By Jason Smith
The Valdosta Daily Times, Ga.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Two besties have started a business focused on athleisure. It all began when one of the women was searching for a simple pair of leggings.
Kori Daugherty doesn’t like to shop for clothing online.
She said different brands fit in different ways, and ordering clothes online means a long trial-and-error process before finding the right clothing.
Last year, Daugherty was looking for a pair of black leggings, and spent the whole day looking for a good, quality pair. She didn’t want to go online, because of the hassles associated with it.
Later that night while eating dinner with her friend, Angelina Gilbert, Daugherty off-handedly joked they should open a clothing store.
By the end of the night, they agreed they should open a new business in Valdosta: Luxus Activewear.
In the next eight months, they put “sweat equity” into the building they rented at 351 Northside Drive, Daugherty said.
With help from their husbands, the friends built shelving, painted the walls and made other modifications to the building.
“We put every piece of ourselves into this store,” Daugherty said. “Hours and hours of scouring and hand picking. This isn’t just a store for us. It’s our passion. It’s our blood, sweat and, not tears, yet. We did not hire anyone to do any of this.”
When deciding what kind of business to open, they settled on active wear and athleisure wear.
Active wear is typically clothing used to go to the gym, but athleisure wear is clothing that can be worn out or out around town, Gilbert said. She described it as sweat pants or big T-shirts that are still cute and comfy.
Athleisure wear is “active wear that is meant for more than just working out at the gym,” Gilbert said. “You can function in it, but still be active in it, but you don’t have to be in compression.”
“Theres something for anyone who goes to Crossfit or to someone who just dropped the kids off to run errands,” Daugherty said. “It’s really for anyone.”
They strive to have medium to high-end quality men’s and women’s clothing in the store.
Some of the brands include Lacoste Sport Kiava, Koral, All Fenix, Vimmia, Beyond Yoga, Rhone, Spiritual Gagster, Bar Bell, Lanston and GOLDSHEEP.
“Prices in here range from $20-$120,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert made it a point to say that while the store does sell fitness clothing, it isn’t necessarily just for fit people.
“When you say you own an active-wear store people feel they have to be fit, that you have to have a gym regimen,” she said.
But the store’s goal isn’t to just sell to people who go to the gym, but to help prepare people to be active at anytime, but still be comfortable and feel cute, she said.
“It’s a style and comfort to get out there and be yourself and be prepared to get out there and do something,” Daugherty said. “When you invest into leggings, you want them to be versatile. You want to go to the gym and then go to the doctor’s office and not have anyone know you went to the gym.”
And while the clothing is designed for people who work-out regularly and for people wanting to be active, Gilbert and Daughtery live active lifestyles and have experiences with all the clothing brands in the store.
“Everything we have in here has been tried and tested,” Daugherty said. “We know you can squat and dead lift with them. They are not just leggings. They are manufactured for sweating.
“Before any of this, these are brands we tested before we opened a store because we wanted quality. We decided to splurge, and we realized that these clothes will last for years and it’s a bit of an investment.”
The clothes are made of anti-microbial fabric, so the odors wash out, she said. This helps the clothing have staying power because it doesn’t absorb bad odors.
When coming together to buy clothing, the two women strike a balance.
“We are just enough alike, but just enough different — I don’t know what it is — we know how to reel each other back in,” Gilbert said. “There’s a give and take with it — trying to decide on inventory — because our tastes are different.”
“She’s bold and extroverted than I am, and I’m more introverted,” Daugherty said. “It balances out and comes together in the middle.”
Currently, Daugherty is committed to the business full time, but Gilbert has a different full-time job as a second-grade teacher, Gilbert said. And, because Gilbert has a professional, full-time job, she leverages her need to look professional at work with her gym routine to find active wear and athleisure wear that can blend into a professional environment.
“(Gilbert’s) really great about saying ‘this top, you can wear it with jeans,'” Daugherty said. “She’s really great at blending (active wear and casual/professional clothing).”
Because the business focuses on style, the two friends keep up with the fashion trends in the industry.
“It has become more like fashion,” Gilbert said. “When the season starts to change, the clothing starts to change.”
Because it is fashion, the owners try limiting their orders so there is some exclusivity for the buyers.
“We don’t order in bulk, we order one or two in size,” Gilbert said. “So, when you order, you and maybe one or two other people may have the same look.”
“When the clothing is gone, it is gone,” Daugherty said.
Along with clothing, the store carries sweat bands, arm bands, water bottles, unisex hats, Kavu bags, Doterra oils and supplements and other accessories.
Looking down the road, they have a few plans in the hopper for where they would like to see their business grow.
“Long term, we would love to expand a second location, somewhere maybe in Tallahassee, Fla., or Gainesville, Fla.,” Gilbert said. “An untouched market where there is a need for it. We have talked about branding ourselves and having our own Luxus line.
“We have a lot of iron up on the fire for only being a month in.”
Luxus Activewear, 351 Northside Drive, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call (229) 834-7196 or find @luxusactivewear on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat.