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Activewear Brand Vuori Said To Be Mulling IPO

Activewear Brand Vuori Said To Be Mulling IPO

The Lululemon competitor has quickly gained market share in the premium activewear space, hitting a $4 billion valuation in 2021

Vuori, the California-based premium activewear brand, is in talks with investment bankers for a potential IPO in 2024, according to a report from Bloomberg News. The brand achieved a $4 billion valuation with a $400 million investment from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 in 2021. This was followed by a $45 million investment from Norwest Venture Partners in 2019. 

Vuori has been steadily operating under the radar and has been quietly rivaling Lululemon, its closest competitor in the premium activewear apparel space; however, its unicorn status and recent news of a potential IPO have drawn attention to the brand.

Vuori – Finnish for “mountain” – was launched in 2015 by Joe Kudla, who was inspired to create the brand after noticing a void in the market for a premium product that merged functional performance with a casual and effortless aesthetic. Vuori was inspired by the Southern California lifestyle – and integration of fitness, yoga, surf and life – with priorities on versatility, comfort and a modern fit.  

The Next Big Name in Activewear?

When Vuori launched, it carried only men’s apparel. The company started with shorts, but its “hero product” was its joggers, which retail for $98. Vuori prices are slightly lower but comparable to Lululemon; for example, its men’s joggers range from $98 to $128 while Lululemon’s men’s joggers range from $118 to $168. Vuori launched women’s apparel three years later with a performance jogger in 2018. While the company’s roots were in men’s apparel, the split in sales between men’s and women’s is fifty-fifty today. Vuori’s product catalog also includes accessories (socks, bags, headwear, and yoga accessories). 

credit: Vuori

Vuori is focused on sustainability through material innovation and eliminating plastics, which will be important to investors ahead of a potential IPO. The company has been a Climate Neutral Certified label since 2020, and in August 2023, Vuori introduced “BlissBlend,” a technical performance material that includes multidimensional stretch with a weightless feel; BlissBlend uses Lycra fiber technology made from 75 percent recycled materials. In January 2021, the company announced that it planned to eliminate 80% of plastics from its supply chain.

Selling to Gyms & Studios

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A brand differentiator for Vuori is its diversified distribution strategy. When the company launched, it sold its products to fitness studios as a customer acquisition strategy. The company still sells through wholesale channels and brand partners including Equinox and other fitness studios, as well as to Nordstrom and REI in the U.S. The brand is also available in the U.K. through wholesale partners including Barry’s, Cotswolds Outdoors, Harrods, Equinox and Selfridges, at Breuninger in Germany, and Tmall in China. Vuori also reaches customers in Singapore, Mexico, Hong Kong and the Middle East through its brand websites.

The company also has aggressive plans to expand its store footprint, with plans to open 100 locations in the U.S. by 2026; Vuroi also reported that expansion outside of the U.S. is a key strategy for furthering the brand’s growth and profitability. Vuori has 43 stores with nearly half of its store fleet located in California and in major cities including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Nashville, New York City and Seattle. The company has launched two stores internationally – most recently a popup in Shanghai this past summer and one in London’s Covent Garden in September 2022.  

An IPO would enable Vuori to expand its retail network and international presence.

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