Startup Stories: Two friends’ one idea

JWalking Designs' founders dressed in our active skirt - good for both work out and go out!

Tell us about your entrepreneurial product or service.
What makes our JWalking Designs’ athletic skirt so special?

FIT – our wider waistband, sewn-in shorts and longer length makes for a great 360 view of you!

FUNCTION – if you need pockets to carry your cash, keys and phone, we got ’em!

FASHION – multi-taskers unite! Our Eco-Fit skirt is great for the gym AND the grocery store.

We want our skirt to become YOUR skirt.

What inspired you to launch your business idea?
This is the story of two friends – Joanne Linden and Alison O’Brien. We met in 2007 when training for the New Jersey Marathon as members of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s endurance team, Team in Training. Across the months and the miles, we not only moved our feet, but our mouths too. Our two favorite topics – food and fashion! We found we loved sushi and french fries, but didn’t like what was on the market for workout wear bottoms. Shorts were ill-fitting and often unflattering; pants were too heavy for hot weather. Very few options had pockets to store keys, cash and a cell phone. We decided there should be something better and strove to find what that was.

So, we took to the stores and, while shopping, came across a running skirt – a fashionable piece of flowing fabric with form-fitting shorts sewn-in underneath. The mid-thigh length creation was made of moisture-wicking material, which made it perfect for warm days, and was loose enough, which made it possible to layer-in tights in colder temperatures. The skirt also had a zippered pocket large enough to carry a driver’s license and money. It was a step in the right direction.

But a year, and two more marathons, later we started finding fault with the initial find. There was only one pocket and it wasn’t large enough for a cell phone, iPod or car keys. There was only one zippered pocket and was located in the back, which was difficult to access while moving and awkward to reach for if out in public after training. We started asking our fellow marathon friends, some of whom said that the standard skirt length didn’t adequately cover the backsides of larger ladies.

We realized this was an opportunity to create performance apparel to fit everyone’s needs; items that could easily transition from exercise to everyday life. And JWalking Designs was born.

What problem does your business or organization solve?
With purchasing power like never before, today’s women demand fit, functional and fashionable workout wear beyond the frumpy fitness fashions of former years. As a company created and corralled by two women, we understand that if we women don’t feel good – or feel we look good – in our workout clothes, that insecurity can become just another barrier to getting out and getting active.

We want women of all shapes and sizes to have the self-confidence to get out and get active. And that is the mission of JWalking Designs.

What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how are you working to overcome it?
We, a TV producer and a pharmaceutical quality control specialist, are new to running a clothing business. But we are open to any and all challenges and, as marathoners, have the endurance to take this to the finish line.

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.
Innovative (in today’s hashtag world, I thought of making our ‘one word’ #FitFunctionalFashionable, but don’t want to go against the rules :))

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
We – two first-time women entrepreneurs – believe that Project Eve will help us learn and grow in an accepting and encouraging community of female business owners.

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry or startup story.
Be open to learning anything and everything always – the world is changing constantly and you have to be ready to change with it!

Company: JWalking Designs


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