In 2017, prior to Her Spirit Vodka being in the market, Kjersten and her husband, Steve, gave away $5,000 to a woman owned business to show their passion for their mission of 'half back to her'. The winner of the 2017 Her Spirit Woman Entrepreneur Grant is MAI: I AM enough! Owners, Emma and Lizzie, went above and beyond to gain your vote! We can't wait to watch them grow in their journey of MAI!
Campaigning for and winning the 2017 Her Spirit Woman Entrepreneur grant has been an incredibly rewarding journey that has challenged us in every way. We’ve pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones to network and spread the word about the grant and our company’s mission.
These efforts not only led to our win, they also led to invaluable exposure and new connections that will be an amazing catalyst for our company’s growth. We are thrilled to be able to invest in new styles, to streamline all production processes and to execute high impact marketing efforts with this grant money!
We are blessed to have the Her Spirit Vodka team in our corner and are so excited for this partnership to be long lasting!
Emma & Lizzie
2017 Major Accomplishments!
Prior to 2017, MAI was primarily sold online and through fitness events and local pop-up shops as well as 'MAI Mixers,' shopping and fitness/empowerment class combination parties. Our B2B customizable wholesale collection (consisting of 'MAI Sport' active styles and 'MAI Style' lifestyle styles) launched in January of 2017. This collection broadened our reach to ALL fitness activities - beyond just the yoga roots from which we were founded. We partner with companies to create branded apparel for their business, adding their logos and artwork to our styles to bring their unique brand aesthetic and vibe to life.
At the time of the Her Spirit competition we had just begun to market the niche offering of selling a wholesale collection of apparel to companies that could be customized with their brand! Winning the Her Spirit Grant has allowed us to invest heavily in this niche market of creating branded workout apparel for companies!
This custom wholesale sector of the business has been our focus and we're proud to have grown to 20 clients (nationwide) in under a year, including a wide range of clients across many industries within and outside of fitness. New studios and companies sign on every month and we sell primarily to MN businesses, but also nationwide from California to Kentucky to North Carolina!
We have clients within:
· Fitness studios and gyms - primarily single location boutique gyms, but also chains like Lifetime Fitness. Type of fitness studios we serve: cycling studios, cross fit, personal training gyms, boxing gyms, yoga studios (we are signed on as the sole activewear vendor at the 2018 Minneapolis Yoga Conference), barre studios, general gyms.
· Nutrition companies, wellness bloggers, chiropractors, fitness certification companies
· Non-fitness industry companies - City Girl Coffee, Epson US, Mpls St Paul Magazine, Vemos + CLM Presents (night club business software)
We also invested funds from the grant to participate in a 3-month peer-to-peer Entrepreneur class hosted by business-consultant, Brandyn Negri, in which we have completely transformed our approach, narrowed in our values and company mission, and learned how to better meet the needs of our clients as a true partner! This class has been a 100% game changer and has guided every aspect of our strategy that we have already begun to reap benefits from applying our learnings. We offer services like artwork design and we also promote our clients on social media and provide merchandising best practices to ensure our clients’ success!
These values guide our mission!
· Lasting Quality – the best fit that enhances mobility, Quality that lasts 100 washes
· Tailored Design - longlasting style, refined fit + unmatched customization opportunities, especially for printing on workout apparel!
· Empowered Partners – We support USA cottage industry (ethical production)& work-life balance. We grow our clients’ businesses as partners in every way possible.
As we continue to grow custom wholesale for businesses, we have simultaneously experimented with testing on-demand, live customization at retail B2C events! With a heat press on site, we allow customers to choose from many artwork options to add phrases, logos and more to their leggings and tank tops on-demand! We sold over 22 custom pieces in our first event and look forward to continuing this channel for the Minneapolis Yoga Conference in March of 2018!
Coming in 2018!!!!
· Launching our official name change to ‘MAI Movement’ – we stand for self-discovery and continual growth, which is the ‘I AM’ that inspires MAI. We have opened this statement to be anything, not just the ‘I AM enough’ that personally resonates with us. The ‘Movement’ represents our focus on clothing meant to move WITH you in your active day, but also reflects the empowerment message and movement we hope touches not only our vendors, employees and clients, but everyone that hears this message.
· A new website that will allow wholesale clients to build their custom styles right online! (this is so incredibly exciting)
· Traveling to LA to research the major activewear trade show market, which we hope to show in in July of 2018
· Both Emma and Lizzie will be working less and less side jobs and able to spend even more time on growing sales, marketing efforts and scaling production!
· We are paired with the incredible Dr. Courtney Baechler for the Red Dress fashion show in March.