The ‘80s came back in 2016. And OK, they’re, like, totally here to stay thanks to gal pal Lisa Binderow. The CEO and founder of New York City-based nicepipes apparel created these gnarly leg and arm warmers yoga enthusiasts love wearing to the max.
“Our warmers extend the seasonal length of your cropped pants and tops so you can wear your favorite workout wardrobe pieces all year long,” said Binderow.
But nicepipes are not your mother’s knitted warmers a la Fame and Flashdance. Barf me out. These wicked warmers of the new millennium are made from the same high-tech fabric as workout pants. They wick away sweat, block ultraviolet light and sport a Sun Protection Factor, SPF, of 50. That means they block out nearly all UVB rays. nicepipes also offer compression, which supposedly prevents muscle strain by keeping muscles warm, helps relieve pain from stiffness and soreness, prevents chafing and rashes and provides other performance benefits.
Binderow founded nicepipes in October 2014. She’s since sold about 4,000 units, grossing $100K in sales. Her goods are manufactured in Los Angeles and cost about $10 each to produce and retail for $38 to $46. They’re sold mainly online and at 40 studios and gyms across the country.
Binderow pitched her leg and arm warmers on Shark Tank in January 2017. Despite how rad the warmers look, the Sharks just said no to such a niche product. It’s targeting cold people who prefer wearing cropped pants and short-sleeved shirts. Instead of spending the same amount on full-length pants and long-sleeved shirts, these yuppies only want to cover their calves and forearms.
A Totally Gnarly Idea
Binderow, a former yoga teacher at YogaWorks, came up with the idea for her products while walking to class one cold day in New York City.
“I was freezing cold in my cropped pants,” Binderow explains. “I did not want to go out and buy full-length leggings for the winter. And the old school knit leg warmers of the past always slip and feel terrible after a sweaty workout.
“So, I designed nicepipes, leg warmers made from performance fabric that I could wear before, during, and after any workout. I wore them in the studios and so many teachers and students wanted their own pipes, I started a business.”
Binderow had no background in retail nor clothing manufacturing and had to learn everything on the fly.
“I spent a lot of time walking around fabric stores looking for the perfect fit and visiting factories in the garment district to find a production partner,” Binderow said. “It was like learning a whole new language, terms like ‘yield,’ ‘allowance’ and ‘TOPs’ were being thrown around and I just had to try and keep up.
“I spent a lot of time researching subjects before I could make any decision. It definitely slowed me down. But it was an amazing education.”
Aside from the Yoga Journal Conference, nicepipes has been featured on the Today Show, major magazines like Self and Shape and a handful of other outlets.
“As soon as a customer tries on our pipes, they fall in love and want multiple pairs,” Binderow said. “That is my favorite moment, when I see someone have the ‘Aha’ moment and realize that these pipes are going to save them this winter.
“I really hate being hate being cold. And the pipes keep me so warm. Introducing this new cozy layer into their lives keeps me motivated on bad days.”
Going on Shark Tank was the scariest thing she’s ever done in her life.
“I am not an extroverted person and thinking about putting myself in such a vulnerable situation still makes my heart jump,” Binderow said. “The biggest thing I gained from being on the show is totally unrelated to my business.
“Facing my fear and proving to myself that I could perform under that pressure has given me a new sense of self-worth.”