How did ripped angel start?
I was honestly looking for a new gym outfit one day, specifically workout tights with fun, funky prints. I was met with rack after rack of black leggings and decided that I was going to start my own company. If I wanted them, others must too, thus Ripped Angel was born! I have been involved in the fitness industry for years as a personal trainer, fitness competitor, avid gym goer and nutritionist. I live in fitness wear. Tights are an everyday piece of my attire. I wanted a brand that represented my love for fitness, but also could be worn by ALL women of all walks of life.
What draws you to the bright and bold colours and prints that you use for your leggings?
It’s quite funny actually. I do wear a lot of black. I love the basics of black white and gray. But for some reason I am drawn to bright colors and patterns for the gym. I have made some changes to the look of some of the styles, incorporating darker patterns and some solids for my customers that may not want such crazy patterns. It’s about attitude, expression and wearing what makes you feel energetic and positive. If you feel good at the gym, you will work harder. Leggings are so comfortable and easy to move in they are a staple in most women’s wardrobe. I am branching out in my collection with lounging everyday wear, athletic performance wear, chic clothing and also tops, sports bras, and gym accessories. I am really trying to create a brand that people want to wear all the time. I love my logo as much as the clothes, I mean I want it on hats, pants, tanks, shorts, water bottles, my car.. so that says something!
What has been the most valuable thing you have learned from running your own business?
Without hesitation, I can say one of the most valuable lessons I have learned is to expect to have hurdles and find ways to overcome them. I have AMAZING people around me who believe in me wholeheartedly. My supporters, followers and customers mean the world to me. When a customer goes out of their way to send me a picture in their new tights to tell me they lost 5 pounds and my brand motivated them to do it, it warms my heart. I hear all the time that when women wear my stuff it pushes them harder in the gym, that’s what drives me in business. Let’s not be naïve, I’m in business to make money and turn my passion into a productive business to support my family, but I truly get so much JOY out of what I do, you cannot put a price on being able to live your dream. It does take many hours, countless late nights, lots of coffee and assembling the right team, but it is amazing!
The other thing I would say is to support those who support you. Giving back to charities, donating items for online auctions and sports teams etc is important. Supporting local allows us small business people to survive and keep the money circulating in the local economy.
There are too many people to mention, but I truly have amazing people in my corner, my little “soldier angels” I call them. I have taken advantage of free advice from business professionals in the area, taken part in entrepreneurial workshops, and asked MANY questions to those who have had the same business struggles I have.
What advice would you give other women in business?
You must not be afraid to fail. You have to accept you don’t know something, before you will learn anything! Believe in yourself, even when you don’t FEEL like you believe in yourself. Ask for help. Sometimes you can become so narrowly focused on an aspect of your business that just isn’t working, you think you are doing the right thing but you aren’t. Again, ask for help. I’ve never been good at this, especially in my personal life. For some reason I try to do everything, micromanaging and I think I am superwoman. (haha) Truthfully some days I am unmotivated, unable, and need to rest. And that’s ok.
Which brings me to the next piece of advice. As much as you possibly can, FIND YOUR BALANCE. You must take care of yourself if you expect to have a great business. You need sleep, proper nutrition, active living and mental/emotional health to stay on track. I have 3 children, a husband and friends and family that also deserve my time. I’m not saying it’s easy, and I fall short a lot in this area. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to have a profitable business and as I mentioned I owe a lot of the success of Ripped Angel to my husband and family who help share the responsibility so I can grow my business. I am indeed blessed.
What has been your best experience so far?
Honestly, it has been so neat learning all of the sides of my business thus far. I graduated with a major in English and a double minor in Sociology and Philosophy, not a business degree. I have learned marketing, advertising, money management, design, web creation etc, all from those whom I have worked with to get Ripped Angel to this point. Being the sole decision maker in the business, I have the ability to control every image used, creative design element and decision with regards to the direction I want the business to move forward in. I have to say much of what I have learned has been in the way of life lesson and trial and error. SO I would dare say to those who want to pursue their dream of starting a business/becoming an entrepreneur a business degree would be an asset but NOT a necessity. Do not let that stop you from chasing a dream.
What’s new for ripped angel?
Where do I start? So many exciting things are just starting to happen. On a business level I am hoping to have Ripped Angel across Canada in both a retail and online presence. The website should be live by the end of this month, I have many more apparel ideas I want to have developed. Ripped Angel will be featured in Oxygen magazine in the future, worn by an amazing athlete in the fitness industry of which I cannot disclose yet, its already been featured on a reputable website called BodyRock.com. I just landed a contract with The Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon where numerous athletes will be wearing a specially designed pant by myself and the heads of the marathon. I have a few surprises to announce soon in terms of business relationships and partnerships this year. 2016 is my year! My dream would be to walk into stores and see Ripped Angel apparel on a rack, open a fitness magazine and see ads and models wearing my brand. Biggest of all I want to continue to inspire women, to do what I love and hopefully make my mark in the industry providing kick butt apparel.