Kimberly Caccavo and Kate Nowlan, co-founders of women’s athletic wear brand Graced by Grit, first met when Nowlan was Caccavo’s running coach, and both enjoyed seeing what others were wearing for workouts. The pair realized that women with very varied body types were all wearing the same popular brands, thinking the label would mean the clothing would flatter them.
Realizing the need for athletic wear that did more than just look good on the rack, Caccavo and Nowlan found a niche for Graced by Grit, a brand “designed by women for women.” To keep clothes flattering and fitting well, the brand incorporates compression into their fabrics and design in jewel tone colorways. But the line is about function as well as fashion. Graced by Grit designs are fit for land and sea, come with a washable safety whistle, and have front and rear pockets for holding a smartphone.
The line, founded in 2013, is not just built to transition from water to land sports, but in keeping with the athleisure trend, are designed to be worn all day.
“For the truly active, there’s so much going on in your life, you don’t have time to change between your activity and picking up your kids,” Caccavo said, adding that the quality of the fabrics has gotten so good in terms of hugging and keeping things in place, that women often look better in activewear than in their regular clothing.
Caccavo and Nowlan pride themselves on the quality of their fabric, which is all made in Italy. It is soft and silky to the touch, anti-microbial, chlorine-resistant and UPF 50+. The founders are still wearing the samples they created for their first designs, which have held up with no color fading or pilling. For Spring ‘16, the brand is introducing a revolutionary Italian sweatsuit fabric for a line of full-body wetsuits.
In terms of style, the objective at Graced by Grit is to find strong designs that make women look good, and these designs are carried over from season to season, colors changing every 3-4 months.
The Land and Sea Knickers, knee-length leggings that are adaptable to activities including running, hot yoga, and paddle boarding, has been one of the brand’s best-selling pieces. and are available in seven jewel tones. The Delicious Half-Zip, so called for the feel of the fabric, has also done well for the brand. The zip shirt has convertible cuffs with a thumb hole and flat-lock seams for ultimate comfort.
Graced by Grit said its next move is to open its first retail store on Highway 101 in Solana Beach, California. Nowlan and Caccavo are currently running a crowdfunding campaign to raise $20,000 to cover the publicity costs to open this location. The brand is working with Plum Alley for the funding because of the fundraising company’s focus on women-owned businesses. Fundraising for the store ends on June 15.
Caccavo and Nowlan look forward to using the store as a place to spend time with the community. “It’s a nice way to connect with our customers, they love to come and hang out and live the brand,” Caccavo said.
The new Graced by Grit store will host events like trunk shows and hold yoga classes. The founders are excited to get the locals involved as Solana Beach is also their target market. They are hoping that the exposure they gain in the store will make them bigger in the area and eventually spread the brand to other markets.