Monday, December 12, 2016

Women Involved Series: Jaimee Erickson

Photo Credit: Missy Davis
Josie's Bike Life featured Jaimee Erickson of Redfrog Athletics earlier in the year and just recently Jaimee launched a Kickstarter featuring her clothing.

We wanted to catch up with Jaimee on what has been going on with her business and how things have been progressing- turning her dream into a reality!

Redfrog Athletics on Instagram & Facebook
Redfrog Athletics website.


Redfrog Athletics was founded with a relentless sense of adventure and a goal that’s just a bit rebellious: equip you with functional, stylish cycling apparel, so you can feel confident and comfortable on and off your bike.

First off, for those who may not have read your first interview- you're starting your own business: Redfrog Athletics. Tell us about your business and what you aim to provide for the cycling community?
Yes, I started Redfrog Athletics about 18 months ago to improve the cycling experience for women and encourage them to get on a bicycle and pedal. I was motivated to start the company after a life-changing cross country bicycle ride. On this trip I had the unique opportunity to test all types of cycling gear while spending countless hours in a cycling-endorphin-creative-high state of mind. I spent majority of my trip thinking about ways to improve the cycling experience for women, because cycling was improving my life immensely, and I wanted to share the love. Getting up every morning and jumping on my bicycle gave me an absolutely unparalleled feeling of independence. The rush of adrenaline + physical exertion in combination with the quiet, peaceful, meditative state of mind changed how I viewed and moved through life.
The only part of my cycling experience that had lots of room for improvement was the cycling apparel. As any woman who has stepped foot into a cycling shop in the United States knows, the sport caters to men. Most of the female gear is based off the male physique with "female elements" added as an afterthought. I ended up wearing men's cycling wear on my trip because it was higher quality and wasn't covered in hearts and butterflies. The fit was wrong, which made it look awful and feel uncomfortable, but it was functional.
I want very badly to change that experience for women on bicycles. I want them to feel comfortable and confident in high quality athletic wear designed for their bodies. I would love for the Redfrog line to generate feelings of independence and badassery :). The ultimate goal is to create a sisterhood of empowered women who can feel connected and driven by their shared passion of pedaling -- whether they ride for social bonding, fitness reasons, mental health, adventuring purposes, or a competitive outlet. By creating this sisterhood of supportive female cyclists, my hope is to welcome more women to the cycling community as a whole.

With creating your own clothing line, what would you say has been the most challenging aspect?
There have been a few challenging aspects of creating a clothing line. I will break it up into product-related challenges and business-related challenges.
The first product-related challenge was finding a solid pattern maker (as anyone in the space knows, this is hugely important for the success of any clothing line). I was quite fortunate in this department and managed to hire an extremely talented pattern-maker, Meghan Goss. Finding Meghan changed the game for Redfrog and gave me a lot more confidence moving forward with production. The next product-related challenge was finding a manufacturer, who was capable of producing the high quality cycling apparel we had prototyped and designed. We are thrilled with our current manufacturing and sourcing partners.
The most constant ongoing "business-related" challenge is cash flow management. This basically determines whether your business is running smoothly or you need to make some changes. I have learned that keeping a close eye on these numbers and understanding the ins and outs of expenses and revenue is quite vital for the survival of the company.


Since we last talked, what have you discovered or learned about starting up your own business that may be helpful for new entrepreneurs?
Creating a Gantt chart or timeline of some sort to project manage yourself (and whoever else that might be working with you) is huge. It feels like there are a million things that need to happen everyday, so figuring out a structured method of prioritizing is very important for mental health and company progress.
Photo Credit: Missy Davis
You currently have a Kickstarter going, tell us about the pieces you have available for the fundraiser and why you chose to create them?
Yes, Kickstarter is live! We have four Redfrog pieces on this Kickstarter campaign: The Racerback, The Hammer-T, The Long Sleeve, and The Commute Jacket. All of the pieces are made with a customized blend of merino wool and are feature complete for cycling. More details on the Kickstarter or Redfrog Collection Page.

Out of the pieces on Kickstarter, what would you say has been the most popular among your ambassadors/testers?
The Commute Jacket has been the crowd favorite thus far. Full disclosure: it is also my favorite piece. It is very different from any other cycling jacket out on the market and is flattering on a wide range of body types. All of the Redfrog cycling tops are styled in a way to flatter the body on and off the bicycle, but the Commute Jacket is the piece that you might never take off (especially with the anti-stink properties of the material).

Tell us about the Redfrog Athletics Squad- how can women get involved?
Excellent question! The Redfrog Squad was created to establish a support network for women on bicycles everywhere. These members motivate women in their communities to get on their bicycles and pedal in any capacity. They also have exclusive insight into new products / product features and receive samples to test and review. We are working towards planning cycling trips and weekend getaways for the Squad to bring this community to life.
If you are interested, please contact me (jaimee@redfrogathletics.com) with the email subject line - "Redfrog Squad" and I will send more details and instruction on the application process.

Why do you feel it is important to be more than just a clothing company, rather- why is it important to create community within your brand?
The clothing company essentially serves as a vehicle for the more important and meaningful mission behind Redfrog: empower women. I feel incredibly grateful that I grew up in a family surrounded by powerful, hilarious, intelligent, badass women, who all supported one another. I want to grow that support network and spread that reach to include more women. Since cycling impacted my life in such a meaningful way, and I saw a giant lack of female support in the space, I felt very inspired to change the cycling experience for women and bring them into a cycling sisterhood. Community is everything at Redfrog :)

What do you hope to see with the women's cycling community as it grows?
I hope to see a more diverse (age, race, income bracket, fitness level, etc.) group of women on bicycles as the women's cycling community grows. I would also love to see a clear path of entry into the sport for women with support, guidance, and community built into the experience.

What do you hope to accomplish with your brand in the next few years? Any projects in the works you can tell us about?
I would love to build up the Redfrog community and motivate more women to get on bicycles. We are also working on partnerships with non-profits with similar missions - empowering women by reducing the barrier to entry to bicycling.

Any personal goals that you've set for yourself for the next year that you'd like to share?
Personal Goal - Figure out how to balance in a handstand on my saddle / handle bars on my cross bike, while in motion :)
Redfrog Goal - Finalize the bottom half of our cycling kit, so we can support women on bicycles from the neck to the ankle.

Photo Credit: Missy Davis
Any final words on why you would love to see women support your brand?
All forms of supporting Redfrog (buying our products, becoming a Squad Member, posting to social media, talking to friends about Redfrog, reaching out to me or other team members) are incredibly motivating, helpful and wonderful. It means the world to us to see other women identifying with the mission and getting on board with the movement. We also love and really appreciate all the support from men who support women and Redfrog :)

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