Small Business Spotlight: Heidi Hat Yoga Wear

Haute couture–inspired yoga wear
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The U.S. economy still may be in rough shape, but many small businesses are thriving, including Aspen, Colo.’s Heidi Hat, a cold-weather-hat- and yoga-wear company run by mother-daughter team Heidi and Kelly Wade.

What started as a hobby for the Wades has grown into a steadily growing business based in Aspen. About a decade ago, they designed and created a pillbox hat when they saw the need for more fashionable head-warmers on Aspen’s slopes. Both women have “always been artistic and creative and into fashion,” said Kelly. “Our line is inspired both by haute couture and runway looks, and living in a mountain town with an outdoorsy atmosphere. We tried to combine those and create our own look — bridge the gap between the Prada people and the Patagonia people.”

Business picked up when Gorsuch, a Colo.-based high-end ski-wear company, picked up Heidi Hat and started selling its hats and other accessories, like printed headbands. When the Wades noticed a scarcity in fashionable hot yoga apparel, they created their “hot shorts,” which now rank among the company’s best sellers. Kelly, a certified yoga instructor, said the company has “grown organically. It started as a hat collection and has grown into a full athletic-inspired collection.”

The Wades contract a few people like seamstresses, but for the most part, it’s just them. In 2012, they found a showroom space in downtown Aspen where they’ve been able to display their pieces year-round. Their business is split almost evenly among wholesale, retail, and e-commerce. Their biggest challenges have come from trying to keep their business growth as natural as possible. “We don’t have investors, and we haven’t taken out loans,” Kelly said. “More business-savvy people have told us to take more risks in order to grow; we’ve had to find the balance between taking risks and doing what makes sense for us.” They have contracts with about 50 stores and studios around the world, from California to Maryland to Thailand. Their fabric comes from New York, and Kelly makes biannual trips to the city to gather inspiration from the fashion industry and meet with the supplier.

Though they aren’t big risk-takers, the Wades believe in staying true to their mission. Their pieces are manufactured in the U.S., and though their prices might seem high ($76 for a pair of hot shorts, $64 for a beanie), they’re determined to stay local. They also align with 1% of the Planet, a non-profit focused on making positive environmental change. “We could manufacture in China and make our clothes cheaper, but that’s not what’s important to us,” Kelly said. “Obviously, everyone wants to make a profit, but we really want to stick true to what our brand represents and what we believe in.”

Staying local can be a challenge for small business, but the Wades say it’s worth it. “We have a really loyal fan base that supports and loves what we do,” Kelly said. “They understand our price points. It’s rewarding to get emails back from people who have worn our clothes and love our stuff. It’s fun to connect with our fans.”

Related

Prana Patterned Tights

Bold and Bright: Trends in Yoga Wear

Vibrant, eye-catching patterns are making a splash in the spring and fall 2014 lines of yoga apparel. Traditionally appearing mostly in yoga tops, these bold prints are working their way into full-length leggings, capris and knickers. “Printed and patterned leggings are a huge ...read more

M1THRO114_BLUEASH

Ramping up: Men’s yoga wear growing exponentially

Prana has long been known for its colorful patterns, durable yoga and climbing wear, and sustainable mindset. Now, more focus is shifting to the men’s yoga department. “The men’s line is growing at a faster rate than the women’s,” said Rhonda Michaels, senior merchandiser ...read more

Studio spotlight: Yo Mama Yoga and Family Center

Twelve years ago, when yoga teacher Katie Wise did a private lesson in her pregnant friend’s backyard, she found her calling. “It was just magical,” she said. “I had been teaching regular yoga for a while, and I just felt like there was this extra level of miracle going on that ...read more

Athlete spotlight: Yoga key to ultrarunner Rory Bosio’s routine

Long-distance runner Rory Bosio has been hitting the trails since she was 11, and she loves the simplicity of the sport. “No fancy gear needed,” she said. “You can do it pretty much anywhere.” She likens this mindset to yoga, which she practices daily to supplement her running ...read more

More yoga, less sugar: Study finds yoga helps prevent Type 2 diabetes

Here’s another reason to get your butt and matt to yoga class. It’s a well-known fact that aerobic activity, like jogging and swimming, can decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes (T2D), but what about conditioning and stretching exercises like yoga? A new study published January 15 ...read more

Yoga Bowl: Super Bowl contenders Seahawks stay limber and calm with yoga, meditation

Unless you live under your mat, you’ve probably heard that the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos are headed to Super Bowl XLVIII at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. So what’s contributed to their success? Forget the legendary Peyton Manning for a second — the Seahawks ...read more

Attracting students and customers: The benefits of holding yoga classes inside retail space

Yoga classes can be found in more than just studio space these days: they’re held in parks, beaches and even retail stores. Lululemon Athletica is well known for its in-store yoga classes across North America. It started in Kitsilano, Vancouver, B.C., where the brand’s first ...read more

Attracting students and customers: The benefits of holding yoga classes inside retail space

Yoga classes can be found in more than just studio space these days: they’re held in parks, beaches and even retail stores. Lululemon Athletica is well known for its in-store yoga classes across North America. It started in Kitsilano, Vancouver, B.C., where the brand’s first ...read more

nftw-chicago-image

Mile High Yogis: Airports following wellness trend, opening yoga studios

This is good news to stressed travelers, and as the fifth busiest airport in the world, millions of fliers will be able to stretch out, meditate and breathe in a quiet space. The free yoga room offers mats and disinfectant wipes, bamboo flooring and floor-to-ceiling mirrors on ...read more