2008 Interbike Briefs - Part 6
DO: I’m with Nicole, the President of Skirt Sports. That’s hard to say fast. Tell us what Skirt Sports is. There could be all kinds of visions running through people’s minds with that name!
Nicole: Men, their brains are running as soon as you say the word skirt. Skirt Sports, this is my little baby, I launched it in 2005. My background is as a pro triathlete so I raced professionally about six years and before that I was a national level swimmer. I had this great, fun career, but towards the end of it I was looking for something else.
I was sponsored by some great clothing companies, but they specialized in the performance side of products. I felt like when I was out there training and racing I was giving up a bit of my personality. It was not coming through my clothing. I found myself in men’s extra small training gear.
I had basically an epiphany run when the idea for Skirt Sports hit. I was out on a winter training run and not feeling particularly inspired and I looked in a store window. We all look in windows and we pretend we’re looking at the clothing in the window but we’re really looking at our reflections. And I just thought I look like a boy and I’m so sick of it. When I tell that story, so many women shake their head and say “I hear ya.” I went home and the word that came to my head was “pretty” and I said I just want to look and feel pretty, not for anyone else, just for me. If I just had a little more excitement in my clothing it might inspire me to get out the door. That is when this whole concept started. It was in December 2003.
I wore a prototype skirt in Ironman Wisconsin and I ended up winning that race in September 2004. I won an Ironman wearing a product that I was getting ready to launch.
DO: I think you could say your product enhanced your performance.
Nicole: It worked! Thank you. It’s all about attitude. We have attitude enhancing apparel.
DO: With the name Skirt Sports I’m thinking, ok, you sell skirts. That’s not the total picture is it?
Nicole: In the beginning it was. I wanted to make fun, sexy clothing for women. We made three styles of skirts.
DO: What has that line expanded to now?
Nicole: We have fifty styles in the following categories: running, cycling, triathlon, and a couple of swim pieces. Pretty much everything we have in our line has an active crossover, so you can consider us an active lifestyle brand. We have a winter collection for running too.
DO: So you’re saying somebody can be wearing something on the bike or on the running trail...
Nicole: And then to the coffee shop, the grocery store, and then to the night club.
DO: And be stylish all the way! For cycling specific, what is different in the Skirt Sport line?
Nicole: I think we really hit it on the fashion side. There are a lot of really great performance brands…they’re really catering to a more conservative athlete. We said we’re fun, we’re bold, we’re confident women. Some are really in your face and some are more subtle, elegant, and sophisticated.
DO: You say you focus on fashion, does that compromise performance?
Nicole: It doesn’t. The way women shop, they have to be excited by your product by look. Then they’ll start to touch and feel the product and see that ours is also high performance by the fabrics we use, the chamois we use. We really consider every woman’s needs for the placement of pockets, seaming, built in bras, leg grippers. We put pockets in the built-in bra. That is a special feature. Women appreciate a pocket in the bra. We stash all kinds of stuff down there...
DO: Guns, knives?
DO: Where does the development of your product come from? Is it from your competitive background?
Nicole: Generally it will start with me. I take feedback from everybody on my team and customers as well.
DO: Where do you see the development of Skirt Sports going?
Nicole: I wish we could do everything, but we’re going to stick to our core of running, cycling, and triathlon.
DO: Roadcycling.com wants to focus on a woman’s perspective. I feel that’s an area we’re lacking. I appreciate your input and I’m sure the readers of Roadcycling.com want to know where they can check out Skirt Sports.
Nicole: We do have an online store at www.skirtsports.com which carries everything in our line. The benefit of going to your local store is you can try it on and get a feel of the fit.
DO: Can those retailers be found listed on your website?
Nicole: They can. One other thing is our skirt chaser race series. We started a national 5k running series called the skirt chaser race series. Every woman gets a skirt with her entry and all the women line up first. The guys get a skirt chaser T and start three minutes later. It’s been really fun. My whole mission is about promoting fitness followed by a party. People walk away and say that’s the most fun I’ve ever had. I don’t ever want to lose this job, I enjoy it.
DO: Best of luck to you.