What: Sports and performance wear targeted at the over-40 market
Who: Dave Goos, Mary Miller and Eric Miller of Blue Hair Action Wear
Where: Cross Lake, Minnesota
When: Started in 2005
As if the founders of Blue Hair Action Wear aren't busy enough with their online retail startup and separate full-time jobs, Eric Miller, Mary Miller and Dave "Quadzilla" Goos manage to stay active, competing in triathlons, playing in sports leagues and frequenting the gym.
Their active lifestyles are what spurred the idea to launch www.bluehairactionwear.com, a retail website that sells sportswear for athletes over 40.
The company's clothing, which Goos designs with input from the Millers, is hip, functional and comfortable. You won't find any of the skintight, cut-to-there design elements teens and young adults may look for, but you will find plenty of style. Before Blue Hair's January 2005 introduction, Mary, 41, says the clothing industry lacked companies that carried sportswear targeting their demographic. "We are our customer: We're all in our forties, and we're still active," she says. "The baby boomers [make up] a huge market. They're more active, and that wasn't the case 50 years ago."
Not only are baby boomers more active, but they've also got a fair amount of disposable income, adds Eric, 45. "The age group we're targeting will continue to grow as long as people continue [to live longer]," he says. "That whole market is going to explode, so we'd like to get into that niche as it grows."
In turn, Blue Hair itself is growing. It formed a partnership with GeezerJock magazine in 2005 to produce and sell the publication's clothing line. It is also working with the University of California to raise money for women's sports. Blue Hair's partnerships, which let both parties share costs as well as profits, have allowed the business to thrive sans marketing or advertising expenditures. Links on partner websites, logos on Blue Hair clothing and presence at athletic events are all means of increasing company exposure, explains Goos, 45. Blue Hair, which projects more than $100,000 in 2006 sales, is pursuing additional partnerships and will launch a print catalog in time for the 2006 holiday season.