Redesigning Career Goals: How a Medical Device Professional Launched Apparel Company Varlo Sports

Redesigning Career Goals: How a Medical Device Professional Launched Apparel Company Varlo Sports
Topics Choosing a Business Banking PartnerSmall Business LendingSuccess Stories

Having studied biomedical chemistry in school, Soj Jibowu set out on a career path in the medical device industry, where he worked for about 16 years.

Varlo 2A former Division I track and field athlete, Soj came across his first multi-sport race in Chicago in 2014 and was hooked. He would soon find himself having participated in more than 60 races, and that passion soon led to a career change.

“In the medical device space, I worked for a few different companies and made a good living, but I started to notice that I really wanted to be able to have impact and control of my destiny,” said Soj, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Varlo Sports. “I want to have an impact that originates with my vision. I have a deep passion for helping people and bringing value to them. I’ve always been interested in sports and apparel, so I decided to give it a shot, pursue my passion and bet on myself.”

That led to the launch of Varlo – derived from the word Valor, which means courage in the face of the unknown – a sports apparel company that focuses primarily on performance and recreation for cycling and triathlons.

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“A colleague of mine started a business right around the same time as I did,” said Soj. “I remember speaking to him and he was explaining how he worked with WSFS for a loan for his bike shop and he raved over how WSFS and its Associates were amazing.”

“At the time I was searching for a bank for my business to get a loan for a vehicle purchase,” he added. “As a new business owner, you’re looking for a few things like loan terms and relationships. I didn’t expect it to be so simple working with WSFS. Everyone was so warm and welcoming.”

Since launching, Varlo has established a team of designers, textile engineers and athletes to provide best-in-class performance gear. Recognizing the importance of relationships, Soj continued to build Varlo while making connections in the industry and with his banking team at WSFS.

“We work with our customers to provide apparel for recreational and performance use, but what we really excel at is the empowerment of the Customer in reaching their goals for tomorrow,” said Soj.

Soj would soon find his desire to help others reach their goals was met with a similar passion from his team at WSFS when it came to accomplishing his business goals.

Varlo 3“Convenience is massive, and you want to work with people who make your world easier. I’ve seen all of that at WSFS,” said Soj. “Our banker has come to our offices to help us. In our business, we move extremely fast and having the flexibility of a bank that can move at that pace is huge.”

“Relationships are critical in banking and when owning and operating a business,” said John Stefankiewicz, VP, Retail Office Manager at WSFS’ Cherry Hill West Banking Office. “It’s been amazing to watch Soj and his team build and grow Varlo over the past few years, and we look forward to continuing to help them reach and surpass their goals.”

“Terms, flexibility, all those things are important when choosing a bank, but those intangibles like relationships and working with a bank that wants to see you do well really matter,” Soj added. “WSFS really excels at the relationship side of things. It makes the banking fun and is almost like you’re banking with your buddies.”

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