Finish Line Launches Paiva

Apr 19, 2006 4:16 AM  By

Several years ago officials at Indianapolis-based athletic gear merchant Finish Line realized they weren’t serving a key customer: the active woman. But that’s no longer the case. In mid-April the company launched Paiva (pronounced pie-va), a catalog, a Website, and what will soon be a chain of stores offering upscale athletic gear for women.

The first Paiva store opened April 14 in Austin, TX. Other Paiva stores slated to open this spring will be in Natick, MA; Annapolis, MD; the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN; and Seattle. The company mailed 200,000 catalogs to a mix of house file and prospected names.

Paiva targets “young, active upscale women looking for a blend of sport performance and style,” says Kevin Flynn, senior vice president of marketing for Finish Line. “We’ve conducted a lot of market research and various focus groups to determine exactly what this customer wants. We have also met with, visited and discussed this with many of the players who are already in this business, including our brand partners, in order to learn as much as we could before we even opened our first store. What we discovered is that this is a very underserved market.”

Flynn says Paiva will offer brands such as Nike, Adidas, Asics, Brooks, and Puma along with “designer” brands such as Adidas by Stella McCartney, Biella, and Nuala. The product mix also includes yoga and lifestyle brands such as Marika, Mari Dade, Prana, and Three Dot. “In addition, we will have a private-label collection called Paiva Essentials that includes fashion fitness basics. The prices range from $16 to $625, giving us price points for every consumer.”

The name, incidentally, refers to a Finnish sun deity. “The inspiration of our store focuses around light and energy, and ‘Paiva’ is a word that encompasses both of these elements,” Flynn says.