CELEBRATING 5 YEARS IN THE BIZ
I'm sure you can relate - it's like, I can't believe it's been 5 years but also it totally feels like it's been 5 years. So much has happened that I won't be able to squeeze it all into one blog post but I'll do my best.
HOW IT BEGAN.
I started Thirteen Fit Apparel on a whim. A good friend of mine, Gina, pushed me to start the company... even though I had no plan, no real vision, no idea what I was doing. At the time, I was working in the luxury fashion industry and also breaking into the fitness industry so to say my life was already chaos would be an understatement. I was commuting from NYC to Greenwich, CT while also running all over the city to teach indoor cycling - on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown, and in Queens (I would commute two hours one way to teach a 45 minute class). I was CrossFitting daily in between my many gigs. I had $420 to start my business checking account and once that was opened, I just went for it.
The name Thirteen Fit Apparel just came to me - I didn't think on it very long. The brand concept came together really organically as I began thinking about what I wanted to brand to look and feel like. The concept continued to come together after we had already launched. I only started with two shirt styles which gave me a lot of room to explore and grow our concept.
This adventure began in the summer of 2015; I had no idea how much work would go into actually launching. I really wanted to launch the website on a Friday the 13th and I remember looking at the calendar thinking, "the next one isn't until November!" - little did I know, it would take me through mid-October to actually be ready. So the timing felt serendipitous; with the shirts in and the website ready, I was ready to launch on my ideal date.
Friday, November 13th, 2015. Two friends of mine came over with champagne and we sat in my teeny tiny, 5th floor walk-up studio apartment on the Upper East Side and waited for midnight to roll around. I had no idea what to expect when we went live. Midnight hit and our first orders started to come in - not a lot at once, but a few... and by the next morning, more came in. And by the next day, even more came in and just like that, I was sold out of my first run of shirts. Of course, I knew every person who had ordered but it was such an incredible feeling to see and know how supported I was in my new journey.
IG post from the actual launch!
*FUN FACT: in college, we had to choose a specialization under the Fashion Design major: eveningwear, lingerie, children's wear, sportswear/activewear. I specifically remember saying the exact words "I would never design activewear" because I was a dress designer... BIG FAT LOL. #neversaynever
WHAT WE'VE DONE.
Since then, so much has happened. Our concept and mission has grown. We've launched more shirts, each design feeling more evolved and on-brand than the last. We've developed leggings and joggers. These things sound kind of like, "duh" for an apparel company but to me, seeing us go from 2 shirts to a full line of shirts, sweatshirts, pants, hats, and socks... it's pretty damn cool.
We've traveled for events in 3 corners of the US (and in between) for events like Wodapalooza, The Asbury Park Summer Games, and the Alaska Yoga Festival.
My cousin Danielle and I at our first NY event on Long Beach
Flex on the Beach
We've collaborated with other inspiring companies/entrepreneurs/individuals like our NYC pop-up shops with Yummiewear and Rebecca Brookstein Photography to promote body positivity, like our collab with Alaskan artist Brianna Reagan to design something out of our comfort zone and to bring our journey to you, like our most recent campaign "Celebrate Diversity" with my amazing friend Kim Sealy in Barbados, and like our collab with our friends at Form Fitness Brooklyn to create a wider range of sizes.
The ladies of Yummiewear, Martina and Michaela, with me at our pop-up!
Photo by Rebecca Brookstein
We've had the pleasure of contributing to important causes like The Movemeant Foundation, United in Movement, The Rainforest Alliance, and Project Onyx.
Our friends at Project Onyx wearing their Celebrate Diversity shirts
We've worked on custom designs with clients all over the country from New York, Florida, Alaska, Virginia, Ohio, *and beyondddd*.
Custom design for Parable Training, Virginia
We've met so many amazing clients and customers who have truly become friends.
WHERE WE ARE GOING.
As you can imagine, my vision for the brand has bounced around over the past 5 years. When we launched, I had no long-term vision; it was honestly a fun project that I was just playing around with. About 6 months in, I realized how much I loved working on the business and that's when I made it my goal to make Thirteen Fit Apparel my number 1 - which I was able to accomplish one year ago when I quit my job, moved out of NYC, and just went for it.
Here's what I know: I love this company and what it's becoming - and let me tell you, we are just getting started. I love when I hear that someone wore their shirt because they were having a hard day and needed strength, or that they wore their shirt to the gym and when they wanted to give up, they looked down and saw "power" on their hem label and kept going. I love creating custom designs and apparel for my clients and hearing how happy their members are. I love connecting with people over fashion and fitness. I love collaborating and coming up with creative ways to support other people and businesses. I love finding ways to contribute to society.
For me, success isn't defined by sales and income (but don't get me wrong, a girl still has bills to pay and groceries to buy); success for me is knowing that somehow I've made a difference, that I've fulfilled my passion and my purpose, and that what I'm doing is bigger than me.
Here's what you can expect to see from us: more creativity and more purpose with everything we launch, more partnerships and collabs, more contributions to our community, and hopefully, with time, less impact on our environment.
Half of my fam in Thirteen - so lucky to be so supported!
Thank you for supporting us for 5 years!! Whether you've been with us from the beginning or we just met, your support means so much. We promise to continue bringing you purpose driven apparel to outfit you on the journey to your #ultimateself.
P.S. 20% off site wide today only!! No code necessary :)