"Fitness Meets Fashion"
Born and raised in the Boston, MA area, Dianne Anderson, owner of Jag Athleisure, always had a passion for both fitness and fashion. Dianne's love for movement started at age 7 when she first started taking ballet classes leading to her career today as a small business owner.
Leveraging her vast experience as both a fitness coach and retail clothing manager, Dianne opened Jag Athleisure, a virtual fitness gym and athletic clothing line in January, 2020 based in Charleston, SC. Dianne differentiates her business by providing both high quality fitness wear and a wide variety of virtual fitness classes for participants of all skill levels.
Dianne shares, "Jag Athleisure offers luxury performance fitness apparel at half the retail price of industry related competition. My vast experience in fitness, fashion, sourcing, and research has allowed me to find superior quality fabrics and skilled manufacturers. As the sole business owner, I have no middlemen enabling me to pass savings to my customers. With regard to my classes, I offer a wide variety for all interests including Barre, Body Challenge Burn (FIRM methodology), CORE & Stretch, Meditation, and Refresh/Rejuvenate while emphasizing the importance of staying present, listening to one's body, and breath work."
Oftentimes, people ask Dianne how she named her business, Jag Athleisure. "Jag, Mick Jagger, is the name of a kitten that I adopted from a pet shelter. He had been left on the side of the road as a baby", Dianne reflects. "My logo is a silhouette of Jag and me in a yoga pose. Jag is known as part of my brand. He has swatted at my leg during leg lifts, bit my hair during floor abs, and knocked over my water. The participants find Jag amusing and are always happy to see him during class!"
"Jag Athleisure is a one-stop shop for apparel and fitness. Our virtual class setting provides mindfulness and meditation. Our apparel brand offers high quality products from carefully selected suppliers. My career experience as a fashion buyer, designer, and fitness coach have enabled me to successfully blend these offerings together."
Dianne was first introduced to SCORE in 2012 receiving mentoring for other business ventures. As a result of her positive experience, Dianne contacted Rick Norman, her long-term SCORE Mentor, in February 2019 to provide coaching for her new venture. With over 30 years of leadership experience in marketing, sales, HR, and operations management, Rick began helping Dianne with business planning and sourcing for the apparel side of the business prior to launching her virtual fitness program.
"Rick walked me through the steps of my business plan which was vital for the foundation of my business. He stressed the importance of knowing your market, competition, and numbers." Dianne continues, "Being a creative person, I sometimes miss the details and Rick kept me focused with checklists and follow through. Rick also provided education on the best structure [LLC] for my business." Dianne and Rick continue to meet on a monthly basis to discuss business strategy and future growth plans.
"Rick Norman is my SCORE mentor and has been instrumental in building and growing Jag Athleisure. Rick was extremely helpful with the business logistics, very encouraging, and prompt in response. I am so grateful for Rick Norman and SCORE for their outstanding support."
Dianne's business has come a long way in a very short period of time. In January 2020, during her soft launch, Dianne traveled to trunk shows promoting her brand. Dianne elaborates, "During my soft launch trunk shows, I sold most of my initial inventory of leggings and related fitness apparel. I have a very high customer retention rate and returns under 2%! Due to COVID-19, I canceled trunk shows to pivot my approach to e-commerce. I also changed my in-person classes to virtual classes. With the recent roll-out of my e-commerce website, I am seeing increased traffic coupled with target marketing showcasing a solid foundation of customer testimonials."
Dianne's website and social media efforts now integrate both her fitness classes and attire offerings streamlining her marketing efforts, revenue generation, and business operations. Having gathered a large following over the years through her work at other fitness studios prior to launching Jag Athlesiure has also helped Dianne quickly grow her business.
What does the future hold for Jag Athleisure? "It is vital to me to maintain the quality and integrity of all aspects of my company," Dianne explains. "I work diligently every day to improve technology, classes, and my products. I am working to perfect the quality of live stream classes and recorded sessions. Accomplishing these goals will help me expand my market and grow my social media presence."
Dianne also shared that she continues to evaluate both sides of her business. In fact, Dianne just recently began working with a manufacturing partner to produce her own designs while incorporating her own branding. For now, Dianne limits her product line to the bestselling pieces and makes design decisions by market trends and customer feedback. Dianne is also exploring new classes and approaches, including the possibility of on-demand video as part of her website and YouTube presence to serve her customers.
Dianne shares the following advice to other entrepreneurs - "If you have a vision, don't let other people tell you all the ways it won't work. Do your research, know your competition, and your numbers. Have a backup plan. Have a business mentor, and I highly recommend SCORE!"