Today we’d like to introduce you to Whitney Janea Kennard.
Whitney Janea, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
How I started? Mhm… Well, I’d like to say since I was a little girl, I always had an entrepreneur mindset. I can remember being on the playground reselling candy bars, chip, cookies, etc. with my childhood best friend we were like walking vending machines. I also would make and sell personalized name keychains to my aunties’ hair customers. I was the little keychain lady to them! So I guess that mentality has always been in me! One thing ima do is get some money, but I strive to make people feel good and have fun while doing it and I think that’s what sets me apart as a person and my brand!
Growing up, I used to think I was going to be a fashion designer (my drawing were ridiculous), but the ideas were really nice for a kid! I loved to dress and especially keep up with the latest sneakers! But somewhere along the way in elementary, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer and I was going to The Illustrious Spelman College and I did, I did attend and graduate from Spelman College (Class of 2015) with a degree in Political Science with a Pre-law concentration!
Upon completion, I decided I was going to get some work experience before I enrolled in law school and I’m glad I did! Since graduating I’ve been a teacher, Senior Legislative Aide for the Ohio Senate, Economic Development Specialist Lorain County Board of Commissioners and all these opportunities (amazing and I miss things about them all) taught me I did not want to work for someone else forever, at least not right now! During this time my best friend and I started a clothing brand/boutique together called Prevail Fashion and we did that together for a short time!
After having my daughter in 2020 my style and comfortability in clothing changed tremendously! So I decided I wanted to start a brand I would feel comfortable wearing which is why FIT FOR YOU 319 was created (March 19 is my daughter’s birthday)! I sometimes refer to the brand as FFY!
It’s crazy how things come full circle! I haven’t thought about how my childhood love for fashion and dream to be a fashion designer is playing a part in the dream I am fulfilling now! A lot of people ask if I still plan to go to law school since I’m only 28. I’m still passionate about the change I could bring in that field, so the answer is maybe later.
But right now I believe I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to do!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I can’t even spell smooth when it comes to this journey! Anything, but smooth! If I had to describe the road or journey there’s a lot I would say, but let’s not put it all in writing, lol.
The road has been challenging, but rewarding! I will start by saying the brand I had with my best friend helped curve some of the challenges and learning stages with FIT FOR YOU 319.
But this is a one woman show right now (with the help of my amazing niece, Alaijah) we shoot the photos ourselves, pick the pieces and how to brand them, content creation, marketing all of it and it’s exhausting because I’m not an expert in any of those fields so learning as I go is a struggle, but with the businesses currently being self financed I have limited resources to invest in hiring or paying people to do some of those things. So for right now, we make it do what it do!
It’s hard being a mom and running a business trying to find balance, oh and not to mention finding babysitters, lol.
Outside of those things I feel as though the biggest struggle in business right now is brand awareness and targeting the right audience who needs what I have to offer. Once I find my Fit For You Family and my FFY Family finds me I think it’ll start to make more sense and cents, because some days it’s a struggle!
We just celebrated one year in business on 12.4.21 so I know I have to give myself and the brand some grace and time to grow!
I will say this entrepreneurship is not for the weak of heart, but it’s definitely worth the hard work!
We’ve been impressed with Fit For You 319, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Fit For You 319, sells not so basic athleisure and activewear primarily for the multifunctional woman. I say primarily because we’ve started to receive some request to release items for men and we are currently testing it out.
FFY 319 makes women look and feel on top of their game! We have outfits that can be worn for many different occasions! From everyday errands, weekend activities, brunch, dinner, hookah date, a night out dancing and anything in between!
The brand is diverse in its offerings we are a sporty and casual one stop shop! You can find bodysuits, waist trainers, sports bras, legging sets, sweatsuits, etc. We truly pride ourselves on being a provider of essentials for the gym and outside the gym!
It’s important to note fashion is not abandoned in the products! I like to use the hashtag #flyfitness sometimes because the outfits are really cute and functional! Most of our items stretch to the diversity of the woman’s body and our High Waist Everyday Leggings will keep everything nice and tight!
The price point is not too high. You do not have to break the bank to shop you could easily purchase an entire look for less than $100!
I am most proud of the all purpose aspect of shopping with the brand! I love having items in my wardrobe that can serve me in many different spaces and the pieces are great for mixing and matching so you don’t have to start from scratch when putting together your outfit!
The sets have been tested and proven to serve women well on a multitude of outings! Want to go to lunch and rock climbing after? The only thing you’ll have to do is switch shoes! Shop fitforyou319.com we have the perfect sets for you! We have options from S-3XL so you can decide if you are wearing FFY to work out or hitting the streets. Most of our FFY Family do both!
One of the goals for my brand for it to feel like a Community as a safe space to live in your skin and just be you so I refer to my supports, shoppers, followers as my FFY Family because that’s what I’m trying to build.
Speaking of FFY being a family for our one year anniversary on 12.4.21 we celebrated with an FFY Multi-Brand Fashion Show x Shopping Experience. The event had 3 brands participate in the runway show to showcase the merchandise and products they off and we had 7 businesses with vendors table to sell their products. The of the event was to put a spin on a traditional pop up shop and to celebrate not just my business, but to create a space and opportunity to acknowledge others!
Take a read here https://www.morningjournal.com/2021/12/06/mje-l-brands-fashion-experience-1207/
We are excited to announce that we will be giving back to the community our nonprofit is in the works which will be centered around financial education and building generational wealth! Information will be released soon on our Instagram and Website!
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Covid really showed me as a person no one is coming to save you. Most jobs and companies do not care about their employees the way we desire to be cared for so it’s best to always have a backup plan! I had been planning for a while how to take a leap of faith and really leave my job and the Covid Crisis helped me make that move!
It taught me you can really do anything you put your mind to. I’ve always been a hard worker, but because I’m now working for something that is solely mine and my responsibility I have to show up like never before or the business won’t grow, I won’t make an impact, and I won’t make money!
The Covid-19 Impact is what I like to call it has pushed and allowed so many people to finally start doing what they love and what they’ve been scared to do!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: fitforyou319.com
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/fitforyou319 | https://instagram.com/itswhitneyjanea
- Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/FITFORYOU319
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ITSWHITNEYJANEA
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb7OLSQ5xRrglcWEcIw9fOA
FIRSTXXIV Media Group