SOLANA BEACH — “You find your grace in life’s gritty moments,” Kate Nowlan said. “We make armor to help women get through those tough times.” While not armor in the traditional sense, GRACEDBYGRIT’s line of premium athletic apparel is designed to empower women.
GRACEDBYGRIT is more than just a clothing company. “We are a community,” Nowlan, co-founder and COO, said. “Our customers are part of our story. We are an inclusive group of women who like to support one another.”
The business is the brainchild of Nowlan and her business partner Kimberly Caccavo. The women met when Caccavo hired Nowlan to train her for a triathlon eight years ago. While the two women found they had completely different professional backgrounds, they connected. “We got to talking about performance apparel and how limited the selection was,” Nowlan said. “The performance apparel that was out there wasn’t flattering. And other workout clothes had great designs and styles, but were missing that performance component. We talked to our friends and they agreed there was a need for athletic apparel made with high-quality fabrics that were flattering.”
The connection between how women look and how we feel is one of the driving forces behind GRACEDBYGRIT. “As we age, we want to look elegant and fit,” Nowlan said. “By looking and feeling that way we perform better and do more.”
The message of empowerment is another driving force for the company. “Grit is powerful,” Nowlan said. “It really is speaking to women. Women often turn to fitness to help them through difficult times. What Kimberly and I have in common is we both love to find the wonderful and beautiful part of every woman and celebrate it. Our clothing helps women look and feel their best no matter where they are in life or what obstacles they are facing.”
The GRACEDBYGRIT community is spreading quickly, but the epicenter is right here in San Diego. “We make our clothes here in San Diego,” Nowlan said. “We design and manufacture them here.” The main office is located in Solana Beach, and the team is made up of women in various stages of their lives. “Our team is a phenomenal group of women,” she said.
“All of the women you see in our marketing are our friends, customers and influencers,” Nowlan said. “We use real women around the country to represent our brand.”
All of GRACEDBYGRIT products are designed to be both luxurious and functional. “Our fabrics are high end,” Nowlan said. “They don’t pill and the colors won’t fade. Our pieces are meant to last, both in terms of quality and style. Our pieces are your basics, your go-tos. Everything is designed with incredible quality and is able to transition from your workout to wherever you need to go.” Additionally, all fabrics are UPF+50, especially important for women as they age.
One of the more popular designs this time of year is the Baby It’s Cold Outside Leggings. “These fleece-lined leggings are the ultimate base layer for skiing or an early morning run,” Nowlan said. “They are chic and slimming and provide added warmth and breathe incredible as you build up a sweat.” Functional features include hidden hip and back pockets to secure a smartphone, credit card, keys and more. A loop in the rear pocket can secure a GRACEDBYGRIT safety whistle as well.
Other staples include the sport skirts, which come in a variety of colors and are perfect for tennis teams. The Urban Joggers have a micro-fleece lining and the same functional features as the Baby It’s Cold Outside Leggings. The Perfect Travel Dress is another favorite. “They are incredible; we can’t keep them on the shelves. They can be worn anywhere you travel and a few different ways. They don’t wrinkle and are easy to pack.”
Both Nowlan and Caccavo are raising families in North County and feel lucky to be able to be immersed in their community. Currently in the works is a series of GRITTYGIRLS seminars aimed at tweens and teens. “We want to teach girls what grit means,” Nowlan said. “Every girl has those hard moments, where she feels imperfect, where she faces peer pressure. We want girls to know that life isn’t perfect and they don’t need to expect it to be either. We want to teach them to celebrate the imperfections to find their strength and to give them tools to help them to succeed while facing tough moments so they are set up to be gritty women.”
GRACEDBYGRIT is sold both online and in the flagship store at 153 N. Coast Highway 101, Suite 103 in Solana Beach. They also recently opened a pop-up location in The Shoppes at Carlsbad at 2525 El Camino Real. For more about the company and its founders as well as to see the full product line, visit www.gracedbygrit.com.