What inspired you to create your brand?
The seeds of this product were planted 5 years ago when I showed up to the first day of my yoga teacher training. There where 20+ women in yoga pants and I was the only person who didn’t—or, better said, couldn’t—wear them because typical leggings expose the groin department completely. I said to myself, "It's 2015. Surely someone needs to invent leggings for men, right?” Fast forward 5 years and we’re still the only ones doing it. There are some brands that claim to manufacture leggings for men, but their products are either unflattering or expose too much. I personally am not a fan of either, so I decided that this would be my contribution to humanity: meggings! Men's leggings specifically designed for the male anatomy.
"Though athleisure is a newer concept born in the last decade, Matadors have brought elegance and sophistication to athletic wear for centuries."
What is the meaning of your brand name?
Though athleisure is a newer concept born in the last decade, Matadors have brought elegance and sophistication to athletic wear for centuries. Matadors are hyper-masculine but also emotional figures who needed tight-fitting pants that wouldn’t slow them down. They aren’t afraid of loud colors or bold prints. So, we took a page from the history books—and now we’ve added our own: men’s leggings for today’s Matador. My signature design of the stripes that spiral around the legs represents the horns of a bull. It’s also an homage to my Spanish heritage.
What makes your brand stand out from other brands?
Matador Meggings are men’s leggings on steroids. We pumped them with several features to fit modern men’s needs: soft molded crotch cup, an open pocket for your phone, a zipper pocket for your valuables, a loop at the back for your t-shirt or towel, an inner drawstring for extra security, and feather-weight sweat-wicking performance fabric. These are not your grandmother’s leggings! We thought of everything; you can wear them for everything from intense workout sessions to festivals to Sunday brunch. We also differentiate ourselves with the wild colors and bold prints we offer. As a man, you’ve typically had only 2 options: go to big brands to get high-quality leggings that only come in boring colors like black and gray or purchase funky colors/designs from Amazon that are incredibly poor-quality nylon/spandex that will give your skin a rash. Matador Meggings combines the best of both worlds: high-quality performance compression pants with designs that (finally) match your personality.
Where do you find inspiration for your brand?
I got my inspiration from two concepts that are very dear to my heart. I’m from Spanish lineage, and I’ve always admired matadors. Even though I’m completely against bullfighting, I’ve appreciated this hyper-masculine yet emotional figure who is not afraid of wearing the tightest pants with the brightest colors. If you look at their clothing alone, no “macho” would really wear them: incredibly brave colors, super tight-fitting, very intricate embroidery…but they didn’t care, and I absolutely love that. So, they’ve been my primary design inspiration. The second element of inspiration is “the bull.” If you look closely, you’ll notice that the stripes on the sides spiraling inward, represent the horns of the bull. Hence, this animal directly influenced our design choices. Every brand has design elements and I snatched this one as my unique identifier.
How does your brand contribute to sustainability?
As the Maker of Matador Meggings, I was very conscious of my brand's responsibility to the planet and humanity in all our early decisions. I spent a lot of time researching and investigating the most environmentally friendly and worker-positive material suppliers, production facilities, and fulfillment partners to collaborate with. It’s no secret that much of the negative impact in making fashion comes in the creation of the material long before anything is cut or sewn. For this reason, I chose to work with a fabric supplier who has invested over $1M in a state-of-the-art on-site water recycling plant treating 100% of the water used in the creation of our products. Our partners work to minimize and capture all carbon emissions and they have significantly reduced water consumption at all levels. Our production facility mirrors our consciousness by ensuring that no harmful chemicals are used in manufacturing. Additionally, their team is made up of a diverse group of individuals that treat their workers well and support the local community around them.
"Don’t try to be everything to everyone; find your niche!"
What were some hurdles you had to overcome in your business?
I wanted to launch an activewear brand, so I made 68 references, which took me 9 months to develop. At the end of the day, 80% of my sales are generated by my hero product, which is meggings. Knowing what I know now, I would’ve focused on one single category (meggings) in the beginning and launched a website only for that. This would have allowed me to be much more agile, efficient, and fast. Over time, I can always keep adding tops, joggers, etc. Don’t try to be everything to everyone; find your niche! You don’t have to serve all men or all women. Narrow down your audience as much as you can and give them a single product that they will love. You will scale over time, but first, focus on your core product.
What advice would you give to someone that is starting their own brand?
Start marketing early—don’t wait to have the perfect product or website to put yourself out there. Create a landing page as soon as possible, communicating the upcoming product or service, and start collecting email addresses. Launch your social media pages as soon as you come up with the business idea and start gathering a relevant audience. This way, once you’re ready to launch, you already have a sizable audience ready to buy. My mistake was that I waited until the launch date to publish my website and launch my social profiles, so I had to start from zero. I wish I did all that a year before, so by the time my store was live, I had potential customers waiting for me. Live, learn, and share!
How did COVID-19 affect your business?
This is a very sore topic for me. As a small business that just launched a few months prior to the pandemic, we’ve been hit really hard with this virus. My factory closed for 3 months and I wasn’t able to restock popular items or manufacture my spring/summer collection. Ironically, the demand was higher than ever, but I wasn’t able to meet this demand due to low inventory. My new collection that was supposed to launch in April is now scheduled for July. This huge delay is a big missed opportunity for a new business my size. Secondly, the pandemic affected people’s needs for this type of garment. The festival season is my bread and butter as Matador Meggings is an incredibly popular party/festival attire. I’m bummed to miss out on this opportunity to sell more meggings, but I’m so blessed to have such a strong customer base who are bold enough to sport these meggings anywhere and everywhere.
What do you envision for the future of your brand?
Our journey is 1% complete; this is just the beginning. While we’re proud to offer a wide range of product categories in addition to meggings (such as tops and joggers), going forward we will focus on our core and double down on everything spandex, and mostly below the belt. We will be introducing wrestling singlets, short meggings, spandex shorts, swimwear, underwear, and more. Why? Because real men wear spandex. As for the meggings, we will continue to release new colors and prints on a regular basis, so you'll always find something new when you come back and visit (unless you stalk us every day, which we totally welcome).