Activewear unicorn Vuori heads to Australia following a $400 million raise

US-based activewear unicorn Vuori has outlined plans to enter the Australian market in its first international venture.

US-based activewear unicorn Vuori is entering the Australian market. Image: supplied by Vuori.

US-based activewear unicorn Vuori has outlined plans to enter the Australian market in its first international venture, following significant growth and a $4 billion valuation last year. 

The direct to consumer activewear brand, which attained unicorn status late last year, announced on Thursday it will expand sales across several countries including the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, and Canada.

Shoppers will be able to browse Vuori’s collection of men’s and women’s apparel at their country’s respective web addresses.

Founded in 2015 in California, the company manufactures activewear that can transition seamlessly from the gym, Pilates studio, or hiking trail to other contexts.

The rebrand of sportswear as a lifestyle product has helped drive the company’s growth — as has its focus on menswear in a market geared toward women. 

Inspired by the “active coastal California lifestyle” the brand’s success has also come from its hybrid online and bricks and mortar strategy. Vuori being sold in US department stores like Nordstrom alongside e-commerce from its early days has been tipped as a key factor in its path to profitability.

“A lot of DTC brands have this aversion to wholesale,” Kudla has claimed.

“We were really specific in the early days about not selling to everybody, but [selling to] very strategically placed wholesale [partners] that would complement our efforts online.”

The company also has strong sustainability credentials. It has partnerships with organisations such as Climate Neutral and CleanHub to offset its carbon and plastic footprints and is taking steps to eliminate 80% of plastics from its shipping and supply chain this year.

Vuori has been profitable since 2017 and in October last year raised $400 million from Japanese mega-investor SoftBank’s Vision Fund to attain a $4 billion valuation.

Besides e-commerce, Vuori products are also sold through wholesale partners including Selfridges, Brown Thomas, Cotswold Outdoor, Barry’s Bootcamp and Bever.

While e-commerce has exploded since the start of the pandemic, not all direct-to-consumer retailers have been buoyed by the growth of online sales. Former US success stories Allbirds and Warby Parker have posted losses in recent years.

Vuori said it is working to increase its product offering, invest in infrastructure and people while opening a UK distribution hub, and an innovation centre in Taiwan.

A London flagship store on the cards this year.

“We are proud to announce Vuori’s first-ever expansion outside of the US,” Joe Kudla, founder and CEO at Vuori said in a statement.

“We are infinitely grateful for our team, who has helped bring this shared vision to life, and are thrilled to bring Vuori’s new perspective on performance apparel to these markets.

 “2022 is going to be Vuori’s biggest year yet, and we look forward to sharing much more in the weeks and months ahead.”

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