Purdue alumni have built a cult following with apparel designed to suit all body types
Sisters Chloe Chamberlain and Taylor Chamberlain-Dilk didn’t necessarily plan to start a movement when they founded activewear company Balance Athletica – now known as Vitality – with Taylor’s husband, Steve.
At the time, the three Purdue graduates weren’t even sure what they wanted their new family business to sell.
“We didn’t know what it would be at first, but we knew we wanted to start one as sisters and as a family,” says Chamberlain (BS organizational leadership ’20), the company’s chief of design.
Evolution is taking intentional steps towards being better every single day,” Steve (BS biochemistry ’15) explains in the press release announcing the brand refresh. “Whether it’s a large step or a small step, what matters most is you are moving forward.Steve Dilk (BS biochemistry ’15)
Chief Operating Officer
Initially, they might not have imagined that their new business would develop a cult following or that they would someday show off collections at New York Fashion Week, but that’s exactly what happened. And their rapid success is not simply the product of being at the right place at the right time during the athleisure boom that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company found a niche with its embrace of inclusivity, creating stylish and comfortable apparel and swimwear that flatter all body types and are available in sizes ranging from XXS to 4XL. Their efforts to build community within their customer base — “bringing together people of different shapes, sizes, backgrounds and experiences to create a more inclusive culture for all,” as the company’s website explains — clearly resonated, with Vitality developing loyal fans who snap up the brand’s new collections immediately after they hit the shelves.
Industry analysts and insiders have taken note.
In 2021, fashion platform Runway 7 invited Vitality to participate in its New York Fashion Week showcase for independent designers and renowned brands. Chloe created the company’s Panorama Collection to debut at the prestigious event at New York’s Sony Hall.
Meanwhile, Forbes Magazine selected Chloe, Taylor and Steve for its prestigious 2022 30 Under 30 list honoring the top young professionals in the North American retail and e-commerce market. In the blurb honoring the three Boilermakers, Forbes marveled at how their company’s sales skyrocketed from zero to $36 million within three years.
Purdue helped us become balanced people,” Chloe says. “We became communicators, leaders and entrepreneurs with the help of our educations. We want to continue to impact others’ lives and the community we’ve created.Chloe ChamBerlain (BS Organizational Leadership ’20) Chief Of Design
The family business that started with unclear expectations has quickly become an incredibly successful story of DIY entrepreneurship. It’s a story rooted in their experiences at Purdue. “Purdue helped us become balanced people,” Chloe says. “We became communicators, leaders and entrepreneurs with the help of our educations. We want to continue to impact others’ lives and the community we’ve created. We always are working to be better versions of ourselves and to find our own balance in work, business and life. We hope others can find the same.”
The sisters grew up in a household that valued fitness. Their mom had been a Denver Broncos cheerleader. Their dad was a bodybuilder.
Wanting to follow in their footsteps, Taylor (BS nutrition and dietetics ’15) eventually chose a health-related major.
“Fitness was ingrained into our lifestyle ever since I can remember,” says Taylor, Vitality’s chief executive officer. “Seeing my parents compete in bodybuilding sparked my own passion to pursue that. I enjoyed learning about nutrition and thought, ‘Why not become a dietitian?’”
While in college, she launched a social media channel to inspire others through her own fitness journey, sharing recipes and training clients. She ultimately earned a personal training license, becoming a trainer at Purdue’s France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center.
In time, Taylor and her sister attempted the giant leap of building a health-related style business.
“After we both graduated, I started to become a fitness influencer on Instagram, and knew I had a passion to create some sort of business that could make an impact on countless people,” Taylor says. “Chloe and I saw a gap in the athletics industry for high-quality, reasonably priced athleticwear that would fit all shapes, sizes and backgrounds.”
They evaluated other athleticwear companies and knew they could make the industry more inclusive, so they decided to introduce a workout brand that appealed to all body types.
“We came up with the mission to unite men and women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds to form a culture of inclusivity and help people find their own balance in life — whatever that may be for them,” Chloe says. That mission is embedded in the March 22 brand refresh that included the name change from Balance Athletica to Vitality. In announcing the change, the company also vowed to upgrade its fulfillment operations and customer service and to incorporate eco-friendly packaging and fulfillment practices in 2022 and beyond.
“Evolution is taking intentional steps toward being better every single day,” Steve (BS biochemistry ’15) explains in the press release announcing the brand refresh. “Whether it’s a large step or a small step, what matters most is you are moving forward. We know that if we are taking steps every day, collectively as a team, and as long as we are holding each other accountable to take those steps, we are going to evolve. The change to Vitality embodies this evolution and elevation as a brand, and we are in a magnificent position to take everything to the next level.”
Judging by the massive following the family has built for their brand, their message has connected with its intended audience. If Vitality experiences the same steady growth over the next few years as it has since the Purdue graduates launched the company out of Chloe’s garage in 2018, the sky is the limit.