Entrepreneur seeking comfort launches men’s athleisure wear brand

Matt Addison’s Rugged Black caters to “the rugged male athlete, not the yoga soccer mom driving to SoulCycle.” (Photos courtesy of Rugged Black)

Matt Addison was tired of wearing his wife’s favorite athleisure brand.

After swapping his suit for some joggers during the pandemic shutdown, the Denver resident found it difficult to shop for quality athleisure wear for a reasonable price. So, he decided to create his own comfortable brand — Rugged Black — for “the everyday man.”

“My wife loves her Lululemon pants; she practically lives in them, but there’s not really an equivalent for men,” Addison said. “I’m walking around in cotton joggers, and she has these durable leggings she does everything in. I started doing research and found that men basically have two options. They can pay a ridiculous price for a female brand pivoting into men’s lines. Or you can wear the cheap baggy ones I had.”

Rugged Black offers a line of men’s joggers, hoodies and Henley shirts “that cater to the rugged male athlete, not the yoga soccer mom driving to SoulCycle,” Addison said.

The entrepreneur said he wanted to design simple athleisure wear with the same quality fabric but not the logos of the big name brands.

“When you think about the other athleisure brands, if you’re wearing Nike, you’re basically representing a celebrity’s brand, and guys don’t prefer to wear their girlfriends brand like Lululemon,” Addison said. “Whether you’re going to run errands or working out, we want our clothes to represent you. Not the other way around.”

The Rugged Black’s athleisure wear launch catalog for men.

Last month, Addison and his wife Allison launched a Kickstarter campaign to help build a customer base and fund their first round of pre-orders. As of Tuesday, they had raised $8,129 from 60 backers. The couple has five days to reach their goal of $10,000.

Rugged Black’s flagship product is the “Everyday Flex Athleisure Joggers,” which will retail for $79 on the startup’s website. In comparison, Lululemon’s men’s joggers range from $118 to $148.

“Because we’re a small company, we can’t afford to put money in Lebron James’ pockets to wear our stuff,” Addison said. “Instead, we’re focused on the affordability of the product by charging our customers nearly 40 percent less for the same quality of fabric.”

Addison has also designed a variety of hoodies that will retail for $59 and Henley shirts that will retail for $49. He’s secured overseas suppliers and already pre-ordered 600 pairs of joggers, 500 hoodies and 500 Henleys. The entrepreneur said he’s invested around $35,000 of his own savings in the company so far.

The founder, who has an MBA from the University of Chicago with an emphasis in entrepreneurship, had always wanted to start his own business. When the pandemic hit, he decided to quit his full-time job as a management consultant and take the leap.

“My jeans were collecting dust, and instead of waiting around any longer for some other male-focused brand to spring up and challenge the name brands, I just decided to do it myself,” Addison said.

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Matt Addison
Matt Addison
7 months ago

Hey guys, Matt here from Rugged Black. Here’s the link to the Kickstarter!

If you use the promo BUSINESSDEN when we send out the surveys, we’ll give you an extra $20 off. Just as a thank you.