Our Quest to Be The Best
Posted: Apr 12 2017
Is being told you are beautiful a bad thing? Generally…no. After all, beauty is defined as a “Combination of shape, color and/or form that pleases the aesthetic senses”. Hard to find much in that definition to be upset about.
Even so, when someone comes across our gear and starts to talk about the beauty of the designs, we almost always interrupt them before they can finish.
Now, it’s certainly not because we’re offended by the comment. Rather, it’s because there’s so much more! Maybe this is a problem that those of you who won the genetic lottery have as well. Like you Tom Brady (we know you’re reading!)
Beauty is not just skin deep, but the things that really matter can be harder to find if you don’t know where to look. That’s why we decided to take a few minutes and talk about what goes on behind the scenes and what goes into the production of our clothing.
Beauty is not just Skin (or fabric) Deep with this Women's Tri Suit
When asked about the Coeur gear, we make it a point to always lead with information about performance. That’s because we know how grueling it can be to run a marathon, bike 100 miles, or swim, bike, and run 140.6 (or more…yes we’re talking about you Ultraman Hawaii Winner Kate Bevilaqua).
Kate Bevilaqua won the 320 Mile Ultraman Hawaii in Coeur Sports Gear
If there are any imperfections in the garment or if any shortcuts were taken in the design, then they will be highlighted and amplified on the course. That’s why we sit down as a group and discuss each garment prior to development. We ask ourselves what problem we’re trying to solve, how we’re going to solve it, and what benefits the customer will receive.
Did you have a giant cup of coffee before your ride? Problem solved with zip bibs.
Occasionally, Kebby flashes back to her consulting days and starts drawing 2 x 2 matrices. Fortunately, we can usually get her to snap out of it by winging empty Starbucks cups at the white board and she goes back into designer mode.
Once we have a general idea of what we want and a few flat sketches, we begin discussing fabric. This is where someone can really geek out. On one hand, fabric can seem simple. It’s just performance fibers that can be printed on…right? Right? Au contraire, mon frère! The fabric decision is dizzyingly complex. It includes many factors including the breathability, the wicking properties, the weight, the softness (frequently called the “Hand”), and especially the aerodynamic characteristics (hence the dearth of Denim Triathlon Shorts!) We can spend hours looking at, testing, touching, and pulling swatches of fabric before we have our decision.
Then we begin working with our pattern maker and our factory to create samples. There are multiple rounds of fitting and eventually, we have what may be a final sample. Next, it’s off to the races (figuratively and sometimes literally speaking). We send samples out to our product evaluators who test, wash, and test again before they send their feedback. If necessary, we make changes based on their recommendations and go through the process again and again until we’re confident our customers have what they need.
With some of our gear, we add another step and head to the Velodrome for aero testing. This deserves a blog post to itself, but we work with ERO Sports at the Velodrome in Carson, California. Jim, the owner, uses a system called the Track Aero System or “TAS” to compare our gear to other brands and he is absolutely amazing.
Aerodynamic Testing of the Zele Line at the Velodrome
We were thrilled with the results, but Jim was probably tired of our looking over his shoulder.
It's only after all those steps that we start thinking about designs. To be clear, we LOVE the design process and if you ever stop by the Coeur office, you’ll see designs for days, but we definitely hold the discussions on the aesthetics for last. Again, the design process deserves its own blog, but eventually we have the look and colors that we want and it's time to go into full production.
A couple weeks later, boxes of finished product are ready for pick up from our LA Factory and we're ready to ship finished garments that can go toe to toe with anything on the market at any price.
So, if we are lucky enough to have you as a customer, you can know that every garment is not only designed to be beautiful, but that it is also designed to perform.
Happy Training & Racing!
Your Friends at Coeur