By  on May 3, 2007

After decades of making other companies' activewear, Los Angeles-based manufacturer A4 is introducing its own line.

The A4 women's, men's and children's collections, which include T-shirts and sports shorts in technical fabrics, hit the market this week.

Wholesaling from $6 to $18, the line targets better sporting goods stores, specialty retailers and department stores, though no retail partners have been confirmed. The collection also is available at at retail prices from $12 to $35.

"Our mantra is pushing the limit, and we push the limit on price," said Mark Mertens, chief executive officer of A4. "We don't have any endorsers, but we have six million garments on athletes wearing our uniforms on-field."

Until about three years ago, the privately held firm made licensed products for brands including Converse, Hang Ten and Wilson, but then it switched to making sports team uniforms for schools, clubs and universities. Today, the 37-year-old manufacturer does about $35 million in wholesale volume, and Mertens projects the A4 line will do more than $10 million its first season and "go past $100 million very quickly," based on its price point and the company's ability to ship the same day retailers place orders.

"A4 is an extension of the on-field goods," said Mertens. "It uses our authentic roots."

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