This startup will never let you use the ‘I forgot my gym clothes’ excuse again

This has definitely happened to you. You are all set to go to the gym after work only to find that you forgot your workout clothes or sneakers. Or you have bottoms, but no top. Or you didn’t pack clothes for your business trip but ended up with a lot of downtime that could be spent doing a fun class or hitting the hotel gym. Well, guess you’ll just sit in a corner and twiddle your thumbs then (and probably gain weight while you’re at it, according to a recent survey by Hilton Hotels on business travel.) Cue Routinely.

This new startup is essentially Rent the Runway but for workout clothes. Started by co-founders Will Tso and Eric Navarro it essential has made the whole “I can’t work out because I forgot my clothes” excuse a non-starter. You can either request to rent a full kit, curated for you, which includes sneakers and a full workout outfit (everything from a sports bra, tank top, leggings, hair tie, to new socks) or you can just rent individual items. Then you select a delivery time option (they can be sent to your office, hotel or apartment) and simply return two days later (but you can keep the socks).

You’re provided with a prepaid label and can leave it with the front desk at partnered studios they just teamed up with Manhattan fitness studio NEO U and Arlo hotels in Manhattan or can drop it off at any FedEx box. And it is only a $10 package!

Get your sweat on

And no, you do not have to wash the clothes. “Our goal is to remove the packing, laundry, and shopping research efforts associated with workout clothes. We want our users to discover cool new brands through us when and where they want, hassle-free,” Tso told Ladders.

Some of the brands they are working with include retail giants like Lululemon, Adidas and Under Armour but also smaller, super trendy brands like Outdoor Voices. Tso and Navarro came up with the idea in 2017 when they were both often traveling for work. “Even though fitness/health/balance may not be most important when we’re stressed/busy, we always found ourselves compromising and giving into excuses. We realized lots of people deal with the same problem, so we wanted to create a solution that takes out the hassles of planning for your workout.”

They were originally going to focus the brand on just travelers but then decided to expand their market. “I think the pain points around workout clothes are biggest for travelers actually. Lots of people chalk their health up as a loss when they’re on the road because of not having enough luggage space, not wanting to pack sweaty clothing back in, etc. Our travel customers absolutely love our service!”

The co-founders said they did lose a lot of sleep over whether people would rent workout clothes and pay for it but they so far the response has been strong. “We’ve been able to convert people when we target them at the pain point (e.g. I forgot my workout clothes but booked a class). Once users adopt, they realize that our clothes/shoes are just as nice, if not nicer than their own, and love it!”

Currently, Routinely is only available in Manhattan but they hope to be in San Francisco by Q2 2019 as well as partner with other fitness studios and channels like ClassPass and Mind Body Green.