When was the last time you managed to walk through a shopping centre, pick up a magazine or even surf the internet without seeing the latest flashy Ad campaign for the newest fitness get-up? The days of wearing an old pair of elasticated jogging bottoms and a big baggy T-shirt just for a wee jog around your local park are well and truly gone. Over the past few years the market leaders believe there is just no excuse for not looking good even when you are sweating!
The big sports brands likes of Addidas, Nike, Puma & Under Armour have all been leading the way with advancements in technology when it comes to the fitness & sport clothing industry. One brand releases their newest silicon infused compression top, while another produces a campaign on the latest design in running shoes. However, a brand name which has not been seen to follow as quickly into the fitness domain as its competitors is Reebok, well that was until now!
Reebok International LTD, is a subsidiary of the German company Adidas since 2005. It is a producer of athletic shoes, clothing and accessories. The name comes from the Afrikaans spelling of rhebok, a type of African antelope or gazelle. In 1890 in Holcombe Brook, a small village six miles north east of Bolton, Greater Manchester, Joseph William Foster was making a living producing regular running shoes when he came up with the idea to create a novelty spiked running shoe. After his ideas progressed he joined with his sons, and founded a shoe company named J.W. Foster and Sons in 1895.
In 1958, two of the founder’s grandsons Joe and Jeff Foster renamed the company Reebok in the United Kingdom, having found the name in a dictionary won in a race by Joe Foster as a boy; the dictionary was South African edition hence the spelling. The company lived up to the J.W. Foster legacy, manufacturing first-class footwear for customers throughout the UK. In 1979, Paul Fireman, a US sporting goods distributor, saw a pair of Reeboks at an international trade show and negotiated to sell them in North America and as they say, the rest is history!
To date Reebok’s brand value is worth $1,500,000,000. It has lost $500 million from 2010 as the company only have a 1.6% share of $2.4 billion USA basketball trainer mark wet which versus Nike’s 93% share. However the brand seems to be re-focusing its objectives with the launch of their 1st ever Fitness Hub here in the U.K. According to Reebok, the concept behind the new store in London’s Covent Garden is a combination of shopping along with your fitness lifestyle.
The store has been cleverly design like a gym environment: they have fixtures which replicate gym equipment such as agility rings, music specially selected for workouts, genuine gym flooring and functioning plyometric jump boxes as seating.
Apparel is merchandised in themes around the store in accordance to your specific type of workout (classic, training, running and studio), so it’s easy to find exactly what you need. The use of mannequins are not only eye catching in a urban way but are positioned to illustrate each sport, showing how the kit moves with your workout.
The staff are impressive, to say the least, with strong fitness backgrounds and qualifications ranging from personal trainers and nutritionists to sports scientists. They are passionate about helping you to find the right clothing for your workout, but can also help with training tips and general health advice while you shop, setting them apart from the usual sports store service.
The Reebok hub are also keen to give back something to the community and encourage Londoner’s to get active. So they are offering FREE workout classes in store throughout the week (Mon-Fri), as well as in-store fitness challenges and take away workout cards. The Reebok Community Board will also publicise local events, new workouts, local gyms and instructors etc.
What’s more, (and i do have it on good authority) Reebok have signed a 2 year partnership deal with multinational group fitness experts Les Mills International. This partnership will see the Reebok brand being worn by approximately 90,000 Les Mills instructors, in 15,000 gyms over 80 different countries with an estimated 6 million weekly participants. http://w3.lesmills.com
‘Reebok are on a mission to empower people to be fit for life,’ says Covent Garden store manager Parminder Turna. ‘The hub is a game changer. We want people to be comfortable in what they’re wearing and experience the products in a real life environment.’
This is the first of six Reebok FitHubs to open in the UK this year so expect something nationwide soon!
Reebok FitHub, 32 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London, WC2E. www.Reebok.co.uk