Fashion meets life.
"Character. Intelligence. Strength. Style. That makes beauty."
-Diane von Furstenberg
-Diane von Furstenberg
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Fitness Fanatics is a fitness clothing company ran by Sara Brown in Burke, Virginia. Offering a variety of sizes for the fitness wear, Sara sells online at www.fitness-fanatics.myshopify.com. I had the opportunity to interview her (via text, how cool!) and ask all the questions I'm sure you're dying to know the answers to!
We're all familiar with people telling us a career in art or fashion isn't a career at all, and Sara experienced it first-hand. "[It] turns out it never occurred to me when I was young that being a designer was an option." Society is barely accepting being a "designer" as a reasonable job in 2017. She decided to take the plunge and designed a racetrack tank which is still available to purchase. When asked what inspired her to start, she recalls a conversation she had with a friend.
"[She] told me how she'd always wanted to be a designer but thought it'd be to difficult to get started, I thought the same thing. When she shared her success story with me, she asked what I was waiting on. I said "customers". She said get the product out there and they will come. Sounds cliche but it's the truth. I did exactly what she'd said. With all the online vendors it was really, very easy to get started and in about 30 days I launched my first shirt design on February 29, 2016. I sold the first one on March 18, 2016. It's well over a year and I've sold at least 400 of that design so far."
With an amazing story like her's, I needed some tips! "Ship daily even if there's only one order. We all have the tendency to procrastinate - DON'T - and don't be afraid to change vendors, items are widely and readily available." Although it seems as if she's found the key to success, Sara admits she's found challenges. Getting orders shipped timely, meeting customers expectations (especially during the holidays) and finding vendors who represent her business the way she does are some things she's still battling.
As one usually does, Sara has learned a lot about herself through this process. "I CAN do it! I have to believe that I am capable, not to compare myself to others. If I have a design that doesn't sell, don't dwell on it because there's something better waiting! Dig deep, I have a lot more to offer." And when a design does sell, pure delight. "It's a feeling of total euphoria and accomplishment. Also it's very humbling and [I'm] thankful that someone (who doesn't know me) chose to buy an item I designed. [It's] very satisfying that someone had a need and my product filled it. I am thankful everyday for the success I've enjoyed also knowing that I've only just begun and super excited for the day that Fitness Fanatics will be a household name. [Insert smiley face]"
Sara works to brand herself by marketing online through Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram. Although she's shy and prefers to stay out of the spotlight, Sara wants her brand to have staying power and pushes through her fears to see a greater outcome. Along with the social media aspect, she's connected with several Cross fit gyms who put the link to the store on their website. "One of my 2017 goals is to get my products into brick and mortar stores via affiliate programs. Hopefully being featured during NC Fashion Week will help too!"
Where does she see herself in five years? "I want Fitness Fanatics to be a household name that people identify with no matter their level of fitness. It's important that people know that my hoodies, shirts and leggings come in a multitude of sizes for every size athlete. I have searched out and found vendors who carry extended sizes - Fitness Fanatics is an "all inclusive" company."
Sara lives with her supportive husband of 22 years and has a daughter studying at Virginia Wesleyan in Norfolk. Believe it or not there's more talent in her family tree! "[There are] no designers but I have a brother and sister and two nieces who are artistically blessed. My brother and sister are into drawing and painting. My three nieces, two are makeup artists, the other is a tattooist. One has a dream to get to Hollywood and be a MUA for a motion picture."
Fun fact about Sara, she's actually an accountant.
Sara Brown: I'm an accountant by trade and I actually love my work. To most people that might sound weird but I love working with numbers - it's like putting together a puzzle, each piece has a specific place.
Reyna Alicea: I can imagine it helps make sure people don't try to get over on you.
She replies with an emoji with a stuck-out tongue and closed eyes. "I'd like to think so."
- x Reyna