Fabletics is a global activewear brand that sells both female and male clothing, footwear, and accessories.
The company, which is headquartered in El Segundo, California, was founded in 2013 by Adam Goldenberg, Don Ressler, and actress Kate Hudson.
Certainly, the fame and reach of its famous founder Hudson helped getting the company off the ground. However, Fabletics offers two other key distinctions.
First, it is priced substantially cheaper than other athleisure brands. This makes it more affordable for a wider array of customers. Second, its business has a recurring revenue stream through the membership plans it offers. This grants customers a variety of benefits, including selected discounts, free shipping and returns (for orders above $45.95), or access to its FIT app.
Fabletics, despite the fact that co-founder Hudson, in late 2021, announced that she would take a lesser role within the company continues to grow at a rapid pace. It, for example, expects to grow to over 100 physical storefronts by the end of 2022.
The brand is, furthermore, being followed by close to two million people on Instagram alone. This translates to roughly $500 million in annual sales that Fabletics generates.
The methodology with which competitors of Fabletics are ranked is based on a variety of data points. Information such as the revenue generated, the number of employees, valuation, Instagram followers (one of the main sales channels for DTC brands), and anything else that’s relevant is being considered.
To ensure comparability, we mostly take brands into account that offer both female and male athleisure clothing. Some of those brands, especially the larger ones, may furthermore offer other types of clothing and equipment. However, in some instances, single-category brands will also be included.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 12 competitors of Fabletics.
Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Founder(s): Chip Wilson Year Founded: 1998
Lululemon is probably the biggest rival to Fabletics when it comes to pure-play athleisure products. Chip Wilson started the business as a design studio by day while operating a yoga studio in the evenings. He eventually pivoted it towards clothing in November 2000.
The continuous growth culminated in the firm’s IPO in 2007, allowing it to raise $327 million in the process. Founder Wilson resigned from the business in 2013.
Today, Lululemon is valued at an eye-popping $48 billion and generated $6.3 billion for 2021.
Lululemon was even able to expand into new categories. In June 2020, it purchased MIRROR for $500 million to offer workout programs to its customers.
Its clothes are sold across 500 global stores. Furthermore, around 25,000 people are employed by Lululemon while four million people follow its brand on Instagram.
Interesting side note here: Wilson wanted Lululemon’s name to be more approachable for Japanese customers who had a tough time pronouncing Western names.
Source: Crunchbase, Instagram, Lululemon
Headquarters: Beaverton, Oregon, United States Founder(s): Philip Hampson Knight Year Founded: 1964
Nike is the world’s undisputed leader in sportswear. Apart from its own brand, it also owns a variety of other companies such as Jordan, Converse, Starter, and Umbro.
A whopping 210 million people follow the Nike brand on Instagram. The company operates more than 1,000 retail stores across the globe and employs more than 75,000 people.
In 2021, Nike, which doesn’t disclose athleisure sales, generated $44.5 billion (up 17 percent) in annual revenue. Its brand power is, furthermore, exemplified by the close to 45 percent margin it generates on every sale.
Headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Bayern, Germany Founder(s): Adolf “Adi” Dassler Year Founded: 1948
Adidas is the next company on this list that certainly doesn’t need any introduction. Throughout the decades, it has not only been synonymous with sportswear but fashion as well.
This is probably best exemplified by its Adidas Originals brand. More recent examples include its collaboration with rapper Kanye West to create the Yeezy brand. Adidas Originals itself has more than 34 million followers on Instagram, signaling the reach that brand alone has.
For the fiscal year 2021, Adidas, which employs over 55,000 people worldwide, managed to cross € 21.2 billion in revenue – an increase of 15 percent compared to the year prior.
Headquarters: Solihull, United Kingdom Founder(s): Ben Francis, Lewis Morgan Year Founded: 2012
Gymshark is the fashion brand that’s most synonymous with the rise of social media. It has made a name for itself by working together with (Instagram) influencers who would promote his gear in return for joining its prestigious Gymshark Athletes influencer program.
The company, in order to remain nimble and quickly react to new trends, has refrained from opening any physical retail locations. However, this is set to change in 2022 as Gymshark will open stores in selected and high-trafficked places.
Its online-only strategy has certainly paid dividends so far. In 2021, Gymshark generated £400 million (around $550 million) in revenue. The company, which has more than 5.6 million Instagram followers, employs over 1,000 people across its 55,000 square-foot campus in Solihull.
Source: CNBC, Instagram, LinkedIn
Headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Bayern, Germany Founder(s): Rudolf Dassler Year Founded: 1948
Puma was started by the brother of Adidas founder Adi Dassler after the two had a personal falling out (both were Nazi party members, with Rudolf widely being believed to be the more ‘passionate’ one).
Puma made a name for itself after sponsoring various football teams and becoming one of the leading brands in the sport for decades. Today, it sponsors world-class athletes such as Neymar or Lewis Hamilton and works together with stars like Selina Gomez or Dua Lipa.
In recent years, it has shifted its strategy towards athleisure clothing, releasing hundreds of different designs with a focus on fashion.
Puma, which has over 12 million Instagram followers, operates around 830 stores across the globe while employing over 15,000 people. Its current brand momentum led to a record-setting year. In 2021, Puma generated $7.7 billion in revenue (up from the $5.9 billion it made the prior year).
Headquarters: Petaluma, California, United States Founder(s): Scott Kerslake Year Founded: 1998
Athleta has managed to become one of the world’s leading athleisure brands despite only selling clothing for females. The company sells all types of clothing ranging from running to yoga.
Athleta was launched at a time when most athleisure clothing was tailored for men. Brands would take men’s apparel, shrink it, and sometimes change the color – a practice commonly referred to as “shrink it and pink it.”
Its founder Scott Kerslake, who was an avid cyclist, surfer, and worked in investment banking, saw this first hand when the women he cycled with had to put up with substandard gear. After raising $700,000 in seed funding, he aggressively grew the business, which he departed from in 2004, to millions in annual sales.
Athleta was ultimately sold to retail giant Gap Inc. for $150 million in 2008. It now employs close to 3,000 people and operates 200 stores across Canada and the United States. Gap Inc. projects that Athleta will sell over $2 billion worth of clothing by the end of the fiscal year 2023.
Source: Athleta, Crunchbase, Gap Inc. Investor Relations
7. Sweaty Betty
Headquarters: London, United Kingdom Founder(s): Simon Norton, Tamara Norton Year Founded: 1998
Sweaty Betty is another activewear brand coming out of the United Kingdom. It was founded by husband-and-wife duo Simon and Tamara Norton after the latter became frustrated with the lack of activewear options available to females.
They started out with a store in London’s Notting Hill district in which they sold both their own as well as other clothes. Over the coming years, Sweaty Betty expanded by opening new stores while its founders raked up Retailer of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
The founders, after raising some private equity money in 2015, ultimately decided to sell the business in August 2021. US-based Wolverine Worldwide paid £300 million to acquire the company.
Today, Sweaty Betty operates 60 stores across the world and employs over 700 people. Revenue-wise, the company generated £126.5 million in 2020, up from the £72.9 million it made the year prior.
Source: Crunchbase, Sweaty Betty
Headquarters: Encinitas, California, United States Founder(s): Joseph Kudla Year Founded: 2013
Vuori is another DTC highflyer that sells athleisure as well as other types of clothing inspired by the active Coastal California lifestyle.
The company lives and breathes sports. This is best exemplified by the free online classes that it offers on its Instagram every morning.
Investors also love what they’re seeing. They’ve poured a combined $445 million into Vuori, which is now set to expand into a handful of new markets and open over 100 new retail stores in the next few years.
Headquarters: Carlsbad, California, United States Founder(s): Beaver Theodosakis Year Founded: 1992
prAna started out designing clothing for outdoor enthusiasts but soon pivoted into other sports such as yoga. These days, it offers almost any type of fashion product imaginable.
Its outdoor focus, as well as continuous growth, led the company to be acquired by Columbia Sportswear for $190 million in 2014.
For the fiscal year 2021, prAna, which employs over 300 people, generated $142 million in revenue (slightly up from the $132 million it made in 2020).
Source: Columbia Sportswear, LinkedIn
10. Beyond Yoga
Headquarters: Los Angeles, California, United States Founder(s): Jodi Guber Brufsky, Michelle Wahler Year Founded: 2005
Beyond Yoga, as the name suggests, is an apparel manufacturer that specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of yoga-related clothing for both females and men.
The company, which is founder-led, was successfully sold to jeans maker Levi Strauss for $400 million in August 2021.
Levi, at the time of the acquisition, said that Beyond Yoga’s 80 employees and the brand itself will add another $100 million to its annual revenue.
Beyond Yoga currently sells the clothing through its own online store as well as by working together with other retailers and yoga studios. 370,000 people follow the brand on Instagram.
Source: Beyond Yoga, CNBC, Instagram
11. Outdoor Voices
Headquarters: Austin, Texas, United States Founder(s): Matt McIntyre, Tyler Haney Year Founded: 2013
One rather new entrant in this list is Outdoor Voices, which sells clothing that is primarily aimed at runners. Tyler Haney founded the company after completing a business program at the Parsons School of Design in New York.
In its early days, the company sold so-called rec kits, allowing trainees to pair compression tops and matching leggings. Much like Gymshark, it grew its following via Instagram and other social media platforms.
Outdoor Voices, which has racked up half a million followers on Instagram, went through a heavy restructuring process in 2020, which led to the departure of founder and CEO Haney (as well as the closure of a few stores).
Despite those issues, the company seems to be in a healthy state. It employs over 200 people, has raised $64.4 million in funding, and continues to operate 12 retail stores across the United States.
Source: Crunchbase, Instagram, LinkedIn, Outdoor Voices
Headquarters: London, England, United Kingdom Founder(s): Nick Robertson, Quentin Griffiths Year Founded: 2000
ASOS, short for “As Seen On Screen”, is an eCommerce website that sells over 850 brands – including its own clothing line.
Over the past years, its own brand has been expanded in favor of other clothing on its platform. Naturally, ASOS also boasts an extensive collection of both female and male athleisure fashion.
ASOS went public back in 2008 and is currently valued at around $2 billion. The company, which employs over 3,000 people, generated £3.9 billion in the fiscal year 2021 (at a healthy profit of £193 million).
Who Actually Owns Fabletics?
Fabletics is owned by TechStyle Fashion Group, which was founded back in 2010 by Adam Goldenberg and Don Ressler.
Its detailed ownership structure, given that both Fabletics and TechStyle remain in private ownership, is currently not being disclosed to the public.
Fabletics, however, contemplated going public in late 2021. The IPO was canceled for the time being due to unfavorable market conditions. Once Fabletics goes public, its ownership structure will be revealed during the filing process.
TechStyle itself operates a variety of other brands, often in cooperation with other celebrities. Examples include Savage X Fenty (by Rihanna) and ShoeDazzle (by Kim Kardashian).
It can be assumed that the celebrities that TechStyle works together with retain a significant stake in the companies they help get off the ground. As such, it is very likely that Hudson herself remains a major stakeholder in Fabletics.