Reinventing the Sportswear Industry with Innovation & Made in the USA
The Idea that Started the Sportswear Brand
The idea of creating a sports bra with a cell phone pocket for athletes began over a decade ago for Kim Highfield, owner and founder of SportPort and headquartered in Charlotte, NC. She believed there was a need for this in the sportswear marketplace. Kim always placed her cell phone inside her bra during workouts and took notice that other women were doing the same.
Being a health buff, she was aware of the potential dangers of storing a cell phone close to the body, so when designing the cell phone pocket in the sports bra she knew there would need to be a shield or protective barrier to protect the wearer from harmful electromagnetic frequency, (EMF), better known simply as “radiation”.
As Kim’s vision for this innovative sportswear company start-up began to take shape, she hit the ground running, designing and engineering the first athletic sports bra with a built-in protective cell phone pocket! The next question was where to manufacture this, domestically or overseas? For Highfield, she knew that USA-made meant higher skilled workers, better labor standards, cleaner factories, and better quality overall. With SportPort, quality was a priority, so Highfield’s decision was to stay domestic.
Innovating Sportswear with a Made in USA Company
Highfield’s innovative journey would take some years with many detailed steps before the first sports bra was accessible to market.
- Patent filed for first ever athletic sports bra with a built-in cell phone pocket to protect the wearer from electromagnetic frequency (EMF).
- SportPort partners with the highest skilled “cut & sew” manufacturers in the USA.
- Fabric selected, using only the highest grade USA-made technical compression fabric with Lycra spandex. Lycra is highly regarded for its elasticity properties, longevity and remarkable recovery, (no sagging or bagging).
- Team assembled of highly skilled experts and engineers for product design & development, selecting from the best in the industry at designing and engineering, in order to create one-of-a-kind patterns exclusive to SportPort Active.
- Garment testing took place with each sample undergoing rigorous on-athlete testing using a diverse group of athletes and body types to ensure custom fit, moisture management, chafe-resistance, zero pressure points, maximum compression recovery, cell phone security, anti-fade properties, and anti-odor resistance.
- Careful selection of custom colors, exclusively for SportPort, as well as hiring an artist for hand painted, one-of-a-kind prints and designs, while following the newest fashion trends for inspiration.
- Maintenance of strict specifications and guidelines during manufacturing, as the last phase of product creation before taking it to market. Quality control remains the key to ensure all SportPort compression garments meet the highest standards possible.
Innovation is More than a New Idea
Innovation usually starts with a need for something new or to enhance what already exists. Highfield wanted a safe cell phone pocket, for herself, and other female athletes. There was an identifiable need and Highfield was prepared to take on this challenge. Points of consideration as she developed a proprietary cell phone pocket with a protective barrier to help shield against potentially harmful electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation, included several factors.
- Cell phones are listed as a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization with research ongoing to investigate long-term risks of regular cell phone use. See Article: Cell Phone Radiation Fact Sheet
- Cell phone manufacturers and the FCC recommend keeping cell phones away from the body while not in use. See Article: Cell Phone Safety Distances
- SportPort pocket design: 4-way stretch stabilization to ensure different models of cell phones fit safely and securely during any type of workout. See Article: SportPort Garment Technology
- Need for raised awareness of cell phone risks while providing a safe storage alternative for active women. See Articles: SportPort Knowledge Base
List of Products Made in America (SportPort is in the Top 40)
SportPort hits the top 40! This was a proud moment for Highfield, being listed in the Top 40 Clothing Brands Made in America by MSN, because her company was being recognized for one of the pillars she built it on. There are many companies striving toward this same initiative. To stand out for innovative technology and performance designs, that are Made in USA, is not only rewarding, but also speaks to the SportPort brand. Manufacturing sportswear is forever changing, at warp speed, but this does not hinder Kim’s core belief; always strive for excellence, remain of the highest integrity, continue to be innovative and stay Made in USA.
Product of USA vs Made in USA | What is the Difference?
Do you know the difference between the terms Product of USA versus Made in USA?
- Made in USA, means that “all or virtually all” of the product is made in the United States.
- Product of USA does not have a domestic origin, it merely means the product is sold in the U.S.
Many brands are interested in the brand recognition that comes with Made in USA labels, many companies manipulate this claim to sound like their products are made domestically, when in fact they are not.
The cost of being truly Made in USA is much higher than abroad, so when a company falsely makes these claims, their focus is often profit-based, not quality-based. Consumers be aware!
For a product to be truly recognized as Made in USA, the FTC requires that “all or virtually all” (approx. 90%) of the product be made in the United States, including the processing and resources that go into the product itself, (i.e., logos, care labels, zippers, trims, fabrics, and labor…to name a few).
At SportPort, the process to maintain a Made in USA status has been our mission and goal, due to in part to U.S. factories being clean and safe with skilled workers, where language barriers do not play a factor in quality control, while stimulating the U.S. economy is a plus!
Tips for Supporting & Buying Made in USA Products
- Read labels carefully, looking specifically for “Made in USA”.
- Consult websites that list Made in USA companies, like list from Clark’s 100+ Brands that are American Made
- Contact the business or manufacturer directly to ask.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recognizes there are problems complying with Made in the USA standards and is cracking down on illegal practices of companies trying to benefit by false claims. Falsely labeling a product Made in USA is against the law, so marketers can work around this with terms like Product of USA or Manufactured in USA to imply a domestic origin without actually laying claim to it. Unfortunately, it is challenging to catch imposters so it is important for consumers to report companies to the FTC if they believe the company’s claims to be false.
Shop Sportswear from SportPort
Shop the innovative, first-of-its-kind SportPort sportswear items, including the sports bras and tops with the EMF-protective cell phone pocket, that are found in these popular, best-selling SportPort products:
- The first, original: SportPort Apex Compression Sports Bra w/ Pocket & Cell Phone EMF Protection
- The second, designer: SportPort Hibiscus Design Sports Bra w/ Pocket & Cell Phone EMF Protection
- The pants, go everywhere: SportPort Fitness Leggings or Yoga Pants w/ Side Zip Cargo Pockets
- The pants, designer: SportPort Hibiscus Fitness Leggings or Yoga Pants w/ Side Zip Cargo Pockets