Live Fit. CEO Randall Pich combined his passion for fitness, skateboarding, and Southern California culture to strike the perfect notes for his lifestyle apparel brand.
By Mike Carlson
Southern California has been a muse for great fitness minds since the very first surfboards and bikinis hit the sand. Joe Weider was the first to package and sell the SoCal zeitgeist of beautiful tanned bodies bathed in the natural golden light. Live Fit. founder and CEO Randall Pich has a decidedly more urban aesthetic than Joe Weider, but the influence of West Coast beach and street culture has been just as profound for the 28-year-old fashion entrepreneur.
Pich is a former amateur Physique competitor and was a very good one. His design aesthetic is a love letter to the eclectic physical lifestyle that becomes so enmeshed in Southern California kids that things like skating, surfing, and fitness cease to be hobbies and becomes an identity.
Mike Carlson: Cal style?
Randall Pich: I grew up in Long Beach on the east side. When we were young, skateboarding was the thing here. Growing up with that has influenced our style. That whole California vibe is what we represent. That is all I know, personally. We are not just following trends in the fitness industry—if you look around, we are completely different from anyone else—but we fall alongside a certain skate-type of brand. At the end of the day, Live Fit. is a lifestyle brand.
MC: What are Live Fit.’s flagship products?
RP: I think our snapbacks and T-shirts, the general skateboarding streetwear pieces. We are not so extravagant on the cut-and-sew with different crazy fashion pieces. We like to put out what we grew up with and what you see in California: simple text on T-shirts. Fairly clean and simple looks. What skaters wear.
MC: A few years back, skate culture and gym culture were almost antithetical. How were you able to bring skaters and muscleheads together?
RP: Our generation, all the young dudes who grew up in the early 2000s, were skating and surfing at the time. That is also when bodybuilding was huge, with Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler. As we grew up, we realized that we can’t skate the rest of our lives, because our limbs were hurting, so we found fitness. That is when Physique started booming as well. And since skaters and surfers don’t have huge muscles like bodybuilders, we found Physique competitions. I think it all just fell together. If you ask a lot of Physique competitors today, most of them will tell you that when they were young they skated or surfed. It has just evolved in that way.
MC: What does Live Fit. represent to the people who wear it?
RP: I think it’s a place where people connect to fitness without being a crazy enthusiast or a bodybuilder. You want to live a well-balanced lifestyle. That could mean the gym or it might mean surfing or rock climbing or being outdoors. Live Fit. is a connection to that culture.
MC: Do a lot of your sales come from the fitness community?
RP: Yes, I would say most of our consumers are people who are hitting the gym every day and are about that type of lifestyle. And a lot of Physique competitors are wearing our stuff as well, even ones that aren’t sponsored by us. You see a lot of Live Fit. in the NPC division and amateur athletes rocking our boardshorts.
MC: Have you seen Live Fit. pop up in in unexpected places?
RP: Definitely. We have a lot of Major League Baseball players wearing our stuff. We just saw Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers rocking one of our Live Fit. shirts on Fox News. We have a couple NFL guys wearing it. Former New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford is a huge LVFT supporter. We have some big-name DJs, too, like DJ Chuckie from the Netherlands. It’s out there and not necessarily just in the fitness industry.
MC: The phrase “fitness apparel” has some infamous connotations. Do you feel you have to live down mesh tanks and baggy pants?
RP: We are slowly changing that perception. Before Live Fit., the other brands that were out there were just like stringers and baggy sweats, more bodybuilding style. Live Fit. doesn’t even make a stringer. We have regular tank tops and stuff that you can wear out.
MC: Are Live Fit. clothes cut for fitter bodies?
RP: Our cuts are more on the simple side. Our T-shirts are cotton with polyester blends so they’re more form-fitting. The clothes aren’t made specifically for fitness, but we want our customers to be comfortable enough to wear it in the gym as well as outside the gym.
MC: What do you look for in Live Fit.-sponsored athletes?
RP: This is the number-one question I get at expos and all over social media. It’s not about being a pro athlete or placing first in competitions. You don’t necessarily have to be a competitor. What we look for is how are they influencing the community around them. That is the biggest part.
MC: Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?
RP: I would say try to go out and experience the most you can. The industry is always changing. It can change tomorrow or in a week. The best thing that you can do is be there and experience it. And when you’re trying to start something new, create something that is you. That’s what I did. I only knew skating, surfing, and fitness, so that’s what I did.
MC: How do you find time to train and run a multimillion-dollar business?
RP: Funny you say that. There were some rough times when I had meeting after meeting and my workouts just fell apart. But we just moved into a big warehouse four months ago. So first we built a skatepark just for me to skateboard a little bit, then later we got a meal-prep company to come stock our fridge. A couple weeks ago I started building a private gym downstairs. These past few months I’ve been able to get my workouts back on track. I don’t really have any excuses. Who knows? Maybe I’ll compete again.