March 25, 2023

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Les Poulettes Fitness rely on recycled nylon for their clothing

For Fitness Pullets, econyl is the Holy Grail. “Since our creation in 2017, we have been looking for an eco-responsible material. But with each of our attempts, we lost the second skin aspect of our feminine sportswear. It wasn’t breathable enough, sheathing enough and we couldn’t find that peach-skin touch. So we never went all the way,” says Roxane Sutet, co-founder of Poulettes Fitness with Amélie Rivoire. Until finding this material offered by Aquafil, an Italian company specializing in nylon.

Econyl is a recycled nylon fiber made mainly from plastic waste collected at sea, old fishing nets or bottles for example. Its elasticity and resistance make it an excellent alternative to classic synthetic materials used for swimsuits and sportswear.

Fund the prototypes

The young sportswear brand from Lyon had preferred to launch with a technical lycra, while waiting to find the right material to launch eco-responsible ranges. “Since our beginnings, we wanted to break the codes of women’s sportswear with clothes for all women and all body types, but also with eco-responsible outfits and local production. Failing to find the right material right away, we launched production in Cholet, France,” continues Roxane Sutet.

This compromise at the start allowed Les Poulettes Fitness to be known while continuing to seek more sustainable alternatives. “We didn’t want to wait to have the ideal product to launch ourselves, because we first needed to have customer feedback in order to develop our products. We launched a first crowdfunding on KissKissBankBank to start production, then opted for a pre-order system directly on our site. »

Without breaking the bank in communication and marketing, the brand has opted for a network of ambassadors. They are about 500 today.

The founding team continued to look for more durable materials and, thanks to the turnover of the first collections, was able to finance tests. As of 2019, the brand has made a profit of 38,000 euros. “It was not easy, because each time, we had to finance prototypes, sometimes pay entry fees, for many failures. At each attempt, it costs us between 300 and 1,000 euros. But we didn’t want to give up on this major development. Luckily, countries like Italy and Spain have made a lot of progress and by dint of searching, we finally found it. »

Roxane Sutet, co-founder of the textile brand Les Poulettes Fitness.

Extend the dealer network

Les Poulettes Fitness launched their first eco-responsible collection based on econyl in the fall of 2021. In total, 4,000 leggings, bras and tank tops were designed, which represents around 86 tonnes of recycled plastic waste. “Our recycled range already represents 80% of our total production and we are aiming for 100% recycled and organic cotton by the end of 2022”, advances Roxane Sutet.

Only drawback: econyl fabrics are not printable. So to offer printed clothing and not just plain, the Poulettes Fitness are working on a new fabric, also made from recycled plastic bottles. “It’s not complicated to find partners offering recycled fabrics, especially since there is real demand from consumers and, increasingly, from big brands. On the other hand, it is more difficult to pass the test successfully when the material is in motion. On this, we are very demanding. »

Since January 2022, Poulettes Fitness have been distributed in the 57 Galeries Lafayette stores, in addition to its classic retailers such as Le Vieux Campeur, stores specializing in sports and running, and yoga studios. It is also present on marketplaces and on its own merchant site, which accounts for 60% of sales. “But we would like to reverse the trend so that the share of our resellers increases from 40% to 60% of our sales,” says Roxane Sutet.