After a 50-year career as a serial entrepreneur, tackling everything from putting together syndicated oil and gas partnerships to starting a computer software retail company to developing training software to founding a chain of sandwich cafés, Seattle native Victor Alhadeff was looking for his next challenge.
So he set his sights on something totally different yet practical: man-friendly joggers.
“I didn’t like pulling my sweatpants down,” he says. “I like a zipper fly.”
But it wasn’t just a desire for a little extra convenience that fueled the idea. Alhadeff, 72, saw the huge potential that exists for selling products on Amazon, so he created a brand development/merchandising company, Alhadeff Brands, that will exclusively sell its products through the e-commerce juggernaut.
“Amazon is just such a giant marketplace, it’s hard to comprehend how big it is,” Alhadeff says. “If you can create a differentiated product and combine it with great photography, merchandising, and descriptions, you can sell it.”
The first product from Alhadeff Brands is Jogzz, a premium line of slim-fit cotton men’s sweatpants that feature zippered pockets, mesh trim and, of course, that zippered fly. The original style began selling in January, followed by a second style with heavier zippers. For future products, Alhadeff will continue in the athleisure category — aka clothing that’s equally suitable for the gym and everyday life — but plans to branch into other markets. In 2017, activewear made up 22 percent of sales in the US apparel market at $48 billion, continuing to grow even as the apparel industry as a whole experienced a drop.
Jogzz donates 5 percent of all sales to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The charity is near and dear to Alhadeff, who’s gone through both prostate cancer and multiple myeloma treatment. Instead of offering the vague assurance that the company is donating money, Alhadeff wanted to be precise. “Transparency is really important,” he says. The Jogzz website reports how much the company donates — in the first half of 2018, it was $3,000.
“In today’s world, people want to do business with companies that demonstrate their social responsibility,” says Alhadeff. In addition to supporting cancer research, his work on the board of trustees of the Samis Foundation, an organization that supports Jewish education, is vital to him.
“The more we grow, the more money we’ll give away,” Alhadeff says. “I think there’s tremendous opportunity.”
So far, so good for Jogzz, which recently became available in Europe. Alhadeff is confident the joggers will continue to gain fans. “They fit good, they look good, they wear well, and people know there’s a portion going for good,” Alhadeff says. “I think that’s all the elements of creating a company that customers can relate to.”