An accidental business owner

11 Jan

This blog has been focused on the Team for the last few weeks, but I going to take a break from the team intros today.  We will get back to them soon, so don’t worry! 

I often get “how did you start Tough Chik” or “have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?”  Which really makes me laugh, because I don’t feel like an entrepreneur!  Don’t they have venture capitalist and business plans?

On the web site I have the story behind the name, Tough Chik, our mission statement and other blurbs out what it is to be a Tough Chik.  I haven’t really talked about how this whole thing started and since we have a lot of new followers, I thought I would take a moment to share.

Tough Chik has been around for a little over 2 years, so we are still a very young company.  And it really did start because I thought most of the cycling jerseys for women were plain or ugly or plain ugly!  I didn’t belong to a team or club, I just liked to go out on the weekends and ride.  One day when I was complaining about the selection of women’s cycling jerseys, my husband said “design your own”.  Yeah, right…I am just going to go off and design my own!  He wasn’t being that far-fetched, I do have a graphic design background.

While I was working as a Creative Service Director for a marketing agency, I downloaded a template from a jersey company and started to play with it.  I designed a logo, which is a chick hatching from an egg and modeled after a lotus flower which represents re-birth and new beginnings. And with a little help from my brother, a very talented illustrator, the first Tough Chik jersey was born.

I also designed a few t-shirts, I run (navy), I ride (navy), I tri (navy), grass stain and a few more.  I set up a web site and a few months later I expoed at the Women’s International Triathlon in San Diego.

I still had a day job but I was able to work on Tough Chik on nights and weekends, but that didn’t last long.  A few months later, I was laid off (a nice way of saying fired) and I had to make a choice.  My husband and I sat down and decided that I would try Tough Chik full time on a trail basis and we would see if we could make it work.  Fast forward 2 years, I have 4 cycling jerseys, a tri top, a running singlet and arm warmers that were all designed by Tough Chik and are made in the USA by women, something that I am very proud of!  We offer well over 20 different t-shirt designs, a few long sleeve tees and a hoodie.  I am always adding to the product line and innovating the brand.

I can’t thank all of the women out there who have supported me and the brand over the few short years.  We have big plans for the future and I am so excited to see where the Team goes.  My goal is to build a brand and a community that supports women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds who celebrate life and seek to conquer its challenges and adventures.

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9 Responses to “An accidental business owner”

  1. Michelle Bouchard January 11, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    You ARE an entrepreneur (I had to copy the spelling from your post….)! And I think you are doing a great job! Only two years out and you have 172 ish Tough Chik team members? All buying some sort of kit and then promising to wear it out and about next year? Brilliant. Really. Just imagine the kind of year you are going to have next year when all of us toughies are proudly showing off your stuff! I’m telling you, it’s going to explode.

    I hope you have all the best success and become filthy rich. 🙂

    • toughchik January 11, 2012 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks Michelle, from one business owner to another, that means a lot! And I had to spell check entrepreneur!

  2. Erica January 11, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Your Amazing and Brave!!! So proud to be a part of team tough chik 🙂

  3. Run with Jess January 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    I just looooove your story! Are you a Tough Chik … or a SMART Chik? I’m guessing both!

  4. Nicole January 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    So glad I found you. You should be very proud, as I am proud to be part of the team!

  5. Karen January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    I love it when people are able to turn their passions into their jobs (or their business!). You are pretty amazing!

  6. Christine January 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Great story!!!! I’m glad it worked out so well for you!! LOVE the tough chik logo 🙂

  7. Anna January 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    LOVE this, and LOVE you Shannon! I am beyond glad that I’ve been able to meet you because I think you are about the nicest person I’ve met! I can’t wait to see what the future brings for you and Tough Chik!

  8. Carrie January 16, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    I love this story. It really mimics my story. I too am an “accidental entrepreneur.” And can I say how much a FREAKING love that your gear is USA made? Hats off to you girl!

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