They say necessity is the mother of invention. JLEW bags originated this way.
Going from the boxing gym daily straight to meetings, Jamie Lewis (aka JLEW) found herself carrying multiple bags and appearing less than put together. She could not find a true carryall sufficient to hold all of her workout and work gear that also looked fashionable so she decided to make her own. About six months and seventy self-made prototypes later she decided to go back to school at FIT – Fashion Institute of Technology (a little different from her Columbia MBA) – and learn more about pattern making and bag construction. In class one day she looked down at the bag she was making and smiled realizing she had chosen a silver lining! That was her aha moment.
JLEW bags is her passion project. These bags energize her even more than boxing does; please help spread this happy energy using the hashtag #bagswithasilverlining as you incorporate #jlewbags into your routine.
Jamie hopes you see it sparkle back at you when you go to pack it in those early morning hours pre coffee . . . when you look down at it from your desk eagerly anticipating gym time later in the day . . . in between airport shuffles, errand runs, mom duty . . . and again when you put your gear back inside it after a good workout . . . or when you look down from your barstool at happy hour and the secret of skipping the gym stays safe between you and your JLEW bag.
JLEW lives by the motto “do one thing a day that scares you” and loves to surround herself with #girlswithguts . . . join us on this journey as we share more about these awesome women.
She created an authentic movement believing female energy is invigorating, calming and yet can fire you up!
You might have seen our founder wearing a t-shirt with #FemaleRevolution emblazoned on the front at our #GWG1 Wellness Event earlier this year, which took place on the day of the Women’s March . . . she sported it with pride, in support of fellow female founder Cary Williams who created the #NEVERTOOPRETTY movement on social media. That shirt was designed to make the statement that women are here, we are strong and we will continue our fight!
We had the pleasure of catching up with Cary and learning more about this gutsy gal and what she’s building. Continue reading to learn more.
You really created a movement with #NeverTooPretty . . . how long ago did you start this initiative, what inspired you and what keeps you going?
I started the #nevertoopretty movement over a year ago. The inspiration for the movement was an extension of the Too Pretty brand. The idea of the brand is that you are never too pretty to do or be anything. Too Pretty has an ambassador program and those applicants are asked why the brand speaks to them. The answers I read on their applications brought tears to my eyes on occasion and I felt like others needed to read these stories. The campaign started with us posting some girls and women holding signs that said what they were never too pretty to do or be. We then encouraged our social media community to do the same. Pretty soon there were girls and women posting their own #nevertoopretty signs and sharing their stories in their post.
Now we have extended the movement into actual projects where our ambassadors will create an event or collaborate with someone in their community to do an event. The point is to gather girls and women together to talk about what the movement means, what it personally means to them and allows them to write a message on their own board. The event is wrapped up with a learning clinic. They may learn how to box, how to code, how to fly or how to open their own business. The clinic depends on the skill set of the ambassador. The inspiration to keep the movement going simply comes from the messages we receive from everyone who participates in the social media campaign and/or the live projects. When you see that you are making a difference in each community in an authentic and honest way, you know you are doing the right thing.
You ARE your brand, which is what appealed to us from the beginning. Trainer, cover model, role model, entrepreneur, boxer and boxing promoter . . . um, is there anything you CAN’T do or want to do but haven’t yet?
I am very grounded within the brand and yes, it was created out of my personal experience in a male dominated sport and business. I want to be present and be a part of this beautiful female community that Too Pretty has created.
You ask if there is anything I can’t do . . . well, no there isn’t! I truly believe that we are all capable of anything no matter what our gender is or where we come from. I want to continue to be that example for our girls out there. There is still so much I want to do with Too Pretty and our community. I am excited for the future and can’t wait to be able to give more than support and inspiration. The ultimate goal is to give scholarships to girls and women who need assistance to move forward with their dreams. Whether it is for travel expenses for wrestling tournaments or to start a new small business, I want to give them that leg up that might just make a difference.
Female entrepreneurship is becoming more of a trend, but as you know it’s not all rainbows and unicorns all the time. How do you stay so positive and keep up the good fight? Do you have a certain phrase you keep repeating, a morning mantra . . . what keeps you sane?
Well I haven’t seen a unicorn yet!
Being an entrepreneur is something that is in your soul. I do not have a business degree nor did my family have a business. I am a creative person who is not afraid to take risks. Those are two key ingredients you must have to be a successful entrepreneur. Too Pretty is actually my second company. Many years ago I grew a chain of boxing clubs in Northern California and even began franchising them. If you know anything about business you know that franchising is extremely challenging. Life changes occurred and I decided to move to Santa Monica, CA 5 years ago to open a small boxing studio and focus on my passion; Too Pretty. I have never looked back and have found a female community that I never knew before. I suppose that is what keeps me sane and driven. As a child I was raised by my father with no female influence around. After college I engulfed myself into boxing. Again no female community around. I had been missing out! The female energy is invigorating, calming and yet can fire you up!
What would you like people to know about our upcoming collaboration?
The upcoming collaboration with JLEW means a lot to me. Since starting Too Pretty I have been in contact with so many amazing women, Jamie Lewis being one of them! As a fellow female entrepreneur I am extremely impressed with how she has started JLEW bags and her constant innovation with her products and marketing.Aside from that she is a genuinely giving person who is always looking out for her female community. As for JLEW bags, well, they are all badass! There is not one bag that I would not carry. They are beautiful, functional, fashionable and some are even cruelty free. What else can you ask for out of a bag?
We can’t help but ask, which is your favorite JLEW Bag and why?
The ASH CRUELTY FREE HEAVYWEIGHT TRIANGLE TOP TOTE is my favorite presently. It is so versatile! I use it to put my gym gear in (shoes and water bottle fit perfectly in the inside pouches), I use it as a carry on (again those pouches are great for shoes) and I use it as a purse when I go out. It is a great bag for going to the movies because you can put bottled water and candy in that bag without anyone being the wiser 😉
You’re amazing Cary and we can’t wait to see what’s next for the Too Pretty brand.