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Black Strawberry Activewear

I attended International Yoga Day a while back with some friends.  I got to spend some time purely on myself, tried new Yoga flows, & left feeling utterly relaxed.  With the stress that every day life is throwing at me, I often feel like I am simply functioning on adrenaline & absolutely dread the day that this runs out!

While I was at this event, I got to spend a little time walking around the stalls that were there & see more of what is on offer in the fitness/wellness industry.  One such stall was Black Strawberry Activewear…

I was attracted to them from their bright colours & the friendly face of Londeka who was working there.  I knew I had to go over to take a look, & spent a good amount of time inspecting what they had on offer.  With beautiful African-inspired prints, amazing quality fabric & beautifully designed activewear; I was suitably impressed.  I went home & did some more research on them before reaching out & asking if I could do a blog on them.  This clothing is made with the South African woman in mind – it embraces our curves & individuality.

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Their customer service is out of this world, & they immediately responded.  They even sent me the stunning set I had been eyeing out at International Yoga Day, which showed me that they truly care about their customers & pay attention to their interests.  When I put it on I felt like a modern-day superwoman & loved how soft the top & tights felt against my skin.  Plus another bonus is the TWO hidden pockets in the tights – if you know anything about me, you know I love a good pocket!  These would be perfect for an iPod, some cash, or some lady necessities.  I even got a “WOW” from husband when I walked out in it which obviously boosted my self-confidence.

Without further ado, here is the interview with the creator herself!


Your name: Mandisa Khumalo

Business name: Black Strawberry Activewear (Pty) Ltd

Social media handles: Facebook, Instagram & Website

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Tell me a bit more about what you do: We are an activewear brand that focuses on providing women with unique apparel for whatever their active journey is. Precise fit. Bold colors. Eye catching designs. For women to be fearless , phenomenal and truly themselves.

How long have you been running for: Two years

What makes your clothing different to others: We want to celebrate Africa, in all its awesomeness. We try to have designs that celebrate different African cultures, the vibrant colours, art and way of life. We love highwaist leggings that accentuate a woman’s waist and pockets that makes sure that we can carry lipstick or race food or tissues and our phones wherever we workout.

Why are you so passionate about what you do: Mainly because it doesn’t feel like work; it’s fun, exciting and adventurous. My team and I get to discover that there is inspiration everywhere if we only have our eyes and hearts really open to it.

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Why would you encourage people to support local: We think it’s important to support local brands as they’re like family; wouldn’t we all like to support our family members who are creating something that they are passionate about? Local brands also motivate us ‘cos they make us believe that it’s possible for all of us to achieve something from just an idea as long as we’re prepared to do the work.

Where can people buy your clothing from: Online and at pop-ups – we normally apply at different events (running races, health and wellness expos etc) and depending on the cost, we pop-up there.

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Why are you passionate about living a healthy, happy life: WOW, where do I start; a healthy lifestyle helps me keep fit, full of energy, unstoppable, lets me explore different sports and live an adventurous life. I’m also more aware of what I eat and the effect it has on my mood, my body and my life as a whole.

Quote you live by: I don’t have one quote but have five statements I keep on my bathroom wall (so I can revisit them everytime I brush my teeth)

(1) I am capable of learning and developing

(2) I can put effort into improving myself

(3) Challenges are opportunities to grow

(4) Feedback helps me to improve

(5) Failure gives me an opportunity to try again and do better


You guys!  Are you not just completely enamored by this company & everything that they stand for?  And don’t you love that they EMBRACE our bodies for what they are, rather than trying to force us to fit into society’s mold of ‘perfection’?

I would pick a size up from your regular, as they are quite tight fitting & you don’t want to be uncomfortable in your gorgeous new outfit!  They also have some great inspiration tees available – my friend bought some & they are also a gorgeous quality, & so so stunning.  I think we all need a reminder to be fearless, & perhaps there are other ladies out there that need to hear this too!

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Thank you so much Mandisa & Londeka for this opportunity, & for your kindness.  I absolutely adore you & all that you are doing.  I can’t wait to see what else you bring to us, & I am super excited to see you at the next event!


 

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To the woman at the Gym

About 2 months ago I plucked up the courage to join a gym.

I haven’t exercised in over 15 years, & my body has taken huge strain.  Having Myasthenia Gravis meant that I couldn’t exercise, as stimulation of the muscles meant that they were weaker overall & it could even affect my lungs & breathing.  Well-meaning people would say I need to get fitter, or lift weights in order to try strengthen my muscles, but it just isn’t possible with MG.  It is a very frustrating situation to be in, as we all know the importance of exercise as well as the associated endorphins.

But now, with my second chance at life causing me to jump out of bed every morning & be excited to see what I can do today, I knew that I needed to lose weight in a healthy manner & start caring for my body the way it deserves.

Starting at a gym terrified me.  There are super fit people there & I was so nervous that I would be judged for the way I look, my inabilities & just because I am the newbie.  But I put on my big girl panties & headed to Virgin Active Cedar Square – it is close to both home & work, & I immediately got a good vibe from the staff when I walked in.  They were welcoming, kind & made me feel so comfortable.

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I had no idea what to do on any of the machines, so decided to ease into this journey by trying out some classes.  There were so many to choose from – dancing, boxing, yoga, pilates, The Grid, spinning…  How would I know what I would actually like?  And would I stand out like a sore thumb in the class?

First up was boxing…  Oh boy!  I huffed, puffed, groaned, grunted, sweated & wanted to cry – that was just trying to fit into my tights in order to get to gym.  I didn’t have proper takkies, & had to wear a t-shirt I had been sleeping is as I literally had no active wear.  I didn’t want to spend unnecessary money if I didn’t enjoy this fitness journey, plus my goal is to lose weight so I didn’t think it was worth buying clothes that would (hopefully) be too big for me.

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Arriving at the gym, I swiped my card & made my way to the room in which the class was to be held.  There were a few other women there & I looked around nervously.  Not one of them greeted me.  They acted like I didn’t exist.  Running around the room as part of the warm-up, I had to keep taking breaks & sips of my water.  I explained to the instructor that I was very unfit & hadn’t exercised in some time – he was so understanding & spent extra time helping me with every exercise to ensure I was doing it correctly to prevent further injury.  But I was put off by the eye-rolling & judgement coming from some of the women in the class.  They made me feel self-conscious & embarrassed.  I couldn’t wait for the class to be over & ran out at the end before jumping into my car & letting a few tears escape down my cheek. What was I doing?  I wasn’t ready for this.


The following week I decided to try dance class.  I had done competitive dance before I was diagnosed, & had always enjoyed moving to music – it brought me so much happiness & transported me to a better place.

As I walked into the room, I saw the same woman that had been at boxing.  My heart sank.  But she ignored me & acted like she hadn’t seen me.  Perhaps she didn’t remember how terrible I was, or maybe she was just so caught up in her own world?

Dance class was everything I could possibly dream of & more.  The instructor was so full of life & made me feel so welcome.  She was beautiful inside & out, & didn’t pick me out in front of the others for not knowing the movements.  She laughed & I left feeling on top of the world.

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This first class was over 2 months ago, & I have been going on a weekly basis.  It is my pure escape & something that I look forward to every week.  I love the feel-good vibes.  I am still catching up to the others that have been going for ages, but when I look back on the fact that I was walking with a cane this time last year I am FLIPPING PROUD.

But this woman & her cronies…  Gosh.  She is literally destroying my enjoyment & happiness, & I even skipped dance class this week as I couldn’t handle having to deal with her.  I feel like I am back at high school, & there are the “cool kids” in the corner of the class room who are judging me.  I feel like I will never fit in, or really be good enough.  I hide away in the corner, & always stand at the back of the class so nobody will see me.  The enjoyment of the class is totally destroyed by the fact that I feel like I don’t fit in & that they are judging me.


This past weekend I took my sister to gym with me as they had an open weekend.  She commented on how friendly all the staff were, & we both love the fact that they know me by name & make everyone feel so welcome.

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And then, can you believe it, THE woman came to the same class I had signed my sister & I up for.  Now, I am not your usual lady at the gym.  I still don’t have much hair.  I wear crazy tights.  I laugh out loud when I can’t do something.  But yet this one still acts like she has never seen me.  I was standing at the entrance when she walked in, & offered a nervous smile.  She looked at me & immediately looked away – pretending she had never seen me.  Weird right?

Then helping the instructor set up the equipment for the class, we were standing next to each other.  I thought I would try again – my mum has instilled good manners in me & has always encouraged me to be friendly.  I greeted her.  She looked at me like I was poop on her shoes & walked away.  My sister noticed this interaction & reminded me to be the bigger person.  I think if she hadn’t been there with me I would have immediately walked out & probably shed a few tears on the way.


It took a lot of guts to join a gym.  I know I am overweight.  I know I am unfit.  I know that there is a LOT of stuff that I cannot do.  I don’t have a workout buddy that I can go to gym with, & have had to step out of my shell to make friends at the gym.

There are some wonderful ladies at the gym that greet, encourage & support one another – but there seems to be this nasty little clique that cuts through to your core & reminds you that you will never really be good enough.

I don’t know if I will go back to dance class.  It really upsets me, but I just can’t deal with being made to feel small, insignificant & not good enough by other women who are there.  I am better than I was this time last week – better than this time last month – & a whole new person compared to who I was this time last year.  But I will still never measure up to anything compared to the “cool kids”.

My personal trainer, Zander, is one in a million & really encourages me on a daily basis.  He shows me I can be strong.  He shows me I can be a fighter.  But then I walk into a class with the mean girls & I lose all of that.  I lose myself.  I become that little nerd from school who didn’t fit in & my insecurities are front & centre.


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I just want to remind everyone that you have no idea of the battle that people are fighting.  You don’t know what is going on at home.  You don’t know what medication they are on that has caused them to gain weight.  You don’t know if they had an accident & haven’t been able to exercise in some time.  You don’t know what they are feeling.  You don’t know if your smile could brighten their day.  You don’t know if your snotty, judgmental look could completely ruin it.

It costs you nothing to be kind.  It takes nothing to be kind & welcoming.  But it can be the turning point in someone’s life.

So if you are this woman, please #ChooseKind.  Please don’t make others feel like they will never measure up to you.  Please just smile at me & others like me.  At the end of the day we are all people & we deserve mutual respect & love.

Peace x


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Fit Farm Girl

On my quest to being healthy once again, & learning to love my body, I came across Fit Bands.  I had heard of them before, but because my health was so shocking, I couldn’t even dream of making use of them or really finding out more.  But then I had a life-changing experience & now I am able to actually EXERCISE!  And I am still determined to support local in this new path that I am on – so I knew that Fit Farm Girl was on my radar & that I really wanted to find out more.

Then I heard about their event – mind.booty.soul pop-up experience which is happening this weekend.  I am so excited to attend this, & if you haven’t bought your ticket then quickly go over here to get one before they sell out!  They are only R290 each…

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The mind.booty.soul pop-up experience brought to you by Fit Farm Girl.

A fusion of yoga for the mind, a workout for the booty and healthy food for the soul.

Spend a morning with us, get a custom Fit Band, and explore our exhibitors stands to shop for your favorite health and wellness products. You’ll also get a goodie bag and a light post-workout meal when you’re done. Spot prizes and selfies guaranteed 😉

Suitable for ALL fitness levels, so bring your friends and make it a morning to remember!


Your name: Camella Sanders

Business name: Fit Farm Girl

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Social media handles: Instagram, Facebook & Website

Tell me a bit more about what you do: I own and run an online store. I’m the founder of Fit Bands by Fit Farm Girl, the first of their kind in SA material resistance bands: which don’t slip, snap or roll.

How did you come up with this idea: I was an online nutritional coach, working out from home. I wanted to start selling small pieces of equipment for use at home when I came across material resistance bands. No one else in SA was doing it and I jumped on it to create ‘Fit Bands by Fit Farm Girl’ which has now developed into almost 10 different items under the Fit Farm Girl Brand!

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What is a fit band: A Fit Band is made out of a woven fabric blend which is sewn to create a loop resistance band. The Fit Bands are used to activate the glutes – especially helpful for those at a desk all day and incorporated into various exercises to work the lower body

How long have you been running (business-wise) for: May 2019 we are officially 1 years old!

How did you decide on your business’s name: When I was doing online coaching I was living on a Game Farm and working out from home. It came time to decide on a name and I wanted to make it descriptive for me, and so Fit Farm Girl happened. When I moved to e-commerce it made sense to keep the name and let that reputation already created work in my favour.

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I see you have introduced more products recently – can you tell me a bit more about those: We have recently launched an active wear range – I have always LOVED fashion and this new range allows me to join two passions of mine! Besides for the Fit Bands and active wear, we also have THRUST pads, Core Sliders, Ankle bands (Fit Bands V2.0) and Kick Straps. And we are also venturing into events with our mind.booty.soul pop-up experience on the 25th May in JHB

What is your favourite fitband: I love the Pink and Purple bands as they were my first and have a special place for me. Also the Signature Series which are custom print bands we release now and then for a limited number, once they sold, the print is never repeated – it takes me months to decide on the right prints, haha.

Why do these make such a difference to your workout: Many people are sedentary and even when they do go to gym, their glutes have become so lazy, they aren’t fully engaged and activated. Using a Fit Band ensures that glute activation. They are also unlike conventional resistance bands which snap and wear quickly. Our bands can be washed and do not snap, ever! Their size also makes them perfect for travel workouts 😉

Where can people order these from: Our website makes for easy check out

Quote you live by: Decide. Commit. Succeed

Anything else you want to add: I absolutely love owning my own business but it is also the most challenging thing I have faced in my life. Make sure you chose to do something you LOVE and you’re 100% passionate about because then it will be worth it. NEVER just do it for the money, not even money can make you less miserable if you don’t love what you do. Start with what you have and don’t expect it to be perfect. Everything will fall into place, but without action there can be no progress. Take action, take risks and get used to being uncomfortable!


I am so excited about this company, & have ordered my very own sliders, as well as a tote bag – & can’t wait for my very own Fit Band this weekend at their event!  Luckily it has just been my birthday so I will be able to treat myself to some more of their products too…

Will I see you there?  I really hope so!


 

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Unicorn Fitness Box

In case you haven’t realised, I am slightly obsessed with unicorns!  And with my sister owning the Metafit franchise, I am constantly on the lookout for new & exciting fitness things too.  So when I came across the Unicorn Fitness Box, it was like they had magically combined us together with our favourite things…


Your name: Nadine Ackermann
Business name: Unicorn Fitness Box
How did you choose this name: Who doesn’t love Unicorns, surprises and fitness stuff
What do you do: A contributor to the corporate machine by day, supplier of magical fitness stuff by night. And weekend.
What sort of things do you include in your boxes: Each month we include items from the fitness industry in the categories of apparel, equipment, nutrition, recovery and education. We have found awesome local startups that are dying for a platform to get their product out there in the hands of their target market. You will find something for everybody no matter what form of fitness you’re in to, weather you are a seasoned athlete or a newbie to fitness. Magical Fitness Stuff. Delivered.

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How did you start this business: The need for me arose when I kept seeing these awesome products available, but could never justify the spend on something I might only use once. So I got a couple of brands together that I liked and gave it a try on the ladies in my gym. The response I got was great, it was also a ton of fun to do. Our subscribers love the idea of getting things that they say they would never have thought of getting for themselves. At our gym we have one or two ladies that also have small gym equipment based start up and seeing them struggle to move stock and make sales was also a great assurance to me that this idea could be needed.
Social media handles: Facebook & Instagram
How can people place their order, & how much are the subscription boxes: Log on to our website and select from 1 of 3 magical subscriptions. 1 month, 4 month and a year. We start at R565.00 a month with shipping and delivery included. For this you get 4 to 7 items in each box, with a value of R700 to R1200.
If a company wants to get involved, how can they get hold of you: Drop us a mail on curation@unicornfitnessbox.co.za and we can get chatting! Every single item that goes into our box is carefully selected, defiantly tested and purchased and paid for. This allows us to up hold our brand as a premium and exclusive subscription with accountability to our subscribers from us and our suppliers.
Quote you live by: Act like a lady, Lift like a Boss, Sparkle like a Mofo Unicorn.thumbnail_DSC_3732


Doesn’t this sound like such a great idea?  I know I absolutely love the sound of it & definitely want to try one out for myself – maybe it will even encourage me to get fitter & healthier!


 

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