How Fabletics Is Changing The Fitness Industry


It takes a certain kind of person to create a successful brand. Sure, they’ve got to have a badass work ethic, the will to overcome serious roadblocks, and, well, enough money in the bank. But there’s way more to it — as Kate Hudson knows. In 2013, the actress, author, mom, and workout fanatic launched Fabletics, a fitness-wear brand built on a flexible membership model, after years of looking for the right project. “I’ve always wanted to do something in the fashion world, but it’s really important to me that everything I do is meaningful and makes a positive impact,” she tells us. So when Hudson and her partners saw a gaping void in the athletic space for affordable yet on-trend workout wear, they went for it.
Now boasting over a million members, the three-year-old lifestyle brand not only allows its community to shop from hundreds of new styles every month (we’re talking everything from strappy sports bras to sweatshirt dresses), but it’s also gearing up to launch online workout classes, retreats, and exclusive wellness content that will inspire women to feel empowered and get active. So as January gets underway — and it becomes almost impossible to go more than five minutes without having to hear about someone’s New Year’s resolutions to wake up early and work out — we found it only fitting to tap the multifaceted fitness enthusiast for some sound advice. Ahead, the truth about transitioning from showbiz to businesswoman, and how to really make your 2017 vows stick, from Hudson herself.
Surely you’ve been approached about business opportunities for years. What drew you to fitness wear? 
“I wanted women to get excited about being active, and one way to do that is to make it easy, fun, and affordable. We wanted to create a model that would allow us to have quality that’s comparable to (or better than) other brands but that’s also accessible so that it can reach more women. I also felt strongly that it should be inclusive so that women of any size, shape, age, or ability could feel great in the clothes. The whole endeavor was just as much about wanting to inspire women to be healthier as it was about wanting to create a successful brand.”
Starting a company is no easy feat. What’s been the most rewarding part of the process?
“I mean, having people come up to me and say that they started getting active again (or started getting active, period) because of Fabletics is such a wonderful thing. Even just seeing the photos that our members post on social media is inspiring and makes me want to do a better job each day.”
Speaking of members, how did you land on a no-cost, flexible membership model for Fabletics? Do you feel like it’s working?
“Honestly, at first I wasn’t so sure about the idea, but the reality is that our membership allows us to offer so many amazing perks to our members. We get to know each member, what works best for them, and what their style preferences are. That way, we can make personalized style suggestions based on their taste, eliminating excess inventory and allowing us to offer the pieces at really incredible prices.”
Looking back on the past three years, what has been the biggest learning from? Was there anything about the process that surprised you?
“I think what surprised me, and what ended up being my biggest learning, was how insanely fast we became successful. But when you grow that fast, you have to catch up to your success and figure out how to sustain it — and continue to grow. When you’re moving so fast, you don’t have time to reflect on your success, and upon reflection it’s so exciting because it just inspires everyone to keep doing their best work.”
Everyone thinks success comes easy for celebs that start a side business. Is there any truth to that?
“Being a public figure definitely opens doors, but everything you do is also scrutinized like crazy. It can be really daunting to put yourself out there when you know that a lot of people are watching. When you launch a business and especially when it grows so fast, there are bumps in the road, things that you wish you’d done differently; when you’re a celebrity, every mistake is magnified, which is a challenge.”
What’s your secret to balancing a multihyphenate career?
“I wear a lot of hats, so no two days are ever the same. The most important thing for me is structure, so I know where to focus my energy for that day or hour or minute. With Fabletics, I’m very involved with the design process, and we have this amazing design team of 15 people who pay so much attention to every single thing. We work closely to ensure that we’re creating the best product out there.”
What’s most important to you when it comes to getting dressed for a sweat session? And how does this carry over into your Fabletics designs?
“I need to feel comfortable. And that means different things for different people, but personally I like to feel supported and like I can move easily. Obviously, style is a priority for me, too. So I tend to choose pieces that feel unique and stand out a little. At the moment, I really love our Lisette High-Waisted Leggings. I wear them to work out, when I’m running around with my kids, or out shopping. I gravitate towards bright colors and prints a lot, which is why we feature all-new color palettes and prints every month.”
When it comes to fitness, what’s your philosophy? Do you work out every day?
“My philosophy for fitness — and nutrition actually — is to listen to your body. There’s nothing more important. Generally, I do some form of exercise every day; I just don’t feel right if I haven’t been moving. My go-to workout definitely changes depending on what I feel like my body needs — from Pilates to high-performance to rock climbing to cardio. The one workout I never tire of is dancing, so if all else fails, I’ll just crank up the volume and get moving that way.”
New Year’s resolutions are rarely kept. What are your tips for starting 2017 strong — and making it last?
“Set realistic expectations. It’s so easy to go full-force at the start of the year, exhaust yourself, and give up. Instead, take it slow and ramp up as your strength and endurance improve. Also, make sure you find an activity that you love and look forward to. If you hate the gym, don’t go to the gym — take a hip-hop class, go swimming, join a soccer team. Anything that gets you excited and gets you moving.”