Made by athletes for athletes
From professional triathlete to co-founding 2XU, a Melbourne-based business developing high performance sports apparel, Jamie Hunt seems to have made the perfect transition.
Lucky enough to spend 24 summers in a row during his 12 years as an elite athlete, at his peak Jamie Hunt was ranked third in the world and competed at the Commonwealth Games. Studying an economics degree while competing gave him an opportunity to take on a finance role at a large triathlon brand after retiring from the sport, and the launch of 2XU followed on.
What is your day-to day-role at 2XU?
When we first started the brand seven or eight years ago, I designed everything that came out of the company. Now I’m still very involved in the design process, I’ll explain the fabrics we use, I still do all the fabric research and I still have a very good mentality of what the athlete wants, but I have a great team behind me who will go and execute my ideas. While a lot of my time now is spent managing staff, ultimately the reason why our company’s done well is because I’m an athlete and I love technology and sport. I love fabrics and I love trying new things out.
Who do you test your products on?
We have a ton of athletes who work here, a lot of semi-pro athletes who have been involved in the sport for many years, so a lot of testing is done by staff. We’ve got a great team up in the USA who try the product out. Also we are very involved with RMIT University in Brunswick. They’ve got some fantastic machinery that can measure moisture management, heat control, breathability and abrasion resistance. So between us and between them, we have a very good ability to make garments that are well tested.
Most of 2XU’s business is outside Australia, what are the challenges of designing one range for a world market?
One of the biggest issues in my development team is creating products that we sell basically to the whole world from one collection. Every country has its own mentality. You have the US market, where compression is still in its infancy and socks are by far the biggest seller whereas here in Australia, we would sell ten pairs of tights to every pair of compression socks. Colour is a massive difference too. Even within America, you have the west coast where the girls love the pinks and the blues and then over on the east coast the ladies are buying the greys and the blacks.
What product have you developed that you are most proud of?
Our compression collection. I think we came into it behind some of the large competitors and we have dramatically shifted the way competitors view compression. Before it was marketing babble, now it’s really based around fabric and product. Our customers now understand that it does cost a little more to buy a good product but our compression is a lot more than just a pair of glorified tights, there’s a real science around them.
With sprint distance, team & corporate triathlons there really is something for everyone, why should people get into triathlons?
It’s not boring, every day you can choose to go for a swim, bike or run. If it’s raining outside, go for a swim. In the actual event, there is great camaraderie amongst triathletes, it’s a real group mentality. I also think it’s great for weight loss and for staying motivated. When you finish a triathlon, even if it’s a short race, it’s still a real sense of achievement, more than what it is probably amongst other sports out there. People would be surprised that it isn’t that difficult to do some of these triathlons.