Since launching her ethically and sustainably minded athleisure brand Exiza last year, Reagan Bregman has quickly generated a healthy fan following and social media buzz for her brand’s stylish-chic look and buttery-soft fit, as well as its empowerment of women of all shapes and sizes.
As Bregman told CultureMap when her brand launched, Exiza (pronounced ex-see-zah) focuses on exercise and the active lifestyle not for vanity, but for self-care. Exiza’s signature flatlock seam stitching means the clothes can be worn all day — whether it’s exercise, errands, or evenings at home.
Now, the biz-minded Bregman, whose degree is in marketing and who spent time at Google and Oracle, has launched a new Exiza line called Breaking Barriers (find it here) that honors women all over who do everything from shattering ceilings and launching companies, to managing kids and homes.
The new, summer-focused line is made with the brand’s same ultra-soft fabrics but with a focus on neutral colors: black, latte, olive, and slate.
Shoppers can look for two types of leggings: criss-cross and ultra-high-waist. Other items include lightweight spaghetti-strap crop tops and biker shorts — perfect for searing temps. All these can be topped with the new quarter-zip jacket, which is made with breathable fabric for warm days and those (occasional) breezy summer nights.
CultureMap caught up with Bregman to talk her new line and how she’s managing her growing company, and how she and husband Astros all star Alex Bregman are preparing for Baby Bregman, who’s due this summer.
CultureMap: Congratulations on the new line. First, how are you feeling as you approach the big date?
Reagan Bregman: Thank you! I feel as good as I could at the moment, you know what I mean? Like, I’m feeling pretty good for it being the third trimester.
CM: And how is Alex doing with it? Is he freaking out, especially when he’s away on road trips?
RB: [laughs] Yeah, he’s not freaking too bad, just when he’s away on road games now. We’re getting really excited, like, we’re doing just the little things like watch videos or getting the baby room ready.
CM: You’re also excited about Exiza. Why did you choose now to add the brand?
RB: I wanted to add more to the line because we really wanted to go off of the feedback that we got from the first launch and we’ve only done one collection so far. So, we took a lot of different feedback from customers and we wanted to ramp it up a little bit and make everything fit and be even more comfortable. And we also wanted to introduce some more summer looks and color, and more neutrals and earthy tones.
CM: We love seeing your Instagram stories and posts with you in your Exiza gear and your bump. Have you heard from pregnant customers, too?
RB: I had a couple of women reach out to me, actually, for maternity and also for postpartum who were curious about the ultra-high waist leggings, and it's obviously great for the bump because it stretches so much. We’ve also had a bunch of people buy them for pregnancy which was great.
CM: So would there ever be an Exiza maternity line, now that you'll have first-hand experience with this?
RB: You know, yes, we are like in talks right now to create and design that.
CM: Why did you choose the name Breaking Barriers for the new line?
RB: Really, what we wanted to do was create a collection that kind of celebrated all of the women that we work with. We work with a lot of women-owned businesses. We have a lot of great ambassadors and models.
So, I just wanted to celebrate women with this line and so-called breaking barriers, because we know a lot of women who are breaking glass ceilings, in their careers or they’re very successful in male-dominated fields or they are starting companies, or they are super moms who do everything.
We’re also going to have to have some videos from some of those women who work with our company and have them talk about how they’re breaking barriers. We wanted to do something meaningful and have a lot more to it and really get behind what the brand actually stands for.
CM: Do you see that as a trend in fashion, celebrating fellow women?
RB: You know, I think for a long time, it wasn’t really about that. And it was marketing for brands with this kind of distance from the customer. I think as of recently, at least in the last couple of years, a lot of brands have noticed that customers are looking for more than just like a cute set of athletic wear. People actually care about what’s going on behind the brand and the meaning behind what they’re doing as a brand.
So, I think that’s why we see a lot of brands popping up that are donating to charities or are helping — they have a mission behind them. I think that’s where people really want to get involved: they want to stand behind that mission. Once you find a brand that you align with, you’re more likely to kind of stick with that.
I think that women love it. And personally, I like to shop at brands that I believe in and if I like the mission and if I stand behind the brand, I’m more likely to be a repeat customer and really wear their clothes a lot. So, I think that’s something that’s going to continue for a long time.
And, I think the brands that aren’t doing it are going to have more difficult of a time marketing to the consumer these days, just with the amount of brands that are doing so much good in the world.
CM: Are there some brands out there that you think are doing it right and maybe even inspired you when you started?
RB: I really like Girlfriend Collective, that was a cool athletic wear brand — I liked what they were doing when we were first starting. I also like Outdoor Voices a lot. Those two, I felt, were kind of changing the industry a little bit and when I was starting my brand, I wanted to really do something different that stood out like that.
CM: Online shopping is really starting to trend towards building community. Do you see Exiza one day being a place where women are hopping on and just talking about being moms, or things important to women?
RB: That’s something we definitely want to work towards. We want to build a community around our brand, because I think that’s where a lot of the impact comes from, whenever you can really build a strong community.
So, we’re focused on doing that locally first and that’s through our ambassador program. We work with some nutritionists and fitness instructors that are local to Houston and they’re really behind what we stand for as a brand and they’re starting to create that community.
Our goal is to grow that and have people hopping on to chat and to engage and connect online — because our business is solely online — and we’re all direct-to-consumer right now. So, we definitely want to foster communities in social media and online.
CM: How has it been operating in the sustainable, ethical route, given the supply chain issues?
RB: I would not say it’s easy. It’s just very difficult to navigate all of that. There are things that I will go looking for that will be out of stock, like thread. We need to make our garments and it’ll be fully out of stock, and the color that we need, and no sign of getting it back anytime soon.
Since we were doing it ethically, it limits our options a lot more because we want to be really thorough and research who we are getting stuff from, and I think it just limits us a lot. Recently, it seems like it’s getting a little bit worse. So that’s something we're just trying to work around as a company.
CM: Are you like one of those founder-CEOs who is on top of everything, from thread to style to products?
RB: Yes, I am involved in every part of the process right now because we do everything ourselves, like picking out the thread and the colors and the fabric. So, pre-production, all the way to the marketing and influencers and all that — shipping, distribution — we do ourselves. That’s been fun to get to learn about all the aspects of the business.
CM: Alex has his Breggy Bomb food line and you two have the horses. You’re both very business savvy. Did you bond because of that, or did it just happen organically?
RB: Organically — it wasn’t something that I knew when I first met him, and it definitely wasn’t something he knew about me because I was working full-time and living in a different city. I think it really came out, honestly, during the pandemic because we had a lot more time.
We started to realize we both have the same interest in business, which is cool. It’s been really fun because we get to work on a lot of things together.
CM: Speaking of working together, will there ever be an Exiza/Breggy Bomb collab?
RB: You know, that is a great idea — I need to talk to someone about that!