Rise in athleisure spending fuels growth for Carefree company

Rise in athleisure spending fuels growth for a Carefree company.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 9:58 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - From yoga pants to sneakers, Americans spend a lot of money on athletic gear and loungewear. The so-called athleisure market hit $411 billion last year and is expected to grow to almost $800 billion by 2028, according to Research and Markets.

Another recent survey by Arris shows the average American spent $277 on athleisure in the past year. One out of 10 people say they’ve spent more than $500, and 85% of Americans say they wear athleisure when they’re not planning to exercise. It’s a trend that’s helping fuel the growth of Yoga Democracy. Co-founder Haley Byfield is also the company’s designer. “I do think people will continue to value the comfort but also what makes them happy, so that might be color. That might be prints,” Byfield said.

Yoga Democracy, based in Carefree, now has 15 employees and a store in Scottsdale. “Right before Covid, we about five-exed (grew by five times) our company, and then during Covid, we did another ten-X and it’s been steady growth since then,” said co-founder Travis Strote. “Athletic wear has become athleisure which has become the new jeans. Everyone has replaced their jeans and their workwear with athletic wear because it lasts longer, it dries faster, and it holds up better.”

Arris’ survey shows 60% of people say they would wear athleisure to a casual dinner, while 1 in 10 say they’d wear athleisure to a nice dinner. But across some big retailers this year, there was also an inventory mismatch that led to big discounts on casual clothing and athletic wear.

“A lot of these companies that bought all of this product for the rise in e-commerce during Covid and then the product got caught off the coast and they didn’t receive it,” Strote said. “Now they have this huge influx of product, so the market is kind of getting flooded, but I haven’t really seen a dip in what people are wearing, just an influx in product. And what’s great about our company is we have carved out a niche to where we really stand out.”

It’s easy to do in the company’s signature prints.