Annual sales have soared 30 percent to over £2 million for the north Devon-based company’s lightweight, wind and waterproof chill slayers, designed to be like shelters slipping easily over whole outfits. Renowned as a staple among surfers, dryrobe’s power to ward off exposure to the elements has seen it break through beyond the beach and taken up by athletes and spectators in other sports from triathlon to mountain biking. Activity-wise dog walkers, campers and explorers have also come on board, and most recently TV and film production companies keen to keep their stars and their expensive costumes toasty and in perfect condition between takes.
Poldark’s Aidan Turner and Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington have both been spotted on set snuggled in the brand’s latest Advance design (from £110).
dryrobe began in classic start-up fashion eight years ago when surfer Gideon Bright started developing a prototype in his garden shed, inspired by a post-waves cape his mum had run up for him years before.
Today the business, backed by private investment, employs around 20 full and part time here, makes in China and now sells directly online to Europe and the US and through retailers.
Critical to its success are the robe’s versatile design and structure, while healthier and more active lifestyles have helped drive sales, explains Bright.
“dryrobes are robust and designed to go over wet clothes and whole outfits so changing is easy and discreet.
“The robe’s lining was the hardest part to design and its most successful feature. It’s rigid enough to trap air and insulate for warmth, but feels good and wicks away wet from the skin into the fabric’s pile to preserve energy and body temperature.”
Customers have responded especially well too to the care taken over design details, he adds. “These make changing even easier such as the robe’s two-way inner and outer zips, secure pockets and cuff adjusters to keep out draughts.”
New dryrobes for use in hotter climates and places where culturally modesty is a major issue are planned, potentially enabling more women to participate in sports and beach activities.
The company is also considering European manufacturing options and “developing eco fabrics is currently happening,” says Bright whose only regret is not investing more earlier in the company’s management systems.
While dryrobe’s catwalk has most often been beach car parks it has also supplied big brands such as Red Bull and Mercedes Benz.
“Changing need not be a test of endurance that can put some, especially the young, off sports for life,” adds Bright. “We’re expanding the limitations of peoples’ comfort zones enhancing participation in life’s extraordinary moments.”
Following a donation see dyrobe in action to long established Paddle Round the Pier charity beach festival being held on July 6 and 7 in Brighton, Sussex. www.paddleroundthepier.com
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