Archive for Fitness

Meghan Markle, Global Citizen

Many people might have heard of Meghan Markle from her role as Rachel Zane in Suits, or for more recently being known as Prince Harry’s new girlfriend. That description alone might lead you to form assumptions about her character – Hollywood glam, famous celebrity, future royalty, etc., etc. However, Meghan is also a passionate political activist and entrepreneur. She is the founder of fashion/self-empowerment site The Tig. Her site features her own clothing line, articles on travel, food, fashion, and fitness as well as interviews with powerful women and blogs on issues like civil rights and empowerment. “I knew that girls were checking the site to see fashion tips or how to get a stellar blow dry,” Meghan writes about The Tig, “but in reframing the beauty content to include think pieces about self-empowerment, or feature dynamic women such as Fatima Bhutto, I was hoping to integrate social consciousness and subjects of higher value than, let’s say…selfies. A subtle means to pepper in what really matters.”

Meghan Markle, courtesy of The Tig

Meghan Markle, courtesy of The Tig

In addition to running a successful brand website, Meghan is also a global ambassador for World Vision as well as an advocate for UN Women. She writes frequently about the struggle of balancing her two worlds – the stark contrast between her glamourous celebrity lifestyle of excess and her humanitarian work with those who have nothing. She writes, “With fame comes opportunity, but in my opinion, it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings, and if I’m lucky enough – then to inspire.” Meghan Markle is truly an inspiration – for entrepreneurs, women, anybody. She has shown how you can successfully take a luxurious life and use it to bless others through an entrepreneurial spirit.

Suja Juice: A Lifestyle

suja-juice-1Annie Lawless had many health issues as a child and young adult and a result of that discovered a new found passion for health and nutrition in her teenage years. This passion and expertise in nutrition led her to found, with several co-founders with similar passions, Suja Juice.

Suja Juice makes organic cold-pressured juices and smoothies. In 2015, they were named #2 on Forbes “Most Promising Companies: The Top 20 of 2015.” They have remained popular and have received much attention and acclaim for their products. In January, Suja was valued at more than $300 million and they are expected to reach $70 million in sales this year.

 

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Annie Lawless created a business that she, and her co-founders, were passionate about and grew that business because she also found a niche that consumers were passionate about.  The nutrition and health food market is one that is extremely specialized and each consumer has their very own favorite good that he or she seeks out which can be deflating or inflating for companies. Suja Juice is a company that offers a product that many consumers will go out of their way to find, which shows success in what the company is making and doing. Annie Lawless is a millennial entrepreneur who fully embodies the spirit of what being a millennial entrepreneur means and practices it every day. Well done, Annie!

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You can Suja Juice’s website here: https://www.sujajuice.com/

You can also find Annie Lawless’ personal blog here: http://blawnde.com/

 

Inside voices? No, Outside Voices

Usually a great idea starts small. When you think of  the word “small” one of the things that comes to mind is childhood. Millennial Entrepreneur Tyler Haney reminds us all of our mother’s words to use “inside voices” in her clever, hip, and trendy line Outdoor Voices. Her clever company is based off the idea that fitness should be freed from the competitive world and thus make exercise a lifestyle. With that key idea in mind she has come up with a spunky and trendy line of great athleisure and athletic wear. All of her designs are simplistic and sleep thus giving the consumer the freedom to mix and match from any of her selections. What’s so incredible about Haney and her business though is how she brought Outdoor Voices into the highly competitive market of athletic wear. She started the idea at the Parsons School of Design, continued on to the Silicon Valley, and after pitching some 70 times landed a $7 million deal to start the business. However, it wasn’t the money that made Outdoor Voices successful, it was Haney’s ambition and smart marketing tactics that truly made her sight stand out. She implemented the idea of using celebrity fans and icons such as Lenah Dunham and Gwyneth Paltrow to help expand the knowledge and desire of her specific brand. Haney’s business is now a big and booming enterprise with a future as bright as the sun.

Strengtheory

A young twenty three year old by the name of Greg Nuckols never imagined he would one day be a writer. In college, he started out as a history major and ended up switching to exercise science and in 2012 he began blogging about power lifting and little did he know he would make a career out of it.

By January 2015, Nuckols’ wife Lyndsey, 22, who has worked as a copy editor  at the Orange County Register, began helping him polish his writing and design the blog. Now she works with him full time, and they’ve reinvented the power-lifting blog, once called GregNuckols.com as Strengtheory. “There aren’t many sources catering to people who want to understand power lifting on a more in-depth level,” says Nuckols.

As of September, Strengtheory was getting 175,000 visitors a month and was generating six figure revenue by marketing and endorsing products such as eBooks on the science of lifting, lifting courses, coaching services, and consultations. Nuckols says they do not advertise the blog much at all, but focus on quality. He says, “I don’t like writing stuff that I wouldn’t like to read.”

This goes to show that anyone can be an entrepreneur, even those who would have never expected it.

 

FITGuard

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “sports related injuries?” Concussions are the first thing that many people think of. There are about 3.8 million sports-related concussions per year, and that’s with only 47 percent of the athletes that have concussion symptoms actually reporting so. Because of this lack of reporting, serious neurocognitive injuries can occur, especially at the high school level a large portion of which can be attributed to the lack of technology available compared to the college or professional level.

Founded in 2013, Force Impact Technologies set out to help eliminate the lack of reporting and lower the risk of neurological damage by creating the FITGuard, a head-injury awareness mouthguard. Founders, Anthony Gonzales and Bob Merriman were college athletes who witnessed the impact of concussions first hand, and with their degrees, decided to make a product that would help them and their fellow teammates to be more aware of each hit that occurred during an athletic competition.

With the technology embedded into the FITGuard, the mouthguard can detect rapid changes in acceleration that breach a predetermined threshold and alert the user through flashing of LED light or by a free app that connects through Bluetooth. Athletes or parents could access this information in real time or even coaches could have their entire team sync to the same cloud and could monitor all their players during sporting events. The FITGuard is only a small glimpse into how technology can and will be integrated into sports in the future.

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Suja Juice: Four Diverse Entrepreneurs Come Together to Realize a Single Dream

Juice seems like an industry where there is nothing left to innovate. Almost every food can be juiced and it seems that there is a market for even the most bizarre mixtures. So if juice production has gone just about as far as it can, what did four Californians do in 2012 to completely revolutionize the way so many people think of fruit and vegetable juices? Two words: Cold-pressed.

Since 1864, the only way that most of the world would consume beverages was if they were pasteurized. Pasteurization has done great things for science and saved countless lives, however, while it kills bacteria, it also does away with the good vitamins and minerals, and completely changes the flavor of our food. People like two of Suja’s co-founders, Annie Lawless and Eric Ethans, were frustrated by the lack of pure, organic products on grocery store shelves. So Lawless and Ethans started their own local, juicing business. They loved the idea of producing non-GMO fruit and vegetable juices on a larger scale but they didn’t want to compromise the flavor or nutrients of the drinks. The only way for them to do that would be to process the juices using a cold press, or high pressure processing.

High pressure processing, or HPP, is a cold pasteurization technique which consists of subjecting food, previously sealed in flexible and water-resistant packaging, to a high level of pressure transmitted by water. HPP not only kills bacteria, but also keeps the flavor and nutrients of the beverage intact. They were familiar with cold-pressing or high pressure processing, but did not yet have the funds or means to produce it on a large enough scale to make any money.

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This is where Suja’s other two co-founders, James Brennan and Jeff Church, come in. When Brennan met Ethans he was instantly hooked on the juices. Inspired and searching for support he asked one of his previous partners, Jeff Church, to join the mission. Initially, Church was reluctant. “As a self-declared meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, I agreed to meet Ethans as a mentor but told him I probably wouldn’t like the juice. I tried it and it just stopped me in my tracks.”

Now with the more than willing help of serial entrepreneurs, Brennan and Church, everything seemed to come together for Lawless and Ethans. Since its inception in 2012, Suja Juice has become a national sensation, serving products in stores like Whole Foods and Target all over the country. In 2015, they made Forbes’ #2 spot in America’s Most Promising Companies and made an estimated $42 million in 2014, expecting it to have doubled in 2015. In an interview with Forbes in early 2014, the quarter stated that they owe much of their success to one of the only things the group has in common: their shared passion and belief in the juice they seek to sell.

There is so much to learn from entrepreneurs like these four. Not many people thought that it would be possible to produce non-pasteurized juices on this level, but here I am on the East Coast sipping on my own carrot juice produced by Suja in San Diego, California. Their passion for real organic, non-GMO food led them to completely revolutionize the juicing industry. They took a small, local business and brought it to the global level in just four years. Suja and its founders are being recognized by magazines such as Entrepreneurs and Forbes as hugely successful. What started off as two yoga instructors selling green smoothies to their friends turned into a multi-million dollar company. If that’s not entrepreneurship, I don’t know what it.

Reinventing the Wheel – Literally!

Bicycles are great solutions to get you where you need to go, with the benefits of being environmentally friendly and faster than walking.  However, there’s one major drawback – pedaling a bicycle can be hard work, especially for long distances or routes with lots of hills (basically anywhere in western Pennsylvania!).  So that’s where the Copenhagen Wheel comes in.

The Copenhagen Wheel was developed by a team of robotics engineers and designers from MIT specifically for Copenhagen, Denmark – a city known for its bicycle culture.  This innovative team wanted to take some of the work out of bicycling by turning a regular bike into a smart electric hybrid.  Many of the team members have had previous experience with popular startup tech companies.  Add this experience to a visionary marketing team and some venture capital investors, and you get the startup Superpedestrian.

The Copenhagen Wheel

The Copenhagen Wheel works by replacing the back wheel of your bike with the Copenhagen Wheel, which is then connected to an app on your smartphone.  A small servo motor and control system is hidden in the wheel’s sleek red casing.  This system captures your energy as you brake or go down the hill and then lets you use this energy pedal with 3-10 times the normal power of a bike!  This allows you to go up hills easier and go further, faster.  Even cooler is the fact that the Copenhagen Wheel learns how you pedal and can keep track of your fitness, while riding just like a normal bike.  If you don’t believe me, check out this video to learn more about the Copenhagen Wheel.

Clearly the old wheel has met its match!  Superpedestrian is busy getting the Copenhagen Wheel ready for market and it should be widely available within the next year.

Lee Moseley – Bubble Soccer

It’s about time somebody solved the cry-baby soccer epidemic.

For far too long, we have watched soccer players grovel in pain to show referees just how “terrible” it is to have contact with another player in this world-famous sport. Well, no more.

There’s a new game in town.

And it’s called Bubble Soccer. Or if you’re not from the US, Bubble Football. This game was developed by Lee Moseley, a asbestos surveyor who, as a young man, gave up his day job to pursue his unique idea.

It’s a pretty simple concept: the game is played just like regular soccer, except with each player wearing a PVC plastic “bubble” that protects the head and upper body, allowing for unique and hilarious contact throughout the game.

Lee Moseley’s company wasn’t started easily. He knew how he wanted create these suits, but investors didn’t believe the idea would take off. So, with the help and support from his wife, Moseley financed the entire operation himself, basing it in the UK. The determination he showed through this risky venture was one of the key reasons for his success. The idea began to spur interest in people. Many are attracted to this more lighthearted style of soccer, and it has been used at parties, corporations (as a team-building exercise), and various other unique venues in addition to more normal sports scenarios. Now, he services events all across the UK, and several other versions of his product have sprouted up around the world.

Moseley’s comments about this product reflect his spirit in making his business. “We have had a overwhelming response to the game and everybody who has taken part has really enjoyed themselves. It’s not something that I think I’ll ever get bored of doing either, as just watching people play is hilarious.”

Here is a man who believes in his business. That is the sign of a great entrepreneur.

Lauren Fleshman and Picky Bars

In 2010, Lauren Fleshman, a 2x USA 5k and 5x NCAA champion, and her husband Jesse Thomas, a professional triathlete, realized that the power bars they were eating weren’t getting it done.  They found that there were two types of post workout nutrition bars, ‘performance bars filled with gnarly ingredients’ and ‘real food bars not balanced for sport.’  They decided that they could make something better.  Later that year, they teamed up with pro marathoner Steph Rothstien, and founded Picky Bars.  Picky Bars makes dairy and gluten-free bars using real food ingredients instead of the fake stuff other companies use.

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It makes sense that professional athletes would come up with this idea.  Nutrition is a very important aspect of athletics and especially endurance athletics.  Lauren, Jesse, and Steph are very driven people.  Many aspire to be pro athletes but not many get there.  They are driven mostly by joy.  They love endurance sports and when they realized something was missing they took action to fix it.  Its a great idea because it solved a problem they were personally dealing with.  Steph Rothstien has celiac disease and most every thing marketed as gluten-free is not made out of real food.  Recreational athletes see a company like this as a part of endurance sports culture and tend to identify with it better than a company such as Gatorade that sells drinks in vending machines in airports and gas stations.  You can get your bars straight from Picky Bars with a monthly order of pick some up in your local specialty running shop.

Picky Bars doesn’t need to be sold in Wall-Mart or Costco to reach its intended market.  You can join the Picky Club and get a set amount of bars sent out to you monthly directly from the company.  The bars are also sold in specialty running and endurance sports shops around the country.

Picky Bars reminds me that there are an infinite amount of ways that entrepreneurs can make the world better.

Check it out at http://pickybars.com/00000001

 

Health Enthusiast finds Happily Ever After in Wholesome Ever After

Lindsay Green is the founder of Wholesome Ever After, a health and wellness coaching company in the greater Detroit area.  She is also a co-founder of Mueva Fitness, and co-creator of Wholesome Kids.

The Journey

Lindsay went to Michigan State University for Child Development and Elementary Education.  After college, she worked as a full time Kindergarten teacher until she realized her passion for integrative health and nutrition counseling and went to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where she completed her training.

Click on her picture to find out more about Lindsay from her Wholesome Ever After Website.

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The Results

Lindsay co-founded the company Mueva as a Certified Yoga Teacher and Pilate’s Instructor with hopes to motivate others.  Muevo Fitness Studio offers classes in Zumba Fitness, Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing, and Bokwa Fitness.  The mission of the organization if focused on healthy living and finding time to stay healthy with a busy schedule.  As entrepreneurs, Lindsay along with the others, demonstrate finding a target audience and developing a product that will help solve their problems.  They are able to offer classes at a variety of times which allows busy moms, and others, to fit a workout into their schedule.

Lindsay also founded Wholesome Ever After.  She works there as a holistic health coach, helping busy people to make time for healthy food, fitness, and lifestyle choices.  Lindsay once again maintains a target audience of busy moms and offers opportunities developed just for them.  By truly honing in on one particular group of busy moms in her area, Lindsay has been a successful entrepreneur in multiple organizations. 

Finally, Wholesome Kids is a new development Lindsay is working on.  She is expanding her target audience to include children.  Lindsay is adjusting her business structure to account for the needs of this different audience. 

This millennial entrepreneur shows us how to develop services based on a target audience.  She also demonstrates innovation in her creation of organizations that benefit her community in unique ways.