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Helo - premier undershort made specifically for boardshorts
07
Apr '11
Two years after earning a marketing degree from Michigan State University, Jake Howison has found a niche market in athletic wear. Howison, a 2005 graduate of Midland High School in Midland, recently launched Helo LLC, a performance apparel company aimed at meeting the needs of specialty markets, such as boardshort undergarments.

“The idea came to me when I was wake-boarding with a group of friends, and the guys were talking about not having anything comfortable and fast-drying to wear under their boardshorts,” Howison said. “This was a great opportunity to introduce a solution that met athletic needs for performance – including durability, breathability and comfort – while also offering style and sustainability.”

Howison conducted market research and focus groups to verify demand for a new solution. He discovered that compression shorts are too tight, and other options are too loose and take too long to dry.

He formed Helo LLC, prepared a marketing plan and began a search for quick-drying materials and manufacturers on LinkedIn. Howison soon partnered with other U.S.-based companies, including a garment concept agency in St. Paul, Minn., a production facility in Los Angeles, a supplier in Rhode Island, and a third-party logistics company. All this took about a year.

Mike Chiesa, a fellow MSU graduate and native of Dearborn, Mich., joined Helo in January as vice president of sales. One of his first projects was helping Howison launch the company via their website and social media.

“Word-of- mouth advertising is one of most effective ways to introduce a new product and tell people about your company,” says Chiesa. “The social media campaign has allowed us to reach people around the world…as far away as Finland.”

The breathable, quick-drying undergarment was designed primarily for boardshorts, but they are practical for other sports activities, as well. They are made from an environmentally friendly blend of 79% recycled PET and 21% spandex for the main short, and an 81% nylon and 19% spandex breathable mesh inseam. PET is a popular plastic used in products like plastic bottles.

Helo LLC


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