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Meet Gabriel Pelino of WOD Gear Athletic Apparel in South Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriel Pelino.

The vision for WOD Gear Clothing Company began in 2010 with Gabriel Pelino. Gabriel, the dreamer, mentor, friend, published author and entrepreneur, nurtured his passion for CrossFit. He built his vision of launching an all-encompassing athletic brand, geared toward the Everyday Athlete, with those around him. From the personal attention of the owner of CrossFit Pasadena and its coaches, to the intimate sense of community, and with the encouragement of close friends and others, the dream became a reality.

After some research, Gabriel found a need for high quality and functional fitness apparel with excellent design, and that captures the energy of CrossFit and similar types of workout regiments. In the beginning, WOD Gear was started with only four T-Shirt designs, knowing that one day it would offer a full line of athletic apparel, which it now does. All of its products are made in Downtown Los Angeles, CA. Today, the heartbeat of WOD Gear lie in its team, Ambassadors, and customers around the globe. WOD Gear strives to impact each individual by celebrating them and providing an experience, through its brand, by providing positive messages.

Within many of its pieces of clothing, WOD Gear also has a strong desire to “give back” to the community, through its “Purpose over Profit” campaigns, as well as gathering our Ambassadors to participate in local non-profit activities. Gabriel believes that as a brand, WOD Gear MUST be socially conscious and care for those in need!

“If we fail to look after those less fortunate than us then our gain is worthless! We want to be a positive force and influence within the CrossFit community and beyond! We feel that it is also important to invest in cases, outside ourselves, that will impact lives around the world in a positive way and make a difference!” – Gabriel Pelino

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road at all but I wouldn’t change anything. Our biggest challenge has been lack of funds. Being that we are committed to producing all of our products in Los Angeles our prices are higher and our margins thinner. I originally raised $150k, six years ago, and that has sustained us but when you are competing against billion dollar brands, with an endless supply of marking monies, it is very hard to compete.

The inability to invest in consistent marketing strategies and other necessary social media campaigns has hurt us. Also, not having enough inventory on hand has been difficult as well. We make an amazing product but when you can’t provide items for your customers it’s a losing situation.

But, when I receive messengers from our customers, mostly woman because that is who we primarily cater to, telling me that they love our yoga/work-out pants, shorts more than their “Lulus” or Nike it motivates me to keep pushing forward through the difficult times.

Plus, I love my small team who has stuck by me through thick and thin and I want to succeed, not only for the sake of the brand, but for them as well!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about WOD Gear Athletic Apparel – what should we know?
We are an athletic brand creating primarily women’s work out gear along with some men’s items. We focus primarily on women’s leggings, (yoga pants), booty shorts and sports bras. We also make tops as well…tanks and t-shirts.

For the men, we primarily make a men’s workout short and shirts.

We also have a pretty dynamic custom/private label side of our business where we make product for other brands. It is that area that has helped us survive and build out our brand.

We specialize in women’s bottoms! That is truly what we are known for. The quality and fit of our pants and shorts. We have had great success with our sports bra as well. We honestly receive constant feedback from women stating how they love our products better than the billion dollar companies. The greatest compliment is when I hear…”I love these more than my lulus!”

The thing that sets us apart is the fabric we use, which is non-see through as well, and that we worked very hard in “crafting” a pant and short that fits and flows with the body structure of the women wearing it. It doesn’t matter size nor shape…our product hugs the body and provides a high level of comfort, fit, fashionable and flattery.

We also take it a step further, wanting to promote a positive and encouraging message to women, writing the saying “Love Your Shape” on the inside of all of our pants and shorts. We want to send a message to women that it doesn’t matter where you are in your fitness journey but love yourself enough to get started.

Women are so measured by the media of what a “body” is supposed to look like and we want to remind them that they are beautiful and wonderful with where they are at.

Also, when we started our brand we, like most people, went after the high-level athlete to wear our products hoping to build the awareness of our brand. We soon turned that around and now represent the women who is the “everyday” athlete. The mom, wife, single gal, business women…whoever she is…that just needs to get a workout in whenever she can. Our name, WOD, which stands for Workout of the Day, falls in line with whatever type of workout a woman does to increase her physical activity. We are here to be cheerleaders for all the everyday women out there who are trying to get fitness and health back into their lives. We feel our products can help them get there.

I would say that I am most proud of the fact that we are still here after six years. This is a very tough business and it has been a struggle. I have had many sleepless nights wondering how we will continue forward the next day. Through many nights with my face on the floor praying with tears it always seems to work out. We are still here! We are surviving! I am also so grateful for my team!!! Raul Carillo, who handles my Creative, is my right-hand man. I don’t know where I would be without him. Also, Denise Valenzuela, who handles all of our production. That is not easy task! They both have stuck with me through thick and thin and believe in what we are doing.

I am also proud of our Purpose over Profit campaign. We are committed to partnering with a local non-profit, on a quarterly basis, and wanting to give back. We must be a brand that gives back.

I am also so thankful for the over 100 “everyday” women ambassadors that we have around the globe being evangelists for our brand to their immediate community. Love them all so very much!!!

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I would say that biggest thing is to keep the faith. Keep the dream alive that we will overcome all the obstacles that are before us. Stay positive and keep moving forward! Maintaining integrity of the process and the quality of our products.

Community is big for us as well. We must stay engaged to the community of fitness that we are a part of and give back to those who support us and being “givers” to the non-profits that we engage with.

Pricing:

  • Women’s Leggings: $75
  • Women’s Booty Shorts: $48
  • Women’s Sports Bras: $48 Shirts/Tanks: $28
  • Men’s Shorts: $55
  • Men’s T’s: $28

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Brittany Spears (wearing our sports bra)

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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