Take a deep breath and get ready for another actress to enter the activewear space. Jessica Biel and yoga, fitness and wellness brand Gaiam have linked for a multiyear collaboration brokered by Sequential Brands Group, which acquired the brand in 2016.
It is the 25-year-old brand’s first-ever collaboration and will include the Jessica Biel Signature Collection by Gaiam, a capsule codesigned by the actress, which is expected to debut in stores in fall 2018. Gaiam’s first campaign with Biel is scheduled to launch in spring 2018.
“As soon as we started thinking about who would be the best ambassador for us, Jessica was at the top of our list,” said Karen Murray, chief executive officer of Sequential Brands Group. “She’s about as authentic as they come; she practices yoga every other day and she’s a wife, mother, actress and activist. She really wants to put her mark on the brand; this is more than a one-season blip.”
Said Biel, “Fitness and well-being have been a part of my life forever. I grew up outdoors playing soccer, and I was a gymnast, so this is who I really am.” As she’s gotten older, Biel said she’s had to forgo the high-impact flips and tucks of her gymnast days and adopt new routines.
“I started getting into yoga about 10 years ago through a close friend who was an instructor. At first I felt like, ‘I can’t do all those crazy poses,’ and I still can’t, but I’m not competing with anyone. I want to demystify yoga and bring it out to more women and men in the community, where it doesn’t have to be intimidating.”
Biel said the brand for her carries a trusted sense of familiarity in more ways than one; Gaiam was founded in Boulder, Colo., her hometown. “It’s the kind of company you can depend on for strong, affordable products, where you think, ‘Oh, I know this company and it feels personable to me.’”
Biel’s signature collection will feature an assortment of activewear and yoga accessories including capris, leggings, tops and jackets that she says will take inspiration from the runways. “We want to bring an elegance to ath-leisure and elevate it so that when you see the pieces, it looks familiar to what you see on the runways and you can think about wearing it out to dinner or to pick up your kids at school,” she said.
While the signature collection will be a higher price point, she said the goal is to “create something that looks out of your price range but quite pleasantly is not.”
“What’s great about Jessica is that she has a real sense of style and fashion, which we saw most recently at the Golden Globes,” said Murray. “She was interested in making sure women could look and feel their best from head to toe and making it accessible and a great value.”
Murray said the plan is to extend Gaiam apparel from its current mid-tier channels across all categories from good, better and best. “We’ve had interest from everyone and are deciding who our best partners will be, but there are plenty of diffusion opportunities and many exciting new growth opportunities under way for the brand, and by collaborating with Jessica those initiatives will be amplified in a much larger way.”
Gaiam’s distribution network consists of about 38,000 retail doors, 19,000 store-within-stores, 5,000 category management locations, e-commerce and a mobile platform, which features Yoga Studio, the leading paid yoga app for Apple, mobile and tablet devices with over 2 million downloads to date.
Biel hinted that future extensions could include home, body, skin care and supplements. “I say strike while the iron is hot. I took a handful of time off for the first year-and-a-half of my son’s life, and since then it’s been a lot of hard work in the trenches trying to find the right ideas and the right partnerships.”