"Underdog" is the perfect word to describe the start of Kali Active. Our start is a bit of a happy accident meets intentionally solving a problem.
After a decade in NYC, I had just moved to LA and was reaching some career burnout. I had done some kickboxing years ago and thought boxing would be a perfect way for me to channel some burnout stress, meet new people, and try something physically challenging to make my mental stronger. I quickly became hooked. Pun intended.
During those first few boxing classes is when Kali Active happened. The class was 60-70% women and everyone pretty much was wearing the same type of wraps and gloves. A lot of the women had the same pink wraps and gloves on which reminded me of all the years I had spent working on men's brands when they wanted to branch into women's products...make it pink and throw some glitter on it. It dawned on me that in the years that I took up kickboxing till now, not much had changed as far as product was concerned. The fight gear on the market didn't match the level of excitement and empowerment I was feeling after that workout. It also didn't match what was happening in the sportswear/activewear space. Better design and quality gear was popping up everywhere, especially for yoga, why was fight gear lagging behind? There wasn't a brand for the boxing-fitness market.
The problem wasn't that there weren't any boxing brands, it was that the choices were all very dismal when it came to aesthetic and quality. There wasn't a go-to brand for the modern fitness market.
After some research, I saw that the world of boxing/kickboxing products was basically a sh*t show. Go look up boxing gloves on Amazon and if you are like me, the anxiety of picking something will set in very quickly.
A male dominated industry with no one targeting the novice fitness puncher. Brands who had also gone years by ignoring a whole gender of the population, women. Old practices and the same type of marketing ads made the space feel outdated. Legacy companies with dismal color options and branding that looked like lower back tattoos from the early 2000's was not cutting it for me. If this was the status quo , I wanted to destroy it. All these factors left a huge hole in the market.
"You can use the same recipe year and year, but if you want to make things a bit spicy it's gonna take a whole new kind of chef in the kitchen."
So I got to work! I used all my years of experience to launch Kali Active. After creating the branding and our initial designs, we launched in late 2015. We were one of the first brands using instagram to really target the boxing fitness space and use some really badass women to help showcase who the brand was for. Instead of the fighter circuit, we gave fitness punchers a platform to showcase their growth and skills to inspire others!
Developing our gloves was a whole different ball game. Here's what the other guys won't tell you...At the end of the day; the tooling and construction of boxing gloves is pretty standard. If that was the case, then why did everything look so bland and the fit was so off?!
I became the Goldi Locks of boxing gloves. Gloves either felt too wide, too big, too short, or the quality didn't hold up after a few sessions. If I liked the fit, I hated the design or the colors. I wanted to create gloves with the perfect fit in stylish options for my workout classes. Gloves I could see in my gym bag and feel excited for my next class. We sampled and tested countless options and spent hours reading reviews. It took us awhile to find the right partners who believed in our vision to do things differently. We needed a team who understood quality and design had to go hand in hand, errr fist to fist!?
A team who believed in this female founder's vision to inspire diverse types of people and to inspire them to try something empowering no matter what stage they were in their fitness journey! I love product, design, fitness and badass people crushing their goals everyday. You deserve better and I hope to keep making some awesome gear and to always keep things spicy! Destroy the Status Quo.