I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend, celebrating our service men and women! I saw a lot of Boulder triathletes out enjoying the bright, yellow ball of fun in the sky that we haven’t seen in a while, which is probably necessary with all of the races coming up this weekend such as Ironman Brazil, Raleigh 70.3, Hawaii 70.3, Vitality World Triathlon London, XTERRA Lory, and XTERRA Laguna Beach to name a few. In the meantime, Boulder’s Tim Don raced with the pro men in the epic Boulder Boulder 10K this Memorial Day, finishing 21st overall in a loaded field of elite runners with a time of 32:17. Way to go, Mr. Don!
With a little break in the action last weekend, I decided to interview Kristin Mayer, owner and creator of Betty Designs. Mayer not only designs her own line of fashionable and comfortable triathlon gear, but she also designs gear for companies and brands all over the world. Between balancing being a mother, businesswoman, and athlete, Mayer has put in the time to create a line of clothes that cater to women triathletes and help instill a sense of empowerment. Don’t fret men, there are definitely some items to fit your athletic needs as well! Mayer was nice enough to answer this fan’s questions about her tough-meets-feminine designs and add a little insight into how she developed a slew of products that feel as good they look on race day.
When did you first find your love for fashion?
I was kind of a late bloomer. Growing up I was quite the tomboy and did not want anything to do with shopping or dressing like a girl. College was when I would say I really started to take to fashion. I grew up in the Boston area and migrated west to Los Angeles for college and that is most likely what changed me.
What kinds of athletics/sports did you participate in growing up?
My first (sport) love was downhill skiing. My parents put me on snow skis at age 6 and I was pretty obsessed with racing until I went off to college. I also had a love for baseball. I played boys little league until high school and dreamed of being the first woman in Major League Baseball.
Cool combo! How did you link Skulls and Butterflies for your logo? Kind of light meets dark?
My logo comes from an old superstition I had when I raced triathlon. I always wore a skull necklace on race day thinking it would help me channel my inner toughness and push through. I believe women can be both strong and beautiful so that is why I chose that combination of icons.
How did you get into triathlons? Did you think you would just “try one” and be done?
Playing with the boys, of course! Post college I lived in Manhattan Beach and met a houseful of dudes who helped me get my first bike and taught me how to ocean swim. My first race was a duathlon (run/bike/run) in 1994 and I was hooked immediately.
It’s so hard to find comfy and stylish clothes for women in many realms of athletic wear. What sets Betty Designs apart from the rest?
I would say my design aesthetic really sets me apart. I strive to create designs that are very bright and bold and stand out from a mile down the road. I partner with companies who make silhouettes that fit and flatter. I stick with race fit which is tighter because I think that flatters all sizes of women’s bodies the best.
How do you balance being a mom and running your own company?
My day is built out of mini compartments. I have certain hours of the day that I dedicate to my son and my business. The best part of working for myself is I can be flexible to his needs and spend time with him before he grows up too fast.
What have been the biggest challenges and rewards as you have started Betty Designs?
Self-doubt has been my biggest challenge. It took quite a kick in the butt to get me to start my brand because I was scared. It’s hard to put yourself out there, take a chance, and know you may fail. It came at a time in my life where I had to take a chance to start my life over and rebuild. Every day I am learning new things about technology, marketing and my customers and I have to keep evolving. The most rewarding part is when I meet a woman who is wearing one of my designs and she gushes about how much she loves it and how it makes her feel “bad ass” when she wears it. I love that!
Where does “Betty Designs” come from?
Betty is an Australian surf term for “hot surfer chick.” I have always pulled a lot of my design inspiration from the surf culture and Betty was a fun, feminine name that was catchy.
You are obviously in tune with women’s fashion, what kind of women are you targeting when you make your clothes?
I get criticism for my garments running small and that they are only made for skinny, lean athletic types, but I disagree. We sell all sizes up to 2XL and I think that women of all shapes look great when they wear clothing that shows their curves instead of hiding them under baggy garments. My designs are for women who want to stand out on the roads and race course and who are not afraid to take chances and go for it.
What are some of your favorite pieces and/or what would you recommend to a female triathlete who is going to start training for a triathlon? What are your must-have pieces?
Until I made my own, I was not really a fan of the one piece tri suit. Now it’s my favorite. It fits every curve of your body and stays in place when you race. No tugging at your tops or pulling up your shorts. It accentuates a woman’s curves and I love that.
Do you retail online only? What stores?
We sell mostly direct to consumers, but do have our line in Nytro Multisport here in Encinitas. They were a personal sponsor of mine during my racing years and have been a big supporter since I launched the brand. We offer custom design for all retailers and have designs in Tri It Multisport in Canada, Miss Motivate in Australia, a couple of Endurance House stores, Bike Works in Hawaii, and SwimOutlet.com.
How do you create someone else’s vision for their own tri-wear?
I listen to them. I ask them what they like and don’t like that is out there. What their favorite colors are. If I’m working for a brand, I spend time researching their brand personality online. If I’m designing for an individual I try to bring personal elements into their design.
What has triathlon done for you personally?
It’s given me the mindset to keep working hard and to accomplish things. It showed me that I am stronger than I think and this has helped in all aspects of life. Overall it gave me my roots in this industry and laid the foundation for me to start Betty Designs on a professional level.
Any last words for those triathletes out there?
Get out there and be #badassisbeautiful!
We couldn’t agree more, Kristin! Go to www.bettydesigns.com now and check out all of the creative and quality designed gear to rev up your training!