Thinking Outside the Box: Business a “No Brainer” for Games Athletes
It’s an impressive resume: seven trips to the CrossFit Games, owning an affiliate and now, a full-time mom.
If all that wasn’t enough to juggle, Kara Saunders is heading into retail and adding another notch to her business belt.
“It’s simple really, I like to work and I’ll never say no to a fun opportunity,” Saunders said.
Enter Kara’s new performance eyewear label, ACTIV. In her own words, it’s “fuss free eyewear” that “supports an active, out-and-about type of lifestyle.”
“Our overall goal was to produce something that would seamlessly transition from running around on the beach, paddling or working out in the garage with your mates straight to the cafe for a coffee catch up,” Saunders said.
Documenting her postpartum comeback, the former 2nd Fittest Woman on Earth has been repping the range on her vlog and social media for some time now.
If you’ve been eye-ing them off, a soft launch is still a few months away, but the brand already has an active (pardon the pun!) following on social media and website.
“I’m the kind of person always looking for some kind of new and fun opportunity in my life and a way to move forward,” she said.
“My CrossFit athletic career is semi uncontrollable and has an uncertain timeline, however my love for health, fitness and the community will live forever, so I’ll continue to use that passion and experience in every other aspect of my life.”
“With the performance line I wanted to bridge the gap and have people look and feel the part while they live their active lifestyle, with something that has been designed to perform no matter what you throw at them,” Saunders added.
That includes the Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run, which Saunders and several other Games athletes will participate in on Kauai this September. Kara has been involved with the Keala Foundation since 2016 and said she’s glad to now have a source of income that can continuously support a worthy cause.
“With something like ACTIV, I have the ability to contribute on a greater scale by donating 5% of our sales to get behind Keala and their endeavour to continue to create change for the kids of Hawaii.”
The concept was a “no-brainer” for Saunders and her husband Matt when their now business partner, Australian health and fitness entrepreneur, Daniel Alenaddaf pitched the idea.
“Over the past 8 years, I have met some amazing people and built some solid friendships with like minded people forever. This is one of those relationships that enabled me to do something that is truly a fun passion of mine,” Saunders said.
While Kara’s eyewear pursuits are unique, her business aspirations as a Games athlete are not.
- Adrian Conway started FNX while training with team Wasatch Brutes 2017 CrossFit Games. “The Monday I got back from the Games we never looked back as the site went live and orders started coming in.”
While he says at the time, training was the priority, “I knew the momentum and coverage of us winning … would give our brand great momentum.”
He also added it’s important for all athletes to have a healthy distraction, whether that’s a hobby or a profession. “There is a fine line of a healthy versus unhealthy distraction but that is going to be different for each of us,” he said.
- The unique experience of training for the Games is what motivated Stacie Tovar to start her own affiliate and Go Far Fitness programming: “Throw in a decade of training for the CrossFit Games and coaching thousands of hours of group classes, and I truly have so much to offer. I’m full of knowledge and my programs really work.”
That being said, adding athlete, businesswoman and now mom to her credentials like Saunders, Tovar said: “Managing all of it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my whole entire life!”
- Miranda Alcaraz sees herself “more as an entrepreneur who did a stint as an athlete,” now solely focusing on her online programming, Street Parking.
She told the Morning Chalk Up, “As far as training and relationships go, that’s what Street Parking is all about! I only train for 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This has been true for 3 years now. I have no desire to compete anymore and my attention is 100% on Street Parking and my family.”
Miranda and husband Julian (also a former Games athlete) run Street Parking together and now have 16, 000 members: “We have grown much faster than we could have ever imagined. Our current focus is on maintaining the tight knit feel of the community – even with 16,000 members.”
- Meg Reardon also started lifestyle brand Wags & Weights in 2014, “not knowing how far it would go.”
“As a pitbull mom and competitive CrossFitter, I thought it would be really cool to create some products that catered to people like myself – the fitness & dog enthusiast! As soon as we began putting products out, the response was amazing,” she said.
- Margaux Alvarez is arguably the best multi-tasker. We recently caught up with the seven times Games athlete turned winemaker and this year, she balanced competing with team Invictus X at the 2019 CrossFit Games whilst holding tastings even delivering cases to customers in Madison.
There’s no launch date for her next venture, however Margaux’s social media has also hinted at an evening wear label coming soon. Alvarez was recently shooting the line with fellow team competitor Chyna Cho in Vancouver.