When Daniel Plews crossed the finish line first in record time for the 35-39 year-old group at the Kona World IRONMAN Championships last year, it wasn’t just he who was celebrating his monumental achievement.
For Noor Aziz, the 49 year-old founder of Purpose Performance Wear – the company that makes the tri-suit that Plews chooses to compete in – it was a sweet victory, one that announced to the international triathlon community that his product had arrived and that the best endorsed it.
Purpose Performance Wear had been founded just three years earlier by Aziz, a Singaporean who had turned his back on a three-decade career in advertising and design, including roles as an executive creative director and managing director in various advertising agencies.
“I was going through a change in lifestyle and at the time I was running and cycling consistently,” he says. “Duathlon was a natural transition, bringing my love for running and cycling together, then triathlon came right after.”
The idea to design and manufacture performance wear for cycling and triathlon came to Aziz when he was attending a bicycle expo and he had become frustrated that he couldn’t find what he was looking for after trying on a number of products on the racks.
“It was then that I decided to combine my knowledge of what I know in design with what I love in cycling and triathlon,” says Aziz.
“They won’t go back to what they used to wear”Noor Aziz, founder of Purpose Performance Wear
And what Purpose has come up with has got the attention of not only a growing number of “weekend warriors” with a love for triathlon, but also elite amateur athletes like Plews looking for a performance wear product that stands up to the rigours of events like Kona (the pinnacle of triathlon that takes the best athletes eight hours to complete) and which also centres on fashion and style.
“Our tri-suits are functional, but at the same time, we understand that what a triathlete wears is also an extension of them in terms of taste,” Aziz explains. “I’m confident that once someone comes on-board and wears a Purpose, they won’t go back to what they used to wear.”
Indeed, the Purpose brand is growing a strong following in Vietnam already with approximately 50 triathletes expected to turn-out at the upcoming Techcombank IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships in Danang in May wearing their suits, while Purpose also teamed up with Trifactor as its merchandising partner at its recent inaugural triathlon in Vung Tau.
“The name Purpose came to me while I was vacationing on the island of Phu Quoc in Vietnam,” says Aziz, “so this expansion into Vietnam almost feels like a pilgrimage to me. It was the country where the brand was hatched and it’s the first country outside of Singapore and Malaysia to take us regional.”
According to Aziz, there’s a growing sense of community among Purpose wearers that he says almost “feels larger than the race itself.” The brand is not only building great products, but it’s endeavouring to link different groups, clubs and individuals together to form one single growing community.
“To me, that’s the larger goal of Purpose,” says Aziz.
Yet, while the brand’s popularity is booming, especially since Plews’ finish at Kona, there’s always the challenge of making things better, of which Aziz is keenly aware, and this is where the brand is leveraging its growing community to help it make those improvements.
“The feedback we’ve received from the community feels really good and, as a result, I think we’ve surpassed our competitors already in terms of build and quality. As for style, put it this way, we won’t be pushing out too many more standard black colour kits in the future.”
SPECIAL OFFER FOR TRIATHLETES:
Get 15% OFF purchases of Purpose Performance Wear tri-suits with this code THE-BUREAU-15 when checking out on their website at purpose.asia
All photos provided by Purpose Performance Wear