Best friends who launched a wholesale sportswear brand five years ago to provide uniforms to soccer clubs are now turning over $10million with their stylish athletic gear.
Lisandro Paz and Benn Martiniello, who have known each other since they were five years old, created Elite Eleven Sporting in 2015 with no fashion design experience – just a mutual love of fitness between them.
‘We initially wanted to start our own gym however we then came up with the idea of starting a fitness brand as we both thought that we could provide our own little flavour to the products,’ Lisandro, 25, told FEMAIL.
The men from Melbourne, Victoria, started as a teamwear brand that did a lot of work with local soccer and football clubs, before they curated a website on Shopify in 2016 offering men’s tracksuits and t-shirts.
They would ‘sell out within weeks’ every time they released a new product, so a year later they moulded a women’s collection – which proved to be a massive hit.
‘We now have quite an extensive range which includes around 500 different men’s and women’s products,’ he said.
Pieces are fairly priced – with tracksuit bottoms at $45 and leggings starting from $50 – with customers likening the quality to that of designer label Lululemon.
Lisandro and Benn believe their success is down to minimalistic designs which align with current fashion trends, whether that be ribbed tights or ‘Teddy’ jackets.
‘Sometimes less is more and we really try to focus on the fit and the function of our pieces,’ Lisandro said.
Their long history as friends has also given them an almost ‘telepathic understanding’ of each other, so they use their strengths and weaknesses in business to their advantage.
The pair have worked hard for the past five years to build a name for themselves and it’s paying off – with each co-owner taking home six-figure salaries at the end of the year.
‘Benn and I believe that we have created a fun and engaging workplace for us and our employees,’ Lisandro said.
‘We have a table tennis table, a Nintendo/gaming setup, and a basketball ring which we use regularly and get the team around, setting up weekly tournaments to enhance the family vibe at the HQ, which is so important to us.
‘We also believe that this sort of working environment is perfect for a business that needs to stimulate free flowing ideas and new concepts on a regular basis.’
With spring just around the corner the Elite team are gearing up for a new collection and new colours to excite their customers, who wear the brand to the gym and beyond.