My journey started about 20 years ago, I was well over 300 pounds when I made the decision to visit a naturopathic physician who provided me with holistic health care for the first time in my life.
I just wanted to be healthy enough to walk up more than a few stairs; walk longer than a block without running out of breath, or just feel capable of being physically active whenever I wanted.
It took many, many months, many failed attempts, and many do-overs but with continued effort, I went from spending 2 minutes going 2 miles per hour walking on a treadmill to running ultra marathons and soon to compete in an Ironman event.
Despite all of my accomplishments, and my newfound ability to complete endurance events, I struggled with finding apparel and gear that fit my bigger body.
For years, I complained and commensurated with fellow plus-size endurance athletes about outdoor apparel and gear. It never fit right despite the amount of money I spent with popular brands.
Friends and acquaintances listened as I spewed ideas about how to make apparel and gear better. They also encouraged me to create my own brand but I resisted for years. Who was I to create my own outdoor apparel and gear company? How could a black, queer woman seriously think about penetrating the growing yet over-saturated market?
In 2019, my frustration turned into feeble attempts to create a prototype, not to sell but for myself. I just didn’t want to spend another dime on stuff that wouldn’t work for me. But with time on my hands as a result of the pandemic, Outdoor Gear was born.
Conscious Gear is about consciously designing outdoor apparel and gear for bigger size athletes and enthusiasts. It’s not enough for popular brands to take their designs for small people and simply add fabric thinking that will be sufficient for plus size people.
I was tired of being an afterthought and decided to be the primary thought. My designs are for people who wear size large or above and we don’t produce products for folks that wear a small or medium because there are enough companies creating high-quality products.
Another unique aspect of Conscious Gear is the naming convention we use for sizes. Instead of terms like large, 2X, 3X or whatever. In celebration of our accomplishments, we use terms like strength, courage, energetic, and vibrant to indicate size.