When a customer comes into the store and realizes they are talking to me, one of the most common questions I get is “Why did you start urbanfitco.?” It’s easy for me to give them one of my canned answers because it is a question I get so often. (I also want them to enjoy their shopping experience, and not feel like I am telling them my life story, so I give them something short and sweet. Lol.) But to be honest, the answer I give doesn’t truly tell the whole story.
A tomboy at heart and a self-proclaimed “guy’s girl”, fitness and athletics were always a part of my life. Growing up, I was always running around the neighborhood with the boys until the sun went down—playing sports, riding bikes, doing really anything. I played soccer (although that was short-lived because I decided I didn’t like allllll the running), basketball, and even dabbled in intramural softball during college. (I even went through a phase in middle school where I wanted to play football; unfortunately, my parents’ response was along the lines of “absolutely not!”)
My story diverges when it comes to my love for fashion—I didn’t grow up with a passion for fashion like most of my counterparts. In fact, growing up, I had a love-hate relationship with fashion. I battled with my weight during my pre-pubescent years and there was definitely an AWKWARD, chubby phase in middle school. This made it difficult to love fashion because I would want certain pieces of clothing, and they just wouldn’t fit. Shopping felt almost like a chore, rather than something enjoyable. There were definitely a lot of frustrating times in the fitting rooms.
*This is where I would insert the awkward middle school photo except I burned them all. Just Kiddinggg.*
One particular boy also bullied me incessantly during middle school. (Gotta love the middle school years.) And in my world, it felt like I was the only chubby girl. It felt like all of my friends were “skinny” and had perfect hair (my hair can be frizzy and it’s brown, OMG not that). As a young girl, I started to think if I could lose weight, or be “skinny”, or look a certain way then maybe the bullying would stop or clothes would fit. Was it really that simple though?
As I grew up, I realized my weight wasn’t the issue—It was my self-esteem. I could become what I thought was “ideal”, but if I wasn’t happy with myself then it would be all for nothing. I would always find something wrong with a piece of clothing. Something negative someone said to me would always affect me. Let’s face it, there is always going to be that “bully” and sometimes things won’t fit.
Fast forward to why I started urbanfitco.—I was always in some sort of activewear after graduating college, duh athleisure! However, I wanted pieces that were more fashion-forward. Something that didn’t scream, “That girl just worked out!” In the early stages of urbanfitco., when we were developing branding/marketing, people would ask me who my target audience or market is? I didn’t want to define the business by that one buyer persona. I thought back to my younger self, and thought it would be unfair to leave her behind. I knew I wanted urbanfitco. to be a place where all women could have a positive experience.
I realize that there are differences amongst women, in body type and style. And I know that firsthand. My sister has been a 0 her whole life, whereas my weight has fluctuated most of my life. (In my adult life, I’ve been anywhere from a 4 to a 12 and I am not ashamed to own that.) I wanted to create an organization where there was no judgment or set standard, and every woman could feel good about herself. I feel that it’s extremely important to empower women, and breakdown all of the B.S. that society has continually fed us.
For me, urbanfitco. is more about creating an experience and lifestyle than any one product. I want all women to feel empowered and confident right at this very moment, no matter where they are on their journey, life or health-related. At urbanfitco., the goal is to hit all aspects of life. We are all on this journey together, and I am sure if we share our more vulnerable stories we could all relate.