In this episode of the SLN Podcast, Laurenn Cutshaw speaks with Joe Kudla, Founder, and CEO of Vuori, a performance apparel brand with a nontraditional approach to activewear. Vuori is inspired by the Southern California lifestyle, aiming to make great products to help people live extraordinary lives. Joe and his team value the relationship with their consumers as much as the relationship we have with the planet.


Podcast Highlights

2:55 – Not being performance-driven: “We’re actually not trying to get so performance-driven with it. We’re looking at it more from a holistic standpoint and saying, are we adding value to our customer’s lives?”

4:16 – Vuori Active Club: “We launched the Vuori Active Club online and during the pandemic, we were one of the first brands to start doing this. It felt like everybody quickly followed.”

8:50 Building a culture: “We’ve built a culture where we have talented people, all swimming in the same direction. They’re aligned by a common goal and it allows you to build momentum and overcome obstacles.”

9:14 – Performance apparel category: “We believe that the performance apparel category is going to experience very dynamic growth over the next several years.”

10:31 – COVID exposes the importance of well-being: “COVID has exposed anything that people should really be investing in their wellbeing. They should be getting out, they should be moving. They should be thinking about what they’re eating, because there have been correlations between those kinds of high-risk populations and things like heart disease and diabetes.”

13:18 – All in on a digital strategy: “We made a big pivot. We took all the money that we had left and we knew that it was either going to run out of money slowly and have a really hard time.”

15:14 – Vuori’s versatility: “We launched the business with a focus on men’s yoga cause we thought that there was a really unique open space in the market there. And there really was. But when we started talking to our customers, we learned quickly that, you know, they were running in the product, they were lifting weights and going to the gym in our product.”

18:53 – Staffing during COVID: “We did not want to lay off anybody. If anything, we wanted to look at how we could come out of this stronger on the other end. And so we put programs in place to keep our retail team fully staffed and invest in training and redeployment across the business.”

20:56 – Cultivating good teams: “At the end of the day, the most important thing that we do as leaders in business is hire and cultivate great teams.”

24:35 – Vuori’s brand inspiration: “We’re from Encinitas, you know, it’s a very aspirational, incredible town. Home to probably more professional board sport fleets and endurance athletes than really anywhere else in the US.”

27:13 – Is experience a prerequisite for success?: “I don’t think experience is a prerequisite to success. I really do not believe that. I think a lot of times it can limit us and create limiting beliefs around kind of the vast incredible amount of information.”

29:10 – Other brands that have inspired Vuori: “I would have to say Patagonia rises to the top of the list solely for just how they have built a brand rooted in a value system. Then I have to take my hat off to Lululemon because they created this category that we play in.”

32:07 – Bringing South California culture out East: “I think that’s what makes the brand powerful in a way is sharing that lifestyle and making it accessible to people of all different walks of life.”

37:18 – Vuori going Carbon Neutral: “We’re very excited about our initiatives around sustainability. We just went carbon neutral. So for the fiscal 2019 year, we offset 100% of our carbon emissions, which is something we’re really proud of. We have an initiative to be 80% recycled and organic materials used across our entire product line by 2022.”