On the quest for fashionable comfort, sometimes the buck stops with what’s closest to your skin. This is especially true for athletes and those who are always on the go.
That’s why Élevé Technical Innerwear founder, Amy Jo Miller, started her company. As a former professional dancer, Miller sought the perfect all-day companion to her yoga pants.
“I didn’t want to have to plan my day around when and where I was going to change in order to stay comfortable and in style”, says Miller. “It can be a real problem for me.” And she’s not alone. In fact, surveys suggest more than 91 percent of women say that they are unsatisfied with their existing athletic underwear.
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As a graduate of UW-Stevens Point in business management and international business, Miller saw an opening in the market for an innovative product.
Producing her own line of clothing is just an extension of her childhood, as Miller’s mother and grandmother were passionate about sewing and taught her the craft at a young age. When the idea of creating new athletic underwear came to her, she realized quickly that her skills as a seamstress would help her towards this idea coming to fruition.
“Creating something from nothing is extremely gratifying for me,” Miller said.
Miller, an active yogi, or someone who does yoga on a regular basis, decided to do some of her own market research. She bought as many of the other options on the women’s athletic underwear market as she could find, and reviewed them herself. Something that stood out to Miller was that many of these companies launched their products through Kickstarter campaigns where supporters’ donations far exceeded the goals, giving her hope for starting her business.
Miller’s own reviews of current products in conjunction with her utilizing Madison’s Sector 67, she has developed an undergarment that is both technical and functional in body movement, featuring a non- slip and non-bunching design.
After the initial designs were created, Miller sought to incorporate high-tech heat bonding into the product, requiring its production to shift to a larger scaled factory.
The first fully functional prototype or “golden sample” is very close to being finished and Miller looks forward to the possibility of producing a beta version and getting consumer feedback from a small sample of dedicated supporters. She has received her first pair, and has already given it a positive review, remarking “they’re pretty awesome. I’ve been wearing them every day, and washing them every night.”
Miller plans to sell Élevé Technical Innerwear products mainly through eCommerce channels, but does have hopes to branch out into in-store purchasing. She hopes to gain a large following through sales this summer at Wanderlust Festivals, where yogis flock for a celebration of yoga in conjunction with musical performances. These festivals have a concentrated number of the company’s target market.
The company is a finalist in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which will conclude June 2-3 at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison.
— By Sedate Kohler, for WisBusiness.com . Kohler graduated UW-Madison this spring with degrees in biology and life sciences communication.