but Sweaty Betty has great potential to shake things up. We have smart investors who have the capital to let [the company] grow….This is about turbo charging the growth,” Serow said.


According to Serow, “The interesting thing about the ath-leisure market is that it is still growing. Apparel overall is growing 2 to 3 percent, while ath-leisure is growing 5 to 7 percent a year.” Even though there may be new entrants hoping to gain some share of the consumers' wallet, Serow said it won't be as easy as many think. She explained that there are several reasons why Sweaty Betty will have an advantage over its competitors: “One is that it is a technical category. This is completely different from apparel in terms of fit, construction and design. Like the intimate apparel sector, there are big barriers to get into the market and [to do it well one] needs technical design. Number two, while the market leader is Lululemon, there are also a lot of “me too” products, and the sector needs something different from another me-too [brand]. Number three, the most interesting thing about the category — and this is where the ath-leisure piece is really important — something like 80 percent of [our customers] wear it outside of exercising. Women want to look good at SoulCycle, or when they are out running errands.”

According to the new U.S. ceo-to-be, the lifestyle brand is designing for the “girl that lives in the city. We will attract customers who are younger and older. It's more about the lifestyle than the age range.”

Sweaty Betty Names Erika Serow President and U.S. CEO

British activewear brand Sweaty Betty has named Erika Serow president and U.S. chief executive officer as the firm gears up for its expansion in the States.


Serow, who begins on Jan. 18, has been the retail practice leader for the Americas region for Bain & Co. since 2013, with a focus on the apparel sector. She joined Bain in 1995, and has worked at Bain's Boston, London, Sydney and Milan offices before becoming based in New York since 2001.


Sweaty Betty, which counts the better known yoga apparel brand Lululemon Athletica as a competitor, offers its products at higher “premium” price points, and seeks to distinguish itself from competing brands with high quality, cutting-edge fabrics and fashion-forward designs that can be worn for multiple sports and not just yoga. Sweaty Betty was cofounded by Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton more than 15 years ago. Tamara is creative director and Simon is chief executive officer. In addition to the company's Web site, it operates more than 40 boutiques in the U.K., including concessions at department stores Harrods and Selfridges. In the U.S., it has four boutiques — two in New York, and one each in Los Angeles and Greenwich, Conn. — and two concessions at Bloomingdale's, one each at the 59th Street flagship in Manhattan and at The Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, N.J.



Sweaty Betty Brings its British 'Sports Luxe' Looks to Venice's Abbot Kinney

Local fitness fanatics looking to buck athletic wear's black-and-stretchy standard have a new best bet, courtesy of the Brits. London-based fitness empire Sweaty Betty opened its first California brick-and-mortar location in Venice on Nov. 20, selling figure-flaunting workout attire in splashy colors and eye-catching patterns at a premium price.


Husband-and-wife duo Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton launched Sweaty Betty in 1998, eventually growing the brand into a multimillion-dollar business with 42 stores in the United Kingdom.

UK A-listers such as the Duchess of Cambridge and her sister Pippa Middleton have come out as brand loyalists. Meanwhile, in the U.S. the company has opened three other stand-alone shops and two Bloomingdale's boutiques, all on the East Coast. And stateside stars like actress-entrepreneur Jessica Alba and model Gigi Hadid have already gotten onboard. How does the company plan to hold its own on the West Coast, a.k.a. Lululemon territory? By putting forth a product lineup that is "a true fashion collection," says Melissa Sgaglione, public relations director for the "sports luxe" company.

"We're more fashion-forward," she explains. "We use more risk-taking prints." The new Abbot Kinney store is stocked with "It" girl-appropriate neoprene crop tops, cashmere overalls and silhouette-hugging coordinates covered in cheeky patterns. A sign on the wall encourages shoppers to "Sweat your style," which they can presumably do while wearing bright, '80s-reminiscent graphics meant to evoke the skate parks of Venice Beach. "The technical aspect is still there," Sgaglione says of features like breathable mesh and sweat-wicking fabric, "but we make it fun."


Instead of traditional fitting rooms, there are pastel huts that look like changing bungalows plucked from the British seaside. Union Jack throw pillows lie on lounge chairs and a pop art depiction of the queen overlooks a backyard patio where you can sip fresh-pressed juice or pick up a Solé bike for rent. The 1,220-square-foot shop is divided by activity, with separate racks devoted to running, dancing, swimming and the like. They're all sporty passions Tamara Hill-Norton throws herself into, so she devotes a trained eye to designing and styling the pieces.


Sweaty Betty isn't just bolder than its competitors, aesthetically; its pricier too. The bestselling Zero Gravity workout tights — which promise the ultimate in "bum-sculpting" design — sell for $160. A dolman sleeve yoga tee runs $90, while swimsuits range from $120 to $220. The winter ski collection, with its optical patterns and pistachio and peach accents, includes pieces that top out at $635. The steeper prices didn't keep shoppers from filling the dressing rooms mere minutes after the Venice store opened on its second day. Some walked in already wearing head-to-toe fitness gear, while others were clad in street clothes, curiously eyeing the neon layering pieces, yoga mats and rentable surfboards. "I was walking across the street and the colors drew me in," said Moni, a healthcare professional in her 50s, "I like workout wear that doesn't look boring," said the free-weight and cardio enthusiast.


Up next, Sweaty Betty will continue its California expansion with a new location on Santa Monica's Montana Avenue that is slated to open in mid-January. Also on the books for the new year, the Abbot Kinney shop will offer in-store classes, in keeping with the company's tradition of teaching Pilates, boxing yoga and more. By summer, it will feature an even brighter Rio-inspired collection, aiming to push basic black even further to the back.



sweaty betty in the press


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