On land and on sea, Solana Beach’s Graced by Grit helps female athletes feel their best


What started as a run-inspired dream turned into reality when locals Kimberly Caccavo and Kate Nowlan officially opened Graced By Grit May 29 in Solana Beach.

Located on Highway 101, the shop offers a full line of sun-protective women’s athletic apparel.

“It’s very exciting,” said Caccavo, a Solana Beach resident, who co-founded the store with Nowlan. “We wanted to have a place where people could come in to feel and see the clothes.”

Both mothers of two, Caccavo and Nowlan first met at the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Dieguito’s Barbara Harper Branch in Solana Beach, where Nowlan worked as a swim coach. At the time, Caccavo was training for her first triathlon and hired Nowlan, who also worked as a local running coach.

The two quickly became close friends, and during a long run, noticed the lack of flattering yet functional workout wear for women. Soon after, Graced By Grit was born.

“There was a need for a fresh line,” added Nowlan, a Cardiff resident. “We were sick of seeing women wearing things that didn’t necessarily look good on them. We thought it would be great to design something that looked great on all different women.”

Caccavo, who has a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley and a master’s in business from UCLA, has worked in business for 30 years. Nowlan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has a background as an athlete and an athletic trainer.

Combining their expertise in athletics and business, Caccavo and Nowlan partnered with other industry professionals to design and manufacture pieces fit for land and sea.

“We decided that combination was great for running an athletic business,” Caccavo said.

The pair launched their line online with four pieces in September 2013. Since then, online and trunk sales have grown, and so has the Graced By Grit collection.

“We designed everything in here,” said Nowlan with a smile, as she looked around the new store. “It started with just four pieces when we launched the brand, and it grew from there.”

From tanks and jackets, to shorts and pants, the pieces are made for a variety of land and sea activities, including running, surfing, yoga and more.

The multipurpose pieces are made with imported Italian fabrics and manufactured in San Diego County. All apparel is UPF 50+ and comes with a safety whistle.

“We design for functionality and for safety, so all of our waistbands have a pocket in the front and the back that accommodate your smartphone, your keys — whatever you want to bring with you,” said Nowlan, noting that there is also a place for the safety whistle.

The brand’s name stems from rough patches both Caccavo and Nowlan have overcome. Acknowledging that every woman “has a gritty moment in her life,” they hope women “sweat their story” with Graced By Grit.

“The success of our trunk shows were sharing the intimate moments of our lives that were really tough,” Nowlan said. “Know that you can push through them. You can throw on a pair of leggings that make you feel really great, get out there and sweat your way through it.”

Graced By Grit is located at 153 N. Highway 101, Suite 103, in Solana Beach. The store is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call 877-XO-GRIT1 or visit gracedbygrit.com.

To support the new store, Graced By Grit has launched a crowd-funding campaign on Plum Alley. To donate, visit https://plumalley.co/campaigns/the-first-gracedbygrit-retail-store.