Lodi native Anthony Wutzke took a class project and turned it into an online fitness clothing company known as American Made Fitness Culture.
The process of turning homework into his life's work became a year-long process, which began with the product development phase during the first semester of his senior at Sonoma State University.
The idea for the clothing brand was developed in an entrepreneurship course.
“The concept came to mind with a group of students. We wanted to intertwine two main ideas: feeling pride in being an American and living free, while building on the special culture that can be found living a fit and healthy lifestyle,” Wutzke said.
The project garnered momentum in the latter part of the semester when Wutzke began moving forward on the initial planning stage of the company.
“Once the concept came together I knew I could do more with it, and I did all the work to make it a brand,” Wutzke said.
Wutzke met with manufacturers to create an initial prototype, test out fabric types, and evaluate their SweatLock Technology, and wearability.
“I have purchased leggings for my girlfriend and I would always tell myself that I could develop a better product, which actually motivated me to do just that,” Wutzke said.
Wutzke wanted a product that was versatile, so he focused on developing a pair of leggings that could be worn to the gym and to the store.
Wutzke’s decision to develop an online company is part of a digital revolution that is seeing more young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs start businesses as more consumers shift to online shopping.
“We focused our business model on an online platform because e-commerce is constantly evolving,” Wutzke stated.
By building an online platform, businesses are better equipped to compile data about their sales, track their product trends and build inventory forecasts. Wutzke’s own site is managed through Shopify. Such sites are becoming popular for retailers because they are already embedded with the data software and shipping capability to turn an online site into a storefront.
An evolving platform also allows businesses to more socially attuned with consumers.
According to a recent article in The Business Insider, millennials are 40 percent more likely to purchase products from off-brand retailers than from a designer label, especially when brands promote charitable and sustainable efforts.
As a your business owner, Wutzke is embracing social awareness.
“A portion of each purchase goes to help The Anxiety and Depression Association of America,” Wutzke said of his business. “As millennials, I think we are more conscious when it comes to shopping and society. We don’t just want to purchase a product we want to be involved in a movement.”
The idea of embracing a movement is part of the American Made Fitness Culture, according to Wutzke, who said the brand's purpose is to empower people that want to live a healthy lifestyle.
As Wutzke builds his brand he knows that getting consumer attention is a critical aspect to growing his company.
“We have brand ambassadors that help promote the brand,” Wutzke said.
Although his business is in its infancy, Wutzke is determined to get the word out and create a successful brand. He has plans to sell his fitness wear at trade shows and get the word out about the fitness apparel company.
Wutzke, who will be graduating in a few weeks with a degree in business administration, is ready to make American Made Fitness Culture a business success story,