I can personally attest to the quality and function of Rheign activewear. A 2014 trip to St. Andrews, Scotland, found me playing tourist searching for the perfect logo souvenir keepsake.
After seeing much of the same, I stumbled on a Rheign half-zip, long sleeve top with the St. Andrews logo subtlety embroidered on the sleeve. Magenta and navy blue. It’s a great mid layer – I wore it for much of the rest of the trip and it’s still one of my go-to pieces.
Now I find that my path crosses with Rheign again, and it has a nice story. According to Rheign’s creator, Hazel Whatley, a young, self-proclaimed creative type, she plays golf and felt much of the female golf wear was rather old-fashioned and not something we could wear away from the golf course.
“Typically women buy clothes to play golf in but don’t get a great deal of wear or value from the golf-specific portion of our closets,” said Whatley.
Although the Rheign pieces – technical tops, hoodies, leggings, tees and down jackets – were originally designed for golfers, individuals are buying the functional clothing for skiing, running, horse riding, yoga and just casual wear.
“I wanted to make garments from high quality technical fabrics combined with a flattering fit and a design which makes them not only for sports for also feel lovely to wear,” said Whatley.
Did we mention Whatley is one of those ‘all in’ entrepreneurs? After she secured funding for the first range of half-zip tops, she gave up her day job and began going out selling to places like Gleneagles, Loch Lomond and Fairmont Hotels. She designed the Rheign website – which is fully capable of shipping to the U.S. – creates all the marketing materials, and even models when necessary.
Whatley moved the company from southwest Scotland to Gloucestershire, England this year with the goal of expanding. I had to ask Whatley why she thinks Rheign can find a niche in the very saturated women’s activewear marketplace.
“I feel that being a small company we have quite a lot of pull compared to some of the larger brands such as Nike, lululemon and adidas,” said Whatley. “We can interact with our customers more closely and respond to what they want and what they’d like to see in new product and collections. I have a very close handle on the quality of our products as well, and that’s paramount,” she added.
I assumed Rheign was a catchy way of spelling rain – since that’s what it does a lot in Scotland. But it has nothing really to do with climate conditions. Whatley simply liked the way the letters looked together.