Women Triathletes Bring Big Business For Retailers

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Women now make up 37% of the membership ranks of USA Triathlon, and retailers have geared up to meet their needs.

Triathletes and next-door neighbors Stephanie Swanson and Kebby Holden used to hate shopping for racing clothes. Too often they could only find smaller versions of men’s clothing that might be dressed up with a dash of bright color.

“Typically, for a lot of the industry, it’s ‘pink it and shrink it,’ ” Swanson said.

Last year, the women decided to launch their own business, Soas Racing, to design and manufacture athletic tops and shorts for the growing number of women participating in triathlons, races that consist of swimming, cycling and running.

The San Diego’s company’s first order for 600 pieces, which featured flared tank tops and running shorts with elastic-free waist bands, sold out in January. The second order was twice as big and a third order for 2,000 pieces is being manufactured. So far, no pink.

A major line expansion is underway for fall. It will add swimsuits, cycling jerseys and arm warmers to the line, all designed to mix and match.

“We are discovering women really like it when they can have a complete look,” Holden said.

The number of women members in USA Triathlon — a group that sanctions triathlon meets — climbed 168% to 50,424 in the five years that ended June 2010. Overall, membership grew 128%.

Read More: Los Angeles Times

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