Comfortable, quality and affordable aren’t words that can often mesh together seamlessly in clothing. But, when local men’s and women’s lifestyle fashion label Sportiqe is included in the conversation, it makes sense why their successful label not only has those attributes, but is a favorite of Arizonans, Arizona businesses, worldwide brands, celebrities and professional athletes.
The Tempe-based label was established in 2006 by Matt Altman, Sportiqe’s co-founder and CEO and Jason Franklin, co-founder and principal of Sportiqe. The brand is known for its elevated basics designed using premium fabrics with a superior fit. Their best sellers include the men’s Classic Comfy Tee with a tri-blend jersey fabric available in a variety of colors; the Olsen Hoodie with tri-blend fleece; while women’s include the Janie Tank and Dundee Sweatpants. Sportiqe also has graphic tees, long sleeve t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and accessories.
Sportiqe recently launched their menswear Chino Collection which includes the Tyler Chino Pant and the Zack Chino Jogger that are inspired by Sportiqe’s most-loved fleece joggers with the same level of comfort, yet in a smart-casual trouser that is ready for any occasion.
Altman, who is an Arizona native, graduated from the University of Arizona and began working with the Phoenix Suns as director of merchandise out of school, and had the same role with the Arizona Diamondbacks for 12 years.
“When Jason and I met, we began talking about starting Sportiqe and our business, and we felt Phoenix was an advantageous place for us to start it,” Altman said.
A longtime celebrity and pro-athlete favorite, the brand has outfitted more than four million people around the globe since its inception in 2006, partnering with some of the most recognizable brands in the world such as the NBA, Peloton, Nintendo, Warner Bros, Live Nation and Dave Matthews Band.
“From day one we set out to create apparel that was high-end quality and premium fabrics and elevated basics and what we’ve kind of called creating modern American comfort wear, so that has always been at the core,” Altman said. “We’ve evolved in staying on trend with fabrics and graphics and creating a niche in what we call the destination retail market and serving professional sports teams, resorts, corporate retail, music, entertainment and hospitality environments.”
Part of their strategy to grow the business has been targeting destinations locals and visitors go in the state. “We asked ourselves where the must-go places are in Arizona,” Franklin said. “Where are people going in Arizona where they want to take something from that place to say they were there and had a great time? They want to have a great quality, comfortable, fashionable garment that they can have forever in their closet.”
So Franklin and Altman made a list of those potential destinations and have been bringing on those clients into the Sportiqe family that include AZ Snowbowl, the MIM (Musical Instrument Museum), Hotel Valley Ho, Little Miss BBQ, Matt’s Big Breakfast, Four Peaks and the Phoenix Suns.
Altman said prior to launching the Chino Pant, Sportiqe started creating bottoms, shorts and sweatpants about three years ago and those products have grown in popularity, which have helped grow the business in an organic way and is an evolution in a sense going from tops to bottoms Altman said.
“As we continued to grow the destination B2B business and our direct to consumer business, we wanted to provide a more elevated chino that delivers the same quality in terms of comfort and fit and styling,” Altman said. “It really elevated our sweatpant option to something that can be more dressed up in a work or going out environment etc., and so we like to have in our collection a good, better, best—and we feel this chino jogger and chino pant fall into that best category for the brand.”
The big differentiator between the chino collection’s pant and jogger and Sportiqe’s other pants is the comfortable waistband, Franklin and Altman said.
“A lot of our fans of the brand were asking, ‘Can you create a pant that I can wear not only at home but to work as well and be super comfortable?’ So that waistband and these joggers and the chinos are the pieces that will allow them to have that comfort that they feel at home and be able to have that same comfort at work,” Franklin said.
“The fabric feels good to the touch and the pants have a bit of elasticity in the fabric for a combination of cotton and spandex to provide better stretch for ease of movement. The chino pant and jogger waistbands are forgiving and comfortable around your waist,” Altman said.
Part of their success has stemmed from the brand being a favorite of celebrities and professional athletes. “We’ve been very lucky I think to organically grow our fanbase, I think with a lot of help from some of the celebrity and athlete friends of the brand that are out and about wearing our products. I think that when our clients see people that they look up to wearing our brand I think that helps them be more comfortable with Sportiqe,” Franklin said.
“In addition, we work with some of the largest brands in the world on our B2B side and I think a lot of people have our products, sometimes they don’t even realize they have our product,” Franklin said. “Whether it’s from Madison Square Garden or the Grand Ole Opry, and it’s their favorite piece, and I think once they look in their closet and start realizing, ‘This t-shirt I got at Little Miss BBQ’s is my favorite t-shirt and then they look up it’s Sportiqe, then they gravitate towards the brand. Once people find a product that they really like, we found they want to have multiple colors and styles from that brand…and then one person tells another, so a lot of organic growth has helped grow the popularity of our brand.”
Sportiqe will be releasing a new B2B French terry collection for Spring 2020, and a new seasonal collection for fall 2020 that will be released to their buyers on Jan. 1, 2020.
The fall collection will include unique nylon pieces that Sportiqe hasn’t done before, which Altman and Franklin said is the next evolution for the brand to play with other trending fabrics that they can bring Sportiqe’s signature comfort and style to.