As the fitness category continues to face ups and downs, as it reconciles the impacts of Covid-19, Athleta and Obé Fitness are teaming up to improve the health of both brands.
Obé is one of the many virtual training companies that have experienced a Covid-19 boom. But unlike its Peloton or Mirror counterparts, which sell equipment over $ 1,000, Obé equipment costs between $ 15 and $ 25. Plus, its digital content costs just $ 27 per month. But since 2020, the 3-year-old company has sought to energize its training offerings to cultivate a distinct lifestyle for its community and separate itself from the herd. In March 2020, Obé partnered with Gap-owned Athleta for an in-person retreat. Next, Obé added live thematic workouts around HBO Max content and amplified his Halloween-themed classes in October 2020. Obé saw his Athleta partnership as a source of continued enrichment. Athleta even invested in Obé in August in a $ 15 million Series A fundraiser – it was Athleta’s very first investment in the home fitness space. Now, the two brands have joined forces on a collaboration in the field of clothing, another first for Athleta.
“In our current market, we talk about ‘hybrid’ [and asking ourselves] what a post-Covid-19 world looks like. The twinning of our two companies and our common mission allows us to reach people wherever they are, ”said Mark Mullett, co-founder and co-CEO of Obé.
The initial collaboration includes a simple pair of black leggings and a sports bra with the Athleta and Obé logos. The reason was to launch an evergreen assortment, before creating a limited edition or more whimsical fashion. Obeyed already collaborated with Bala Bangles, sportswear brand Terez and even Colgate.
Ultimately, the Obé and Athleta brands attempt to form a larger ecosystem, with various integrations and overlaps. Athleta added Obé to their rewards program this year by offering their exclusive express workout videos to shoppers and, again, hosting in-person events at Athleta stores. According to Kim Waldmann, chief digital officer at Athleta, 50% of Athleta’s sales come from people participating in its loyalty program; members spend 200% more than non-loyal customers. The athlete has publicly declared that it reached $ 1 billion in annual sales in 2020 and that it intends to reach $ 2 billion in sales by 2023.
“Get more people to our rewards programs, experience Obe and build more loyalty and participation, and spread [awareness of the brand via] word of mouth is a key part of how we will grow the business, ”said Waldmann.
Obé declined to comment on its current membership or revenue growth. According to Glossy’s previous report, Obé saw its membership increase by 80% month over month between March 2020 and May 2020, due to the coronavirus keeping people at home. That stabilized at 30% month-over-month growth from May 2020 to October 2020. According to Bloomberg, the last round of table valued Obé at 190 million dollars.
Of course, the idea of creating a fitness-lifestyle ecosystem is not a new approach. And, indeed, the biggest obstacle is that people generally don’t like to work out. Previously popular brands like Outside voice faced with their fair share of woes, often due to mismanagement and controversy. Meanwhile, the peloton stocks went down from an all-time high of $ 167 in January 2021 to $ 44 today. The fitness mirror company Mirror was notably bought for $ 500 million by Lululemon in June 2020. In September, the CEO of Mirror resigned as did Wall Street analysts. pushed for more transparency around its commercial performance. Mullett said one of Obé’s unique strengths is his plethora of small-sized content, like 10-minute videos, that are more realistic than people need, want, and actually do.
Ashley Mills, co-founder and co-CEO of Obé, said Athleta and Obé will add to their product and brand collaborations throughout 2022. When he announced his latest funding round, Obé said he would use some of the funding to add classes beyond his core cardio, strength and yoga offerings. He planned to add stretching and meditation videos, and potentially even workouts that required heavier, cycling-focused equipment. Mullett said there will also be more in-person events and retail product launches with Athleta. The latter will include styles featuring creative use of the logo and more colors.
“The idea of being able to access Obé everywhere was one of the main reasons we were delighted to have this strategic partnership. Their values of democratizing the high-end fitness experience aligned with [Athleta’s] around community and inclusiveness, ”said Waldmann.