With so many booths to check out this past weekend at the Fit Expo Los Angeles, it’s extremely difficult to check out all the booths. Vendors and exhibitors, in turn, have to stand out from the rest with a stand out booth and unique products. Hylete, short for “Hybrid Athlete,” is a cross training clothing brand that started in 2012 that aims to create the best athletic clothing that can handle anything. Unique from other fitness clothing brands, they also make backpacks able to carry your work and school supplies, gym gear, clothes, and food comfortably and efficiently. John Palmer of Hylete was kind enough to give us time during the craziness of Fit Expo Los Angeles and give us an exclusive interview.
My name is John Palmer, I’m head of sales for Hylete. Hylete is a combination of the words, “Hybrid Athlete” and we use that to capture anyone that is doing functional fitness. So, whether it’s crossfit, MMA, kettlebell training, jujitsu, and we try to provide quality products, priced for the everyday athlete or people that we will be using them every day. That’s why everything we make has a two-year guarantee on it. Whether you pull up a bar against your shorts, you’re getting in and out of the water, or you’re traveling with the bag it has to hold up for you and if it doesn’t, that’s on us cause we know who we are selling this stuff to. We design and manufacture everything. We mail our own fabric, we have our relationships with our factories, and that’s really what lets us control the quality.
Who started Hylete and what inspired them to create Hylete?
Ron Wilson designs all the products and holds all the patents, he’s one of the co-founders. The other co-founder is Matt Paulson, who has all the relationships with the official apparel partners. He’s more of the sales arm and my boss. They saw an opportunity in functional fitness, specifically with crossfit to start, but it has become so much more. With how functional the apparel is, it’s not just a crossfit thing, everyone can use it. Everyone going to the gym every day living that functional fitness lifestyle. We’ve done partnerships with obstacle courses and they saw this opportunity with functional fitness specifically. Their background is in MMA and product design then saw this opportunity in functional fitnesss, which MMA is a part of and that’s why they started the brand. They already had the relationships with the factories and that let them get the brand off quickly because they didn’t have to go through several versions of testings because they already had their designs.
Why make backpacks?
There’s only so much you can roll into like shorts, a pair of socks, a shirt and that’s where we really wanted to flex the muscle to show what we could do. Personally, I helped design the bag by telling our product designers, “Here’s what I needed” and “Here’s what I need it to do,” because I’m traveling every single week and I want it to fit in the overhead compartment, I want it to fit in the seat in front of me. Those little nuances and also to have a full product offering. To selfishly try to capture as much of the market as we can and bags are a huge part of that and people need them every single day and that’s one more thing we can offer to the community.
What’s your experience and the company’s experience here at the LA Fit Expo?
Personally, I’ve been here three years. Hylete has been here four years. It’s grown significantly every time. Initially, we came as a part of the crossfit competition because initially that was our target market and of course, we’ve grown from who we are marketing to. So we’ve moved out of just the crossfit section, now we’re here in the center of everything. Big booth, big setup to kind of showcase to everyone what we can do.
Who do you expect to win the next Crossfit Games?
I wouldn’t be surprised if Brooke Wells won the women’s cause she just won Wodapalooza. I was at Wodapalooza last weekened, and Dan Bailey’s been chomping at everyone’s heels for a few years and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets tired of coming in fourth and fifth. Of course people can come out of nowhere, but if I was a betting man that would be my two.
Palmer was an amazing person to interview and his passion for Hylete shined bright at the LA Fit Expo. He gave me a warm welcome when I was looking through the backpacks and was kind enough to describe everything about the backpack (check out my review here). With so many fitness brands out there, I’m very picky on where I buy from. I always love to get to know the people behind the product and hear the passion to know I’m getting a product that they believe in, and are not just trying to take my money.
Check out the Hylete website to get your Hylete gear. They are currently having a “50% off your next purchase” sale and if the gear doesn’t hold up, don’t forget they have a two-year guarantee on all their products.