[Photo Credit: Courtesy of Carbon 38]
Co-Founder, Carbon 38
Get an INSIDE look into this luxury fitness site!
“I started out as a professional ballet dancer, became a nerd at Harvard as an undergrad, tried my hand on Wallstreet and found my calling in fitness. I am a Senior Instructor at Physique 57, a Lululemon Ambassador, a former Spokewoman for Women’s Health Magazine and I have the nick name ‘Killer Katie’ (I am very proud of that alias). My Co-Founder, Caroline (also a ballerina-turned-Harvard-student-turned-financier), and I got together a year ago to start talking about Carbon38, and we launched in January 2013. We are two ladies who have lived our lives in spandex, and are ready to disrupt the fitness apparel market.” – Katie Johnson
FACT: I have a Double Stuf Oreo habit.
INSIDER Q & A.
W2C: What is the inspiration behind Carbon38, and how did you come up with the name?
KJ: If you add up all the carbon atoms in all humans on Earth, you get 10 to the 38th power. The domain was also on sale for $1.99 for the first year on GoDaddy, so we thought it a prudent first purchase!
W2C: How did you and your business partner meet?
KJ: We were both former professional ballet dancers, and met while training at the Miami City Ballet. I’ve known Caroline since I was 15. I have never spent more time with another human being.
W2C: How do you determine what styles / brands you should feature on your site?
KJ: We curate what we would wear. We both workout a lot, and if the garment doesn’t wear well, look awesome in and out of the gym and make us feel sexy, then it doesn’t make the cut.
W2C: What is the most exciting project or collaboration that you have been a part of?
KJ: We just signed a deal with Regent Global Sourcing, which is a sourcing agent for brands like Marmaxx, Vince and Zara, to name a few. We see that there are two pain points in the fitness apparel market, the first being distribution. You can’t go into a Barney’s and buy workout clothes, yet this is where our customer shops. We want them to have the same experience online. The second pain point is scaling. It is really hard to find capital to manufacture enough volume to scale. That is where RGS comes in. We are helping smaller designers meet demand by connecting them to factories to help produce volume and then reach the audience through Carbon38’s platform.
W2C: Are there some must-have pieces currently available on your site?
KJ: The Michi Rifical Legging is to die for! Great for reformer class, and even better paired with heels and a leather bomber out to dinner. Lucas Hugh is founded by a former designer from Alexander McQueen. The pieces are so beautiful with such intricate bonded seaming and fabric details. The leggings feel like heaven, and the mesh top has a cute bow. I have been known to throw that over a hot pink sports bra and pencil skirt and hit the town!
W2C: What are some of your favorite workout classes?
KJ: Physique 57, of course! We just launched a new cardio class a few months ago; it is killer! Perfect for bikini weather.
W2C: When you are not working (or working out!), what are some of your favorite things to do in LA?
KJ: Go on a taco truck hunt; head to LACMA and geek out with the art; sip rosé at Geoffrey’s in Malibu; paddle board off of the pier; go to the movies by myself – a new guilty pleasure (that way I can sit in the back and cry unashamedly through chick flick after chick flick)!
W2C: What does the future have in store for Carbon38?
KJ: So much! We are re-launching a newer and better site in the fall. We also have some offline opportunities we are exploring, and we are ramping up our online magazine to be more like Vogue’s sporty cousin. In a word, we are PUMPED for what lies ahead.
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