Meet Michele and gwenyth

I’d like you to meet my good friend Michele.  She’s fun, clever and creative. She’s the kind of active person who likes to do things (as opposed to lots of people I know who like to mostly sit around).  She is such a do-er that when she couldn’t find an activewear top she liked, she went out and designed, manufactured and sold one.  Thus was gwenyth born.  This is not an advertising site, but from time to time I’ll feature brands that I support.  While I have obviously never worn one of her tops, I like gwenyth and love Michele, so I asked her to share a little bit about herself and her great product.

The lovely Michele. Athlete, entrepreneur, boob expert and peace advocate.

The lovely Michele. Athlete, entrepreneur, boob expert and peace advocate.

When David asked me to guest post, I was honored yet baffled – as an owner of a small activewear brand focused on barre, dance, and pilates, who considers a 5 minute shuffle around the block a “run” these days, what could I possibly share that would be of interest to a running crowd?

My chicken response to David’s invitation was as follows:

“Would love to guest post – but I’m not sure what gwenyth would offer to your running audience.  I’ve been specifically told by girls with chest sizes B-cup and up (that’s like every non-Asian girl in the US) that our top is NOT for running! Which is isn’t.  🙂   But thanks for thinking of me.”

And then I weakly offered in the same e-mail:

“Maybe what happens to boobs in sports bras, targeted to your female runners?  Or maybe that would be for the men.  🙂  I could probably write a book on boobs at this point.  Girth and cup are insufficient measures.  There is also shape and trajectory to consider.  That’s why no one can ever find the right bra.”

To which he responded:

“WOW, now I insist that you write something.”

Now that I’ve either whittled down or slightly grown the audience still paying attention, I’m going to talk about…wait for it…not boobs.  Instead I’m going to talk about why I started gwenyth.  Those of you that feel like you boarded the wrong plane can feel free to exit now.image00111

gwenyth tops – barre to bar

gwenyth tops – barre to bar

On starting gwenyth: The story on our website and materials talk about how I couldn’t find a top for myself for dance class that performed and supported, but was pretty and feminine and didn’t squash my meager A-cup (per reference above, yes I am Asian).  About how I redesigned the internal bra, chose very specific fabric, and reworked its construction to solve that problem.  About how I have no apparel manufacturing background and prototyped like over 20 garments to get to the exact fit I wanted.   Yes that’s all true.  But as I really think about it, that’s not why I started gwenyth.

I started it because:  I wanted to bring dance to life. That’s the best I can describe it.  Now let me explain what I mean, as I realize this all sounds a little hokey.  I don’t mean to say I want everyone to dance.  Although a flashmob consisting of all runners doing the running man would be uh-mee-yaaay-zing.  Or that I think current dance and dancing is dead and lifeless.  What I mean is that I want to bring that feeling of mental, physical, and emotional breakthrough I experience most consistently from dance into daily life for myself and others.  And it just happens that I thought the best way to do that was via a top that reflected the strength, aesthetics, and invention of dance.

I never get tired of going to dance class.  As an adult beginner, I am nowhere near great, or even good.  But it doesn’t matter.  I’m still motivated to get better and the little improvements are like massive rewards.  I’m never looking at the clock, and I am never so discouraged or ill-fit for the discipline that I want to give up despite any pain.  Similarly, for my runner friends, it seems that running is an almost compulsion.  There’s no if but when. It’s like an express elevator to a different strata of the mind and the body.  It’s something they never get tired of pushing at. It’s not easy.  But it’s not impossible.  And there’s eternal reward in the doing even on the bad days and maybe even more so on the days that hurt. But whether it’s dance or running, crossfit or bird watching, I think there’s that 1 or 3 things for each person that heightens their sense of experience and life. For me it’s dance. Maybe for you it’s running.

So, selfishly, that’s why I started gwenyth.  I want to seize that feeling not just for a 1-hour dance class, or a 2-hour run, but for more of my waking, working life. I want to help people channel that feeling more efficiently. Yesterday it was through a top. Today it was through a pic of James Dean doing ballet. Tomorrow it may be through a fund to make the dance experience more accessible to more children.

This Men’s Health article (http://betweenloveandlike.blogspot.com/2008/04/airborne-toxic-events-mikel-jollett-on.html) by Mikel Jolett, the lead singer for Airborne Toxic Event and incidentally also a runner, best explains the sentiment I think.  And because he’s not an idiot, he didn’t name it “Motivation” or “Inspiration”.  Instead he entitled it “Brad Pitt Whipped Me Into Shape”.

If you’re interested in learning more about a top that is generally NOT for running, but fabulous for 90% of all other occasions, check out gwenyth’s website (www.gwenythbrand.com) or feel free to contact me directly at michele@gwenythbrand.com.

Remember, running is just like dancing forward.

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