Half of US market falls under petite category
Spitfire Petite is a high-end activewear brand proportioned to fit and flatter petite women. Founded in 2016, Spitfire Petite apparels are manufactured in New York City's garment district and are light-weight, breathable, wrinkle-resistant, dry-quick and UV-resistant. The line is designed to balance style with performance and can be worn on the golf course, in the court, at the gym and even to work, brunches or movies. Founder Amy Lipton briefs about the petitewear market in the United States and plans to expand the brand's retail presence online and offline.
When did you start Spitfire Petite? What initial seed capital you began with? Why did you decide to get into activewear?
Spitfire Petite was founded in 2016 and launched the Amy Sport brand of sportswear in January 2017 with initial seed capital from a round of friends and family funding.
Women are leading healthier lifestyles and dressing to fit their on-the-go choices. The company was launched after identifying a gap in the market for petite sized women's clothing (defined as fitting up to 5'6" tall) to address the high-growth active and athleisure wear segments.
What percentage of the population in the US falls under petite? Are there enough brands catering to the needs of this group?
The average height of an adult female in the United States is 5'4", so roughly half of the market falls under the petite category. No other brand is focused on creating sportswear for this group.
Who are the major investors in Spitfire?
We recently received a capital injection from Patti Meier Grundhofer, founder of MeierGroup LLC, who also joined the company as executive vice president of business development.
Please share a few details about your retail presence online and offline.
We are growing our presence online and in pro-shops and boutiques across the United States.
Which are your major markets in the United States and abroad?
In the United States, our primary markets are California, Florida and Arizona. We are also expanding our reach across the North East, southern Atlantic coast and the Mid-West.
Which are your best-selling products? Which price-points sell the best?
Which are your best-selling products? Which price-points sell the best?We have a variety of thoughtfully-designed casual dresses, tops and skirts that are versatile enough to wear on the golf course, out to lunch or dinner and even to the office. Each season we add exclusive new prints and colourways that tell the story of our brand and empower women to look, feel and be their best.
How big is the design team? How many collections do you make in a year? How many styles in each collection?
Our design team brings years of experience in golf and women's designer apparel. We currently produce three collections per year and will be increasing more frequent drops of women's petite fashion golf and sportwear apparel to our growing customer base.
Did you have any background in clothes manufacturing before launching your company? How did you put your idea into action of starting a clothes brand for petite women?
I am a former marketing executive from the tech world. I have been a C-level and senior global marketing executive for more than a decade, focusing on media, entertainment, digital media, software and e-commerce. I have had a diverse experience delivering marketing and brand strategies for IBM, WMS, a mid-market gaming company and a venture capital-backed start-up, that resulted in growth to multi-billion-dollar levels. I am also board member and communications chair of Fashion Group International Greater Palm Springs.
I was able to draw from my experience starting up these businesses at IBM and other technology groups and, really, just having a keen understanding of what women like myself want.
Additionally, I was very lucky to attract a board of trusted advisors with extensive experience in the apparel manufacturing industry as well as a designer with meaningful garment industry connections. We are fortunate to have such an amazing team.
How big is your team right now?
Our focused team ranges from skills in apparel design, graphic design and marketing, manufacturing, sales, business development and finance.
Would you be producing other varieties of clothes for petite women in future?
Our clothing is designed to be worn on the golf course, out for cocktails and crosses over to be versatile enough to wear to work. Our plan is to continue to offer fashionable and functional clothing that fits every lifestyle.
How do you improvise your clothes based on customer feedback? Is there any research and development (R&D) work related to that you are engaged in?
Everything is crafted from exquisite modern performance fabrics making them comfortable, durable, functional and easy to care for as well as fashionable and perfectly proportioned. We are always looking at new technologies to make our clothes more functional and constantly tweaking to make improvements on fit based on customer feedback.
The line is meticulously designed to fit and flatter petite frames in all aspects of the integrity of the fit. The arm hole opening, the pocket placement, where the knee breaks, the rise, the length of the sleeve, the neckline and even the undergarments to provide a more customised fit.
Where are your products manufactured? If in-house, please share details about production capacities.
All of our clothes are made with love using high-quality construction in the United States. Our modern performance fabrics are primarily sourced from Italy, Japan and within the United States.
What has been your fiscal growth in the last two years? What is the target set for the next two?
We are growing the business and expanding into new geographic markets and plan to continue that over the next few years.
Do you plan to add more products in your current basket? What are your future plans?
We will continue in the petites segment with our focus on fashionable performance fabrications across a range of sportswear and adding new silhouettes and print stories to the line. (HO)