Minneapolis, MN, May 21, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- Two years after earning a marketing degree from Michigan State University, Jake Howison has found a niche market in athletic wear. Howison, a 2005 graduate of Midland High School, recently launched Helo LLC, a performance apparel company aimed at meeting the needs of specialty markets, such as boardshort undergarments.
“The idea came to me when I was wake-boarding with a group of friends, and the guys were talking about not having anything comfortable and fast-drying to wear under their boardshorts,” Howison said. “This was a great opportunity to introduce a solution that met athletic needs for performance – including durability, breathability and comfort – while also offering style and sustainability.”
Howison conducted market research and focus groups to verify demand for a new solution. He discovered that compression shorts are too tight, and other options are too loose and take too long to dry.
He formed Helo LLC, prepared a marketing plan and began a search for quick-drying materials and manufacturers on LinkedIn. Howison soon partnered with other U.S.-based companies, including a garment concept agency in St. Paul, Minn., a production facility in Los Angeles, a supplier in Rhode Island, and a third-party logistics company. All this took about a year.
Mike Chiesa, a fellow MSU graduate, joined Helo in January as vice president of sales. One of his first projects was helping Howison launch the company via their website and social media.
“Word-of- mouth advertising is one of most effective ways to introduce a new product and tell people about your company,” says Chiesa. “The social media campaign has allowed us to reach people around the world…as far away as Finland.”
The breathable, quick-drying undergarment was designed primarily for boardshorts, but they are practical for other sports activities, as well. They are made from an environmentally friendly blend of 79% recycled PET and 21% spandex for the main short, and an 81% nylon and 19% spandex breathable mesh inseam. PET is a popular plastic used in products like plastic bottles.
For more information about Helo undershorts, check out www.heloclothes.com.