Athleta and Obé launch first clothing collaboration in long-term partnership

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 many virtual workout companies that have experienced a Covid-19 boom. But unlike its Peloton or Mirror counterparts, which sell gear for over $1,000, Obé gear 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 invigorate its training offerings to cultivate a distinct lifestyle for its community and separate itself from the herd. In March 2020, Obé teamed up with Gap-owned Athleta for an in-person retreat. Next, Obé added themed live 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 fundraising – it was Athleta’s first-ever investment in the home fitness space. Today, the two brands have teamed up in a clothing collaboration, another first for Athleta.

“In our current market, we talk about ‘hybrid’ [and asking ourselves] what a post-Covid-19 world looks like. The pairing of our two businesses and our shared mission allows us to reach people wherever they are,” said Mark Mullett, co-founder and co-CEO of Obé.

The initial collab includes a simple pair of black leggings and a sports bra with Athleta and Obé logos. The reason for this was to launch an evergreen assortment, before creating limited edition or more whimsical fashion. Obeyed previously collaborated with Bala Bangles, sportswear brand Terez and even Colgate.

Ultimately, the Obé and Athleta brands are trying to form a larger ecosystem, with various integrations and overlaps. Athleta added Obé to its rewards program this year by offering its exclusive express workout videos to shoppers and, once again, hosting in-person events at Athleta stores. According to Kim Waldmann, Chief Digital Officer at Athleta, more than 50% of Athleta’s sales come from people participating in its loyalty program; members spend 200% more than non-loyal customers. 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.

“Having more people in our rewards programs, experiencing Obe and driving more loyalty and engagement, and spreading [awareness of the brand via] word-of-mouth is a key part of how we’re going to grow the business,” Waldmann said.

Obé declined to comment on its current membership numbers or revenue growth. According to previous reports from Glossy, Obé saw its membership increase by 80% month-over-month between March 2020 and May 2020, due to the coronavirus keeping people at home. This stabilized at 30% month-over-month growth from May 2020 to October 2020. According to Bloomberg, the latest funding round valued Obé at $190 million.

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 working out. Previously, popular brands like Outside Voices have faced their fair share of misfortunes, often due to mismanagement and controversy. Meanwhile, Peloton the stock fell from an all-time high of $167 in January 2021 to $44 currently. Fitness mirror company Mirror was notably acquired for $500 million by Lululemon in June 2020. In September, Mirror’s CEO resigned as did Wall Street analysts pushed for more transparency around its commercial performance. Mullett said one of Obé’s unique strengths is its plethora of smaller content, like 10-minute videos, that are more realistic to people than they actually need, want and do.

Ashley Mills, co-founder and co-CEO of Obé, said that Athleta and Obé will strengthen their product and brand collaborations throughout 2022. When announcing its latest funding round, Obé said that ‘She would use some of the funding to add classes beyond her core cardio, strength and yoga offerings. He added workouts requiring heavier equipment in November and cycling in September. Mullett said there will also be more in-person events and retail product launches with Athleta. The latter will include styles with creative use of the logo and more colors.

“The idea of ​​being able to access Obé everywhere was one of the main reasons why we were delighted to have this strategic partnership. Their values ​​of democratizing the premium fitness experience aligned with [Athleta’s] around community and inclusivity,” Waldmann said.