Have you ever dreamed about entrepreneurship? Does the thought of working for yourself seem exciting? Kristen Long, mom, distance runner, and high school business teacher, has combined all her talents to create Run Mama Run, a clothing line to fill a special niche in the market.
“It all started when I was running one day during my second pregnancy,” she said. “I was proud of the fact that I was continuing to run. I already had a 26.2 mile decal for the back of my car, but I wanted one with a runner pushing a stroller.”
Kristen had been running for seven years at that point.
“My running habits and routines changed when I had kids,” she said. “I wanted a decal to reflect that.”
She searched online, but couldn’t find any stickers or clothing specifically tailored to the runner-mom market.
“I was really surprised that there was nothing,” she said. “There are so many women of all ages and backgrounds in races; in fact, a woman in her fifties actually got me started. I knew immediately that this was an untapped market.”
She started jotting down ideas for slogans and logos she could put on shirts.
“It sounded easy at first,” she said. “I have friends making shirts with vinyl decals from their homes, and I initially thought I wanted to try to produce my line of clothes and decals that way.”
Her plan changed when she began to research the hashtag #runmamarun on Instagram. The first time she used it, she noted that the hashtag had been used 4400 times.
“Women were putting pictures of their runs for the day with strollers or with their kids on Instagram using that hashtag,” she noted.
She watched the Run Mama Run hashtag grow for a week’s time.
“By the end of that week, #runmamarun had been used 5600 times,” she said. “I knew that I could produce and sell the shirts in larger quantities than I could just making them at home.”
Her first inclination was to approach a company called Peace Frogs to get the shirts made.
“Since they are local and have been in the T-shirt business for over 30 years, I thought they would be a good fit,” she said.
As it turns out, Peace Frogs was a fantastic fit because owner Catesby Jones had started a small business incubator program.
“He has provided me with a wealth of knowledge—I have learned so much from him!” she said.
Catesby Jones provided help with all facets of her idea from the graphic design to the legalities behind trademarking the logo.
“I almost hired a trademark attorney, but Catesby convinced me I could do it for much less money,” she said.
One of her first endeavors as a new business owner was to sponsor the “Sole Sisters,” a group of elementary school girls who were doing a marathon relay race. She helped pay their entry fees and had their team shirts printed.
“This is what I want Run Mama Run to do,” she said. “I want to sponsor some local races and help relay teams like the Sole Sisters.”
As far as the business is concerned, Kristen can’t wait to get up and rolling.
“I believe when you have the chance to do something good, you don’t pass it up,” she said.