Zyphr Apparel was born out of one man’s dream to impel Hong Kongers to become more active. Read the story of how he’s using his sportswear brand to help people look good and feel good while exercising.
Hong Kong native Jason Yau’s love for sports spurred him to launch his own premium sportswear label Zyphr Apparel in January 2018, aged 24. Now five collections in, the range can be found via the brand’s online shop as well as across 15 locations in gyms, retail spaces and private clubs. Named after Zephyr – the Greek god of the gentle west wind – to represent freedom, Jason explains, “We want everyone to be expressive and do what they want. In Hong Kong especially, there’s this preconception about exercising and people are unmotivated all the time, so we want to get people out and active. Nowadays, you don’t work out just to look good, but to feel good too. Our mission is to bring everyone in and promote positivity in Hong Kong’s fitness industry.”
Inspired by his years spent studying abroad in England and the U.S., Jason wanted to produce a homegrown, Hong Kong sportswear brand that offered quality products at mid-range prices. He did his homework researching different fabrics, selecting premium materials with features like moisture management, UV protection, anti-pilling and longer-lasting dye. To ensure the quality of the material, the three Guangzhou manufacturers he works with provide lab test reports. “So when you sweat, it doesn’t feel heavy, and you can perform freely because of the fabric’s lightness,” says Jason. “Honestly, if you don’t feel anything when you wear our sportswear, that’s exactly what we want to create because we just want you to feel free.”
Defining his brand’s exact proposition was something that took trial and error. “When you first start a brand, you have no idea where you’re to go so you have to at least put something out there first to understand the consumer feedback and see how the market reacts. Then you can change things based on that,” says Jason. What that looked like initially were just some simple tank tops at cheap prices. Now, he explains, “Our priority is the performance and functional side, and also the price range. Whether you’re an athlete or just someone who wants to be active, we want to create sportswear that you can wear on the streets or at the gym freely and comfortably.”
Having found his direction along the way, Jason encourages aspiring entrepreneurs not to hold back. “It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in – if you never execute your idea, it will never work. So it’s about helming the idea and working on it every single day. Once you see there are opportunities, you have to grab them because if you don’t go for it, it’ll never happen. And timing is very important because if you hesitate, then you kind of lose it. But it’s very exciting. Every single day is different.”
This year, Jason’s looking to double down on his partnerships with gyms as well as focus on growing his brand online by working with different platforms including HKTVmall, all in a quest to be as inclusive as possible. As he puts it, “Zyphr is beyond selling apparel – it’s about building communities and pulling different brands, athletes, and visionaries into the fitness industry. It’s not about competing with one another. It’s about providing a platform of options for people in Hong Kong to be more active.”