We’ve heard it before: when it comes to work, follow your passion. In August 2014, Montreal’s Jeremy Bresnen and co-founder Mike Giles did just that with the launch of Ciele Athletics, a brand that focuses on the running lifestyle and its community, “starting at the top” with a running cap.
Both come from design backgrounds, bringing more than 15 years of entrepreneurial experience – Bresnen with his passion for technical clothing and Giles designing furniture. They always wanted to find the right project on which to work together. Their combined experience fuelled this next phase in their friendship.
But these aren’t your runof-t he-mill running c aps. Designed to perform, they’ve found a following with runners looking for run-ready performance and maybe a little style as well – whether out running or grabbing coffee. With an impressive Instagram following, t heir global awareness has furthered their reach, and they’ve built a big following and collaborations with other prestige brands like Stance.
When I got back into running, I couldn’t find something that was well thought out technically, and then if I did, I didn’t want to be seen wearing it. And from a business standpoint, there was no evolution to the standard caps, so there was space in the market.
OK – but it’s just a cap. What separates Ciele from the rest of the competition?
Well, no one was paying attention to the fact that heat rises; we all sweat from the top of our heads. Our solution: COOLwick mesh on the top and the side of our hats. And because in Canada the evenings get dark starting in September, we’ve added ref lective detailing. They also have a soft brim that is easy to pack; they’re machine washable, comfortable, cool and stylish. And we also stand behind our caps with our Million Mile Guarantee.
The culture of running is an important driving force. Why?
Running has this great culture of community and it’s also something you could do on your own. Our view of running is that everybody runs – it’s very inclusive. Ciele is focused on the connection and disconnection you get out of running. It really is a lifestyle, and our caps ref lect this.
What does success look like?
I could tell you that we want to make money, but the brand is our driving force, not sales. We believe if we build a really great brand and it interacts with the community, then sales will follow.
We launched our Everybody Run app (available on iOS only for the moment). It’s community-based and it’s about getting people together and interacting in the running community the world over. Curated by runners, wherever you are, you’ll be able to find or plan running events, clinics, coaches, even find a great spot where run crews go for a beer after their run in your hood. Beyond that, “we started at the top,” we’re not rushing into anything.
The disadvantage of starting a business based on things you love is, sometimes it changes your relationship with that passion. Now it’s about finding that place in my run where I disconnect from my day-to-day and find my rhythm. I’m getting there.—