A Bucks County native has teamed up with two college friends to bring Sweat Tailor – a modern take on sweatpants -- to Philadelphia, where the trio expects the city's well-known penchant for comfort will lead to success in sales.
“I don’t know if it is because we are such a sport-indulgent city,” said 34-year-old Adam Bolden, who grew up in Richboro, Pa. and consults the year-old company on apparel marketing. “Maybe it is because we all want to be like Rocky or maybe because we have so many colleges in the area.”
Bolden said Sweat Tailor's sweatpants will retail for around $98, pricier than the traditional version and other crossover products like PajamaJeans. But, he added, Sweat Tailor’s product distinguishes itself from other sweats with options for skinny or regular fit, belt loops, a true zipper fly, a reinvention of the fifth pocket – capable of holding a cell phone, and sizes based on waist and inseam measurements.
Aaron Hoffman, 32, who co-founded Sweat Tailor with 30-year-old Benjy Smith, explained, “We really went for all the features of a pair of jeans but in the comfort of sweatpants."
Hoffman estimated nearly 10 percent of the more than $45,000 raised through a Kickstarter campaign has come from the Greater Philadelphia region – a solid showing considering dollars have come from at least 15 states and 17 different countries.
More than 450 sweatpants in Sweat Tailor's three color choices, black, gray or olive, have already sold through the crowdfunding site, he added.
The interest, combined with Bolden’s homegrown knowledge and the purchasing habits of Philadelphians, has led Sweat Tailor to hone in on the area for its rollout in boutique retailers this fall.
“Twelve to 15 shops in the Philadelphia region have been targeted—heavier than other cities,” Bolden said. And the group is working to develop an Eagles tailgating event to market the product.
Considering locals’ style choices -- day-to-night wear that fits in at the office and after work at happy hour -- and the high concentration of college students, one local fashion expert expects Philly-area sales to be successful.
“This could be a staple item,” said Nioka Wyatt, a Philadelphia University professor in fashion merchandising and management. “It is a really innovative concept.”
She suggests attracting undergrads and young professionals, who are used to wearing jeans daily.
“They like to be comfortable,” she said. “So this is another versatile product that they can dress down and dress up.”
Men ages 18- to 35-years-old are Sweat Tailor’s primary target and interest from a specific segment within that age range -- golfers -- has been particularly strong, Hoffman said.
“We tried to highlight that you can dress these up or down," he said. "We’d love to see somebody wear these for a job interview."
Wyatt cautions that Sweat Tailor pants might work in some professions like construction management where one needs to be comfortable and presentable, but not all white-collar jobs. “You need to dress the part,” she said.
Despite the warning, the three men behind Sweat Tailor don't want to rule any locale out for the casual, yet stylish pants.
“From the bar to the board room," Hoffman said. "Our goal is to create an everyday and everywhere pant.”