The burgeoning brand GRACEDBYGRIT manufactures fitness apparel in the USA. Its products carry features like phone pockets, whistles, and SPF 50 sun protection.
If you spend time navigating the beaches or mountains near San Diego, you will encounter countless women wearing Lululemon and Patagonia. You’ll also see a lot of a new brand, GRACEDBYGRIT.
Founded in 2013 in the chic beachside town of Solana Beach, Calif., GRACEDBYGRIT high-performance athletic apparel is made in the USA by women, for women.
Today, the brand sells leggings, tanks, hoodies, jackets, and more. Prices compete with foreign-manufactured brands.
GRACEDBYGRIT: USA-Made Fitness Apparel
Founders Kimberly Caccavo and Kate Nowlan met while training for a charity triathlon. The race raised funds in memory of a teen who was raped and murdered while hiking alone. To distract themselves from the grueling reality of triathlon training, the women scoped out what other women wore while running.
“We realized that while many women’s workout clothes might look good static, they’d show lumps and bumps in unflattering areas you didn’t want while working out,” Nowlan said. “And they didn’t do anything to help keep women safe.”
Women’s Athletic Apparel with Safety Features
They started the brand to make clothing that empowers women and keeps them safe. They built a company comprised of, in Caccavo’s words, “kick-butt women” who make clothes that look good outside.
They made sure all of their clothes were SPF 50 so women have protection whether they’re paddleboarding or running in midday sun. The brand makes all clothes with pockets to hold a phone, and there’s an attachable safety whistle.
The company donates a portion of sales to the Chelsea’s Light Foundation, which works to keep children safe.
The combo seems to have struck a chord with consumers.
“Since 2013, we’ve had over 40,000 loyal customers, sold over 50,000 pieces of apparel, and done $3 million in revenue,” Caccavo told GearJunkie. “We’ve grown over 100 percent every year since our inception and just posted a 75-percent YOY increase in ecommerce.”
Business Equity Through Crowdfunding
And now they’re trying a new-age approach to utilize their rabidly loyal fan base to grow into an international brand. Caccavo and Nowlan offer equity in the company through online crowdfunding.
“I’d like to say all these venture capitalist firms are lining up to invest in a business run by women,” Caccavo told GearJunkie. “But that’s not the case. Only 2.5 percent of female-founded companies receive funding from traditional venture capital firms.”
She explained that venture capital firms offered plenty of critiques but no dollars.
“Instead, they’d critique our presentation, and say ‘Kimberly, you should smile more, and Kate, you should stand in front of the podium while talking.’ So we’re asking our loyal fans to help us grow,” she said.
They turned to Startengine, an online platform that allows individuals to invest in small startups by offering equity in the brand. Currently, GRACEDBYGRIT has raised more than $200,000 toward its goal of $1 million to help expand across the country.
And the owners have no doubt that, regardless of the campaign, it will soon become a name that is synonymous with women’s fitness and empowerment.
“Every woman and her daughter are going to know who we are,” Nowlan said. “And we’re going to create a community of women who support each other, who get through tough moments by sweating it out.”