Sportswear of Tomorrow invests 500 000 EUR and opens a sportswear fulfilment center in Aiud (County Alba Iulia, Romania) amid economic recovery in the EU and growing demand for manufacturing of sports apparel within EU borders.
Originally a Belgian company, founded in 2002, but active on the Romanian market since Spring 2020, Sportswear of Tomorrow produces different kinds of sports apparel for global brands active in the road cycling-, bmx-, athleisure-, swim-, soccer-, basket-industry. The company also looks to expand in other segments of the sports industry.
‘For 10 years, we owned a manufacturing plant in Latvia but an important part of our business is the availability of workforce, namely in our sewing department. The number of sewing ladies is becoming scarce in Latvia which made us look at alternatives’ says Kevin Van Lancker, CEO at Sportswear of Tomorrow.
Direct and indirect, Sportswear of Tomorrow manufactures sportswear for the world’s best athletes, made of recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles turned into new fabrics, all sourced from European suppliers. Either with sublimation print or made of pre-dyed fabrics (Cut&Make).
As EU countries reopen and sports events are allowed again, the demand for sports apparel, made in Europe, is booming. It turned out there are not many reliable manufacturers of sportswear in Romania we could outsource some part of the orders to, which urged us to expand quicker than originally planned.
We also explored new business models during the COVID19 pandemic as online sales boomed but retail sales and sports apparel for events dropped fast.
Print On Demand + Bulk Manufacturing, new and old business model, combined.
During the Summer of 2020, we produced thousands of face-masks with custom print as well as leggings for online stores which were booming. It was a good test to see if our POD and drop-shipping model would work but we quickly understood this needed fine-tuning, if we were to launch this on a global scale.
In the last months, we have worked hard on fine-tuning this part of the business.
To explain ‘POD Sportswear’ briefly: sportswear brands could start selling products to their online store, without keeping inventory. Good examples of such platforms are Printful and Printify, which focus merely on merchandising. Due to lockdowns, many companies looked for different ways to reach their customers but also, we saw many people who lost or quit their jobs, looking to get active in the sports industry. We think this part of the business will continue to grow fast as many start ups aren’t (and shouldn’t) work with Asia for their manufacturing needs. Many look for a manufacturing partner close to home where they can place low MOQ orders (<1000 pcs per style or even just a few pieces).
Today, our company supplies 285 brands with sportswear, made in Romania. Since the opening of our activities in Romania in February 2020, we have grown at a very fast pace which allowed us to grow our business to the next level and to expand our teams as well as the production floors we operate in.
From September 2021, we will operate from a 1000 sqm floor, with:
– an R&D department,
– Graphic Designers,
– a Sublimation Print/Press team,
– the latest cutting-, sewing- and print equipment,
– and a Quality Control department
The company is managed from Autumn 2021 by general manager Marcella Groza, who has over 10 years of experience in manufacturing apparel for high end sports apparel brands.
We are still hiring and are looking to expand our team to a 100, by the end of the year. With these exciting times ahead, I once again want to thank our team members and customers for their years of support.