Rhoback: From Idea to Startup in a Year

By Jay Hodgkins


The founders of Rhoback didn’t wait until graduation from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business to start their company. Instead, Kristina Loftus (Class of 2017) and her husband, Matt Loftus (MBA ’16), used the assets of the School and the i.Lab at UVA Incubator program to launch their “Under Armour meets Vineyard Vines” line of high-end active wear right away.

Learn more about their story and see the evolution of Rhoback’s products from idea to ready to wear in this Darden featured video or read more in UVA Today’s recent coverage of their success.

"“We were a big group of active guys sweating through our button-down shirts and khakis with each activity. We wanted something more sweat-wicking, but fun and stylish,” Loftus said. “We saw there was a space for an activewear brand targeting the higher-end male.”

Once Loftus and Zambelli were both enrolled at Darden, they began preparations to design and launch their own clothing line, Rhoback, inspired by the Rhodesian Ridgeback, a dog breed that, as the now-married Kristina Loftus put it, “is always craving activity.”

“That is our motto and that is what we are inspired by,” she said. “You don’t have to be a supreme athlete to wear Rhoback; you can just be thinking about playing tennis or golf, craving that active lifestyle.”

The couple conducted research among their classmates, prototyped designs for polos, T-shirts, hats, athletic shorts and more, designed their website and began negotiations with manufacturers.

“The Darden community has been amazing,” Matt Loftus said. “It feels like we’ve interviewed the whole school; they’ve felt fabrics, they told us how they liked their shirts to feel and look.”"
UVA Today
About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

Press Contact

Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia
ZunzS@darden.virginia.edu
+1-434-924-7502