run-life-co

Spring is in the air!

Jessica Wagner

With flowers blooming and perfect running weather all around us, spring has definitely sprung in Philadelphia!  So what better time to tell you about Run Life Co. than now??

I'm Jess and I’m the owner/founder/designer of Run Life Co.  I’ve been a runner for 10+ years and recently moved back to the east coast from California to start my business.  When I began running in middle school, I didn’t know how much it would affect my life.  Turns out that running has made me who I am today.  It builds up both my physical strength and self-confidence, teaches me how to push through tough situations, and allows me to meditate when everything else in my life seems out of control.  I love training just as much as I love racing!  I’ve completed three full marathons in Philly, San Diego and DC.  My fourth marathon will be in September near my hometown in the Pennsylvania - super excited for that!

(Me at the DC marathon in March 2015)

With running as a strong foundation for my life, I wanted to pass this onto others.  Over the past six months, I’ve been working on Run Life Co. (RLC).  Starting with a clothing line, RLC aims to build a community around long distance running.  The great thing about running is that you have a choice to participate as an individual or as a team.  RLC recognizes individual empowerment through its clothing’s unique graphics and designs, but promotes teamwork with its community building platform. 

A huge part of this community building means taking care of our youth and the next generation of runners and leaders.  For this reason, RLC will donate ten percent of each clothing sale to youth mentoring programs that use physical fitness to build students’ confidence and teach self-discipline.

I volunteer with two of these youth mentoring programs in Philadelphia.  Students in the programs are encouraged to set goals physically, socially and academically to push them out of their comfort zones.  Seeing the students work hard to accomplish their goals has made me re-evaluate my own goals and work ethic.  The kids show me that mental toughness can often outweigh physical strength - that even when we’re exhausted and feel like we can’t go any further, we can ALWAYS push a little harder.  They remind me that we should all dream big and reach higher than what feels comfortable.  And most importantly, they prove to me that we are products of our own self will, and not only of the cards we are dealt in life.  Each student has a unique story from where they came and where they want to go.  The skills they’re learning in these programs will help them reach their life dreams.

My goal is to create a sustainable funding system for these programs through clothing sales, which leads me to the next part of community building: US manufacturing.  I’m taking this a step further by manufacturing apparel in Pennsylvania.  Clothing will be cut and sewn at the very same factory where my grandmother worked 20 years ago.  Kind of cool, right?!  Shirts will then be transported to a small shop in Philadelphia for screen printing.  Everything is kept local to strengthen the community in all ways possible.

(My grandma at her old sewing factory)

You’ll be hearing more from me in the next few weeks as we begin manufacturing and the plan is put into action.  I’m excited to share this journey with you and look forward to your support and feedback!

Now put on your running shoes and get outside to enjoy the spring weather!! ;)

 

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