Encinitas activewear startup Vuori expands to 7 international locations
The company is launching in 7 new countries as it grows the men’s activewear brand beyond San Diego.
Encinitas activewear company Vuori is expanding its brand internationally as it rides the momentum of being one of San Diego’s largest startups.
Shoppers in seven countries including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Australia and Canada will now have access to the Southern California apparel brand online and in stores.
The local company reported its valuation at $4 billion last October following a $400 million investment by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. This marked one of the largest investment rounds for a San Diego startup.
Joe Kudla, founder and CEO of Vuori, said in the company’s announcement that, “2022 is going to be Vuori’s biggest year yet.”
“We are proud to announce Vuori’s first-ever expansion outside of the U.S.,” Kudla said in the statement. “We are infinitely grateful for our team, who has helped bring this shared vision to life, and are thrilled to bring Vuori’s new perspective on performance apparel to these new markets.”
Vuori’s wholesale and e-commerce international partners include Selfridges, Brown Thomas, Cotswold Outdoor, Barry’s Bootcamp and Bever. Vuori also plans to open its U.K. flagship store in London.
The company was founded in 2015 by Kudla with the vision of making high-quality workout clothing for men with the flexibility to be worn beyond the gym.
For brands like Vuori, there’s opportunity in the activewear sector, particularly for men, said Matt Powell, vice president and senior sports industry adviser at The NPD Group. The men’s activewear business sector grew 28 percent last year compared to 2019, NPD data shows.
“Nike and Adidas and Under Armour are addressing that market but not on the more upscale end, and Lululemon has just come out with a men’s line and it’s been successful,” Powell said in an interview with the U-T. “But there’s really no brand out there like Vuori right now that has the potential for growth here.”
Powell named Vuori, Beyond Yoga and Sweaty Betty as top emerging activewear brands in a report on sports retail trends for 2022. He added that while he’s not certain that “athleisure” apparel is as important to the European market as it is here, “there certainly is an opportunity for a men’s focused athletic brand to thrive.”
Vuori currently has 14 storefronts and is sold in most Nordstrom and REI stores. Vuori plans on opening more than 100 stores in the U.S. over the next five years.
The company has more than 700 employees, but said in October that it expects to employ more than 1,000 by 2024. The company has been profitable since 2017 and it is also backed by Norwest Venture Partners.
Vuori plans on continuing its expansion through new products, investments in infrastructure and people, by also opening a U.K. distribution hub as well as an innovation center in Taiwan.
The company said it continues to invest in sustainability and also aims to offset its carbon and plastic footprints through partnerships with organizations such as Climate Neutral and CleanHub to eliminate 80 percent of plastics from its shipping and supply chain this year.
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