There's a new high-end fitness fashion brand in town, and it's even more expensive than Lululemon Athletica.
Sweaty Betty, which was founded in London in 1998, has opened two U.S. stores in the last four months — one in Soho and one in Greenwich, Conn. — and it's planning to launch a third in 2014.
The brand offers fashion-forward fitness apparel for a slightly higher price than Lululemon, which has a stronghold over the high-end activewear market in the U.S.
Sweaty Betty's basic yoga pants cost $120, which is $22 more expensive than Lululemon's. The retailer's cheapest pair of sweatpants cost $110 — compared to $98 at Lululemon — and jackets cost between $80 and $600.
In addition to yoga wear, the retailer offers clothing specific to running, dancing, spinning, cycling, swimming, skiing and playing tennis.
The reason for Sweaty Betty's higher prices is its "up-to-date technology," such as sweat-wicking fabric, according to Sweaty Betty spokeswoman Katie Stratton.
"Sweaty Betty’s ethos is to empower women through fitness by ensuring that they have both stylish and incredibly technical fitness wear," Stratton said in an e-mail. "Our design and buying teams ensure that our product offering includes the most up-to-date technology which is what sets us apart from our competitors."
Women don't seem to mind Sweaty Betty's higher prices.
The company's U.S. website has seen a 200% growth in annual sales since it launched in 2010, according to Stratton. And online reviews of the U.S. stores have so far been positive.
"I love the new store (aesthetically speaking) and can't wait to try the free workout classes that they offer - they also mentioned a free jogging club that is supposed to start up," blogger Danielle Nazinitsky wrote on Yelp of the Soho location. "Their holistic approach to working out (you buy the clothes there and make a habit of coming to the free classes) is very clever."
Another Yelp user said: "My friend and I are fitness freaks and always looking for the best gear to wear! The salesgirls were super helpful and the clothing was cute! Great quality and different styles. I bought three outfits that are perfect for spin and Pilates."
On the company's blog, a customer wrote: "I'm so happy Sweaty Betty has opened in New York. I'm a Yoga Teacher in Brooklyn and couldn't be happier with the beautiful store, perfect location and the two new outfits I found at SB yesterday!"
Husband-and-wife team Simon and Tamara Hill-Norton opened the first Sweaty Betty in Notting Hill 15 years ago. Since then, the couple have opened more than 30 U.K. locations, many of which now offer fitness classes in addition to activewear.
When the Soho store first opened in August, the company spread the word by hosting 20 trunk shows in the Hamptons, and giving away yoga mats, activewear and catalogues, according to Women's Wear Daily.
The store also provided New Yorkers with a free taste of London fitness trends, including Frame Rave, a dance cardio class that involves glow sticks and black lights.
The Soho store currently offers free yoga, barre method, and boot camp classes.
Check out more photos of Sweaty Betty's Soho store below:
Sweaty Betty's New York store is located in Soho at 77 Mercer Street.
Sweaty Betty's basic yoga pants cost $120 compared to Lululemon's $98 bottoms.
The retailer offers free yoga, barre method, and boot camp classes.
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