$500 million and counting

How to Successfully Run A Gym Clothing Brand Online

In conversation with Joan Maria

In this episode of eCommerce Experts Talk, Marc Bishop interviewed Joan, a bold woman who owns gym apparel business online. She reveals how she got inspired, what are her challenges and how she utilises digital marketing strategies to upkeep her business. Watch now for some profound insights.

Hi everyone. Welcome to another edition of WytPod, the online community for e-commerce entrepreneurs and business owners. And today we have a very special guest with us. She is the founder of the sweat relief company and the website. And her name is Joan. Joan. Thanks a lot for joining us today. How are you?

Hi. Thank you for having me. I am just fine. Really happy to be here today.

Good stuff. So let's jump right in just so people can know a little bit about you. Would you mind sharing a little bit of your background?

Yeah. I’ve been active since I was a little kid and on my soccer team and in school sports and volleyball. And I carried that with me even after high school into college and beyond. I’m now 56 and I exercise every day and it helps me keep my weight down. I do eat a lot. A lot of food and exercise is a great way to try to stay in shape without having to diet a lot. So like I said, I exercise every day and even during the pandemic I was eating even more than usual and I would exercise twice a day. So it’s just who I am. I do a lot of exercising and I love exercise.

You eat and you exercise, I think it's a great combination, right?

Yeah. And I also sweat a lot.


Yeah. You know, I part of exercising try to burn calories and sweat was a real problem for me. And I remember a while ago a friend of mine said she didn’t like the exercise because the sweat always bothered her, you know, just feeling sweaty after a workout. And I was like, gee, that’s not I mean, yeah, I get that way too, but that’s not a reason not to exercise. I always had that in my mind. And then I came up with this company and the t shirt that my company makes because it’s a funny story. At the time I was driving to a track every morning to go for a jog and I only had two t shirts. I had a yellow polyester shirt and a black cotton shirt, and I alternated them every day. And on my way to the track I would have like this conversation in my head. I would look down at my shirt and I would say, okay, Joe, you’re wearing your black shirt today. It’s cotton. So when you’re running, you’re going to be able to use the bottom of the shirt to drive off this way around and during your run. And that’s really good.

Guilty. I do that.

Yeah, that’s right. Is it that or this way.

Right of. Yeah.

And then on the other day I’m wearing my polyester shirt and I would be driving my car and I’d say, okay, I’m wearing my yellow shirt. That mean I won’t be able to wipe the sweat away, but I will feel like the sweats not sticking on my shirt and sticking on my body while I’m running. And that’s a really good thank you. And I was I was conversation for a year. And then one day I’m like, why don’t I try to combine the two ideas into one shirt? And at the time I couldn’t. So I asked the seamstress to sew a red cotton shirt into a red polyester shirt at the bottom. So there was a red cotton shirt into a red polyester shirt. And I tried that and.

That was blown by that request.

Was their mind.

Their mind my mind or your mind? But they must have been like, whoa, what? Okay.

She was you know, she was just is she not just she was a seamstress and she was used to doing whatever the client wanted for me. My mind wasn’t because the cotton, although I like the idea, wasn’t absorbing enough. And that’s when I decided to try terry cloth instead of cotton. And that’s this is actually the first t shirt design from that idea. There’s another one but this is the first one. Can you see.

Yeah, I can totally see it. That's perfect.

Is actually terry cloth sewn and attached to the bottom of a regular t-shirt.

The cotton t-shirt. And the terry cloth is the pocket. It's made of terry cloth. Right.

Well, no, this has no pockets. This is just a look.

That's just a face wiping area.

Oh, right.


Yeah, Down and demonstrate. But the point is that this shirt is not all cotton. It has polyester, so it still has some sweat wicking properties to it. And then also on the bottom, can you see this with.

I do see that. Yeah.

And that lets you lift it up. And then there’s another split on this side, too.

Right. Yeah. Freedom of movement. It looks pretty comfortable.

Right? And then it does. And then I’m not sorry.

I said it. And like you said, you can do this. You can pick it up more easily and wipe off. Yeah. There you go.

And also your hand. So if you playing like paddle ball, tennis, pickleball, weightlifting? Yes, sure.

That would be handy for sure.

But I started off using polyester shirts and then I knew that that wasn’t friendly and I wanted to use sustainable fabrics only. So now the shirts I use are recycled polyester, cotton and maybe some pencil. All right. It still feels like a sweat with the shirt we’re trying to say.

So how long did it take for you to. How long did it take for you to think of the name for your website?

A sweaty tee? Yeah. Now I’m sweaty tee instead of sweaty days because I just think it sounds a little bit better. Sweat day. All right. But that was pretty instantaneous. And then the sweat relief company came a little bit after that. The company name is sweaty tee officially.

I got it.

It incorporated. Sweaty tee.

Sweaty tee. Very catchy name, very memorable.

Thank you. That makes sense. Yeah, it really is. It really is. And then it helps you stay motivated. You’ll want to continue exercising. For me, this sweater starts right around my head and starts trickling down into my ears in my neck and then into my eyes. And it’s just so annoying. So this is a great way of getting rid of annoying sweat. And then, you know, like my friend from years ago, it’s not so it’s not such an impediment. And now exercising isn’t such a chore. I mean, of course, other things, like I like to watch a new show, Mom Exercising or a movie, and then the time just goes really fast and before you know it, you’re done.

Yeah, there is.

A difference.

Yeah. There's nothing else like this on the market. And I have at this point because I did a lot of research on the fabrics and sizes and fit. I have every shirt in my closet and when I want to exercise, I can pick any one I want. I always pick one of these because like I said, Sweat is a real problem for me and I think it is for a lot of other people. And I think it really fell a big problem.

Yeah, I want to, but nobody wants to be super sweaty. And then also I think it’s a matter of courtesy if you’re in a gym with other people that you don’t want to leave a trail of sweat behind you wherever you go as well. I’m all right.

I agree. And what's nice is that if you forget to bring a towel, your towel, now that it's on your shirt, isn't going to come in contact with any gym equipment, any other possible germs. Right. Can I show you the other side?

I wish you would. Yeah. Let’s have a look. Okay.

This one is called Tee with Pocket, and it also comes in tank top. Okay. This is like a kangaroo pocket that's on a regular sweatshirt, except it's made of terrycloth. It's not cotton like a sweatshirt. This is terrycloth, lightweight. So, you know, imagine you're on the elliptical and your hands are getting sweaty. You just go like this, and now they're not sweaty. And you go back to the elliptical like this. You know, the cycle when your hands get sweaty. But the other great thing is now that your neck and it's dripping on your face, you take out this little human menthol that's a little bit heavier floor and you can get your face. Right. And behind your neck. And now you just stick it back in and you go back to your at it. Right.

I resent it for me because, you know, I really I dislike gloves. I never wear gloves. And if I’m on the rowing machine or the elliptical and my hands get sweaty, it can be pretty uncomfortable. So you get a quick wipe and you’re back in action. So, yeah, I’ll have to try it out.

Yeah, I've to send you on. But yeah, like, I'm usually going like this like all the time, you know, and it's just such a relief. And then. Then I can keep on going now. I can exercise for an hour if I want, instead of a half an hour.

Right. Without getting sweat in your eyes and the whole thing. Yeah. Cool. What’s your best selling product, Joan?

This one. The Tee.

When you learn makes.

Sense. But these two. These are also very popular. A lot of men like these.

What’s your personal favorite?

When I'm on my lawn, I this


Because it's just easier to reach down and go like this.

Just call your word. Is that. Would that be Dusty Rose by any chance, or would you call. Aren’t you impressed that I knew that?

Yes, hahaha, and we have a lot of different colors on the website, too.

Cool. Yeah, I had to look through that. You get a lot of good stuff on there. So awesome, Joan. Now, finally, are there any words of wisdom that you’d like to pass along to any fellow entrepreneurs who are starting a business?

Yeah. I mean, I really thought about this one long and hard. I knew you were going to ask me, and I wanted to say something helpful. And the best way to answer that, I think, is to talk from my own personal experience, which might not be the same for everyone else. So for me, I didn't want to venture off into a business unknown terrain. And by unknown terrain, I mean not knowing where your next paycheck's coming from and when. And that's a really scary thing. So I weighed it and I chose a career completely unrelated to my business right now because I cared more at that time about things like paying rent, paying for food, paying for utilities. So I put the business off. So I'm now 56, and this is when I want to pursue this full time. And it's different for other people if you're young and in your twenties, but you can live at home and you have a relationship with your parents and they're fine with you taking this financial risk now at, you know, young money then that's great, too. So the point is, I think it's different for everybody, but it also has to be that you have an idea that you believe in and you think is useful. So in some in some way in your life, those two things that your ability to take a financial risk because you're in a good place and that idea where you have something you really believe in and you think can go somewhere, they have to intersect. And I think that's going to be different places for different people. And then the only other thing I want to add to that is that I think you know, unless you have money that you don't care, how are you spending it and you don't care if you lose it? I think you at some point, you have to ask yourself what kind of spender you are. And I would compare that to being like if you went gambling, like to a casino like Atlantic City, do you go there anywhere? You know, let's just say $100 and you can stop and you can say, okay, I'm going to do this, then hundred dollars, whatever happens, happens, or at the end of that hundred dollars, are you now rushing to an ATM to get more money to put more money into your gambling cause you really think you're going to hit it big? And so the point is, you know how to stop it, because having your own business is like gambling. You don't know. It's like the lottery, and you have to know how to push yourself and don't go too far where you just spend too much money and it doesn't work out. You have to know how to stop at some point.

Wow. You know, that’s a really refreshing take, Joan. You know, I talk to a lot of business owners and you put it very succinctly, I think you’re right. And I think when you’re, you know, you’re a little older, it takes a lot more courage to risk it all. You know, when you’re young, you can bounce back. Right. So, like for people who are risking a lot, I guess you have to be completely committed. And you’re right, you have to have the right personality for it, I think is what you’re saying. Right.

Right. You need to pace yourself. You don't want to go bankrupt. If it's not working out. You can't keep throwing money at it. Fortunately, the social media today, you can actually get your brand out there and not have to spend a lot of money. But the first thing that's going to happen when you open up a business is people are going to trounce on you and they're going to want to be a consultant. They're going to want you to pay them fees. Don't do any of that. Just stick to what you know and what you're trying to get done. You don't have to you know, you don't have to start with a lot of people in the very beginning.

Right. All right. Pearls of wisdom for me.

I didn't have money for labor, and I taught myself how to sell on YouTube, know with YouTube videos. And that's how I kept labor down in the beginning. Now I use the faculty in the United States and Detroit. Right now I'm working with a manufacturer in Detroit. But in the beginning, it was just me. I was a one woman shop and I'm still if anyone wants to partner with me, I'm definitely interested in partnering, so I don't have to spend all of my money.

Oh, absolutely. Good stuff. And Joan, thanks again for taking the time. Really nice insights. Really appreciate your time.

Oh, it's been a pleasure.

Pleasure and wish you continued success.

Thank you so much.

Thanks a ton, Joan.





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