OC Register / Apparel company's a perfect fit for founder

October 13, 2016

OC Register / Apparel company's a perfect fit for founder

Put simply, Randall Pich needed to make a decision. Something, one thing, needed to go.

In one arena of his life, he was approaching the finish line of a grueling race. In another, he was barely positioning his feet in the blocks.

But the newest pursuit came with a much grander prize.

Pich, 26, is the founder and CEO of Live Fit. Apparel, a fitness clothing company birthed and based in Long Beach.

An alum of Wilson High School, Pich found himself on the path most desired by his family, but least desired personally. Faced with the choice of finishing his degree at Cal State Long Beach or diving into his career, Pich ditched the textbooks and careened into the business world.

In a little more than a year, Pich has seen his brand grow to heights he never anticipated. And though he’s unsure what the next step will be, he is sure of its direction – up.

Pich made it to his sixth year at CSULB before reality intervened.

“I didn’t finish school because it was make it or break it with my company, and my personal training had really taken off,” he said. “I was being pulled in all different directions.”

After graduating from Wilson in 2007, Pich became a personal trainer at Bally Total Fitness while majoring in kinesiology. But when Bally filed for bankruptcy, and sold more than 200 of its locations in 2011 and 2012, Pich was laid off – the first of several blessings in disguise.

He began his own personal training business, maintaining his client base from Bally and operating out of local gyms.

“I was confident I could do this on my own and working independently gave me a lot more freedom,” Pich said. “I had time to build my brand on the side.”

That brand was Live Fit. Apparel.

Pich said that as a kid, aside from dabbling with skateboarding, he was interested in graphic design. Later in his personal training business, Pich began to design and produce apparel for his clients, with his own personal slogan, “Live fit.”

“It was something I wanted my clients to live by, just to live fit,” he said. “And that targets everything, a whole active lifestyle.”

Pich’s apparel began to gain recognition outside of his personal client base, which created a demand for the clothing in local gyms where Pich trained. In short, Pich took a tiny snowball and kicked it down the hill.

“I just saw it as I had something good and I had to keep it going,” he said. “I had to keep the momentum going and see where it goes.”

Pich dropped out of CSULB with only six units left to complete before earning his degree.

“I’ve seen people, my friends, start their own businesses and make money not doing the route that everyone else did, but by doing what they like to do and making money with it,” Pich said. “My family said I had to go to school, but in my head, that’s just not how it works now. It’s a new generation, with social media and other avenues.

“School, I was just over it.”

Pich originally designed and distributed Live Fit. Apparel out of his bedroom in his family’s house in east Long Beach in early 2013. But in June of that year, with the operation continuing to expand, he moved to a warehouse in Signal Hill.

In March, Pich moved to a bigger warehouse in the same complex.

Since 2013, Pich has expanded the company from a staff of one to a staff of 10. In addition, Live Fit. is sold in 30 retail locations across Southern California, Texas and Pennsylvania, and it maintains accounts in Australia, Sweden and soon, Malaysia.

The company sells everything from sweatshirts and athletic shorts to hats and socks. With summer approaching, Live Fit. will next launch its own line of sunglasses.

“I didn’t think it would happen at this pace,” Pich said. “I’ve always had a vision of where I would be, and you have to set goals. But I didn’t think I’d accomplish my goal so quick.”

Alex Zerega, 28, is the lead women’s apparel designer, as well as spokeswoman for Live Fit. Apparel. She is also a bikini physique competitor.

Zerega and Pich are both nationally qualified competitors in the amateur bodybuilding organization National Physique Committee and met through a mutual friend before Pich, looking for some help, brought Zerega in.

“I heard about Live Fit. when it first started out. But now, there is just such a demand for it, it’s ridiculous,” Zerega said. “People will buy anything he puts out there. It went from some shirts he made for his friends to me not being able to go places without seeing someone wearing it.”

Zerega said that similar to other trends in the younger generation, fitness competitions, as well as gym apparel, are becoming exponentially more popular.

“Fitness is at its biggest right now,” said Zerega, a native of Lakewood and former Lakewood High softball player. “Everyone in the gym is competing now. I think this is why this works. You don’t go to the gym in your oldest clothes anymore. People care how they look in the gym now.”

Pich can’t – and won’t – overlook his upbringing as a key factor in his success.

“When I grew up, you were either going to gangbang, skateboard, play ball or you weren’t going to make it. But whatever you were, you had a hustle. I grew up on the poor side of Long Beach,” he said. “My mom went to work, and we had to fend for ourselves at home. So I always had that hustler’s mentality.

“That’s just the culture you get here in Long Beach. Everyone is street smart and a hustler.”

Pich has had slight visions of a storefront, but that’s further down the line. At this point, he’s focused on continuing to expand the brand, using that one warehouse in the middle of Long Beach; five minutes away from his high school, 10 minutes away from where he started the company in his childhood home and a freeway-less drive from what nearly stood between him and his current dynasty.

“School will always be here, but this opportunity won’t,” Pich said. “And I’m glad I chose this.”

Contact the writer: bwatson@lbregister.com or Twitter: @brantley_watson


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