WOW Studios, a Seattle-based luxury technical sportswear companywhose award-winning team focuses on blending “old school” design philosophies with modern innovation, announces today its move to downtown Tucson, Arizona.
WOW Studios will lease 17,474 square feet at One East Toole Ave, former home of SinfoniaRx. The new facility will include both office/design studios and retail space. The relocation will add 50 jobs primarily in engineering, marketing, design and sales with an economic impact of $252 million over the next 10 years. The facility is scheduled to be operational in January 2021.
WOW Studios is led by co-founders Joey Rodolfo and Stacy Bennett, seasoned industry executives. Rodolfo, an accomplished sportswear designer, innovator, and entrepreneur, has created or designed some of America’s top menswear brands, including Bench Co. Ltd, Cutter & Buck, JR 1879, Resort II and Callaway Apparel Worldwide. Rodolfo has been credited as the designer who elevated the Tommy Bahama brand from being a “Hawaiian shirt company” to a full-line lifestyle collection brand. Bennett, a direct/digital marketing executive, has built multi-million dollar, direct-to-consumer programs at Amazon, Nordstrom, Clarisonic and Tommy Bahama.
The Buki Collection is the signature brand of WOW Studios. Buki offers luxury technical clothing and wardrobe essentials, crafted for comfort with state-of-the-art Japanese fiber and sustainably-sourced collagen fabric. These proprietary technical fibers contribute properties such as thermoregulation, moisture management, dynamic stretch and recovery, and more.
“My vision is to establish Tucson as the next hub of innovative design not just in fashion, but in health/wellness and wearable tech,” said Rodolfo. “Tucson is business-friendly and offers incredible partnership opportunities. I want to see how we can build a new industry in Tucson, attract suppliers and create the next generation of health and wellness products that make lives better. The environment is important to us – we believe in slow fashion with ethical production.”
“Arizona continues to attract innovative companies that are advancing new technologies and groundbreaking ideas,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “Thank you to WOW Studios for choosing to relocate their headquarters to Tucson and creating more new jobs in Southern Arizona.”
“Joey and I started talking several months ago, and I quickly realized what a great opportunity this was – to be on the cutting edge of innovation in this field,” said Joe Snell, president & CEO of Sun Corridor Inc. “It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a new industry here in Southern Arizona.”
“To bring Joey and his team to Tucson is a coup, and we hope the beginning of establishing Tucson as a destination for fashion design,” said Fletcher McCusker, chair, Rio Nuevo. “Downtown Tucson has to continue to evolve and this is a great step.”
“Here at the University of Arizona, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Norton School of Retailing and Consumer Science program and the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing have long supported this industry, graduating students with top-notch expertise covering every aspect of product development and operations,” said Dr. Robert C. Robbins, president, University of Arizona. “The University of Arizona is excited to partner with Joey in developing and advancing innovation in this space.”
“Tucson continues to attract emerging tech innovators, and WOW Studios is a very exciting addition to the Southern Arizona innovation ecosystem,” said Sandra Watson, president & CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “We’re grateful to Joey Rodolfo and his team for choosing Arizona and excited to see them succeed in our state!”
“We welcome Joey and his team at WOW Studios,” said Mayor Regina Romero, City of Tucson. “Downtown Tucson has a “cool” vibe that promotes innovation and creativity making it the perfect place for developing emerging technologies.”
“This is an exciting economic development opportunity at the ground floor,” said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. “We thank WOW Studios for their confidence and investment in Tucson.”
Partners in the project include Rio Nuevo, the University of Arizona, Arizona Commerce Authority, City of Tucson and Pima County.