In the midst of the retail downturn, Bandier is doing something right. It launched in 2014 with a Southampton store that served as a kind of Barney’s for luxury activewear. It has quickly expanded to include a robust online presence, and four stores plus a flagship in New York City that double as a fitness studio and event space. The success of these stores comes, in part, from the fact that the brand thinks of them as community centers where people can gather and relax together, rather than just buy leggings. It also helps that Bandier offers plenty of exclusive products and does collaborations with unexpected designers, such as street artists.
A year ago, Bandier raised $4.5 million from Simon Ventures, but is already in the midst of closing another round of funding to continue growing. It hopes to put down roots in L.A. later this year and expand its e-commerce presence, which currently drives 45% of its total business.