Nusport’s Palm Beach store.

NEW YORK — Spas might be all about relaxing, but there is no reason they can’t involve just a little bit of shopping.<BR><BR>Enter Nusport, a brand of casual knitwear from Washington Depot, Conn.-based Plateau Designs, aimed specifically at...

NEW YORK — Spas might be all about relaxing, but there is no reason they can’t involve just a little bit of shopping.

Enter Nusport, a brand of casual knitwear from Washington Depot, Conn.-based Plateau Designs, aimed specifically at spas.

“We see spas as a lifestyle,” said Donald Polley, director of Plateau.

The Nusport target customer ranges from 35 to 54 years old and is affluent enough to go to spas, yet might still have to consider the money she spends.

“She’s got her white-on-white Audi convertible and the top down,” said Polley, describing the customer on the way to the spa.

With wholesale prices that average $35, however, the line should be within her budget.

Spas are also a convenient place to do business, said Jack Abelson, president.

“The customer base changes every three to seven days,” he said. “You do have a longevity that you would not get in other retail venues.”

The yoga and Pilates-friendly line has 25 core pieces and five fashion groups a year. Looks include terry-cloth shorts, a ribbed tank top and hooded tops in an array of spa-inspired colors such as loofah and lemongrass. Polley and his wife, Patricia, design the line.

Nusport launched in spring 2002 in Saks Fifth Avenue, but lacked the necessary funding.

“It takes a lot of money to keep up with these big stores,” Polley said.

With funding in place from a California-based firm, which Polley declined to name, Nusport is ready to expand beyond its 30 to 35 wholesale accounts and four freestanding stores, which are operated with partners.

Sales over the next 12 months are projected at $6 million and the firm has plans to build 60 stores over the next five years.

This story first appeared in the September 22, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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