As many of you may know, Eagle Rock WERKSHOP® was launched via kickstarter in January 2014. Over 760 amazing humans from across the world believed in what I was doing and thus Eagle Rock WERKSHOP® came to fruition. What you may not know, however, is the backstory of how Eagle Rock WERKSHOP® came to be and/or the wild ride that has commenced since the campaign was funded. (you can catch some of the PG-rated/edited cliffs' notes on last years' blog posts: A LOVE LETTER TO #TEAMWERKSHOP and BUSINESS is BUSINESS is BUSINESS)
... I wasn't really sure where to start with this whole company bio goodness. I mean, there is just SO much to say! I'm sure I'll sit down one day and write an epic lil' novella about the crazy shit that I've been through in the last 18+ months. (and when I say crazy, I mean totes "HOLY SMOKES #wtf" status craziness, hahaa. Cheers to resiliency and determination!) In the meantime, though, I thought it would be fun to open this ABOUT section to some friendly Q&A with my #TEAMWERKSHOP posse ;) Here are the questions that I received via instagram ... and hey hey! feel free to drop me a line anytime at email@example.com - I'd love to hear from you.
xoxoo - Chriztina Marie // aka Tina Z
Q: Have you always been of a healthy lifestyle? If not, how did you get there? (@3jl_x9) // Adopting a healthy lifestyle is definitely something that happened in my "adult" life. Growing up, both of my parents focused more on instilling a turbo-ridic work ethic than leading a health-conscious example. I was basically raised on junk food and hamburger helper while they each worked 60+ hours a week. I left KC when I was 18 and made the conscious shift to be healthier once I was living on my own ((though not without the occasional work-a-holic prone backsliding)). It wasn't until I saw my Grandmother, Sofia, lose both of her legs to diabetes that I decided to FLIP THE SWITCH on that shit. We only live once! Can't take health for granted. There is this old saying... "The young man sacrifices his health for money. The old man spends all his money trying to gain back his health". #foodforthought
Q: How did you start WERKSHOP? (@thefitnessstalker) // Q: What was your inspiration for WERKSHOP? (@fitmomsinspirations) // I got the idea for Eagle Rock WERKSHOP® while on a long walk with my buddy. It was over 100 degrees outside and I was wearing "fashion" leggings. I immediately regretted my wardrobe choice after twenty minutes into the trek 'cause "fashion" legs are definitely NOT intended to be worn while breakin' a sweat... within a week: I had outlined a business plan, bought werkshop.com, started designing the collection and was on the hunt for the puuurfect fabric. WERKSHOP became my "passion project". I had to juggle ALL the balls solo status while working full time elsewhere (in case you were wondering: the struggle is REAL). I ended up launching my project on kickstarter on Dec 6th 2013 and held my breathe and crossed my fingers until the campaign funded. At the time of completion, Eagle Rock WERKSHOP® became the 38th most successful fashion campaign to ever be on kickstarter - and the second most successful specifically for womenswear. WOOT!
Q: What were you doing before this and why did you get into yoga? (@ishaggedspicoli)// What did you do before designing WERKSHOP? (@hevks) // Before WERKSHOP, I was the Design Director for a Men's denim brand. It was one of those BIG volume companies that had LITTLE heart ... we produced over a million units annually for MACY's, JCPenney, ROSS, TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, etc. I spent about six months worth of my life in China on a mission to make cheap jeans look expensive. But what was the point? It was product for the sake of product. Meh. It was a good experience, but I quickly learned that I wanted something completely different for myself and for Eagle Rock WERKSHOP®. I wanted to focus on QUALITY and making things with purpose. The transition into Yoga Pants was super organic since I was already in the pant game and was also practicing six days a week after work to relieve (turbo ridiculous amounts of) stress.
Q: You're such a talented artist, what inspired you to put your art onto workout leggings? (@pixel_stitcher) // I like to put my art on eeeeeeeverything! Before fashion, I wanted to be an Animator. And then, when I was seventeen, I backpacked Europe with my sister and had one of those "ah, ha!" moments. It suddenly dawned on me that Fashion was the epitome of living, breathing art. Art that we live in. I've been putting my art on clothing ever since. The reason for leggings (instead of, say, t-shirts) was answered already in the last few questions. =)
Q: Your products are getting popular, will you consider to have a once a year sales promotion? Or membership scheme? (@heehee_lam) // I really want to establish a VIP #TEAMWERKSHOP Membership/Rewards program by summer 2016! It is something that I have been planning for a long time. As for sales promotions, etc, it is very hard for me to do sales because the leggings cost so much to make. I am basically selling them "wholesale to the public", so they are already the best price possible. In traditional retail, the capri length leggings would normally cost between $120-$140USD. eep! UPDATE: We launched WERK PERKS this past summer ... right on schedule! =)
Q: Where do you see WERKSHOP five years from now? What is your grand/audacious goal? (@joe_lizzzzzz_yoga) // what an AUDACIOUS question! =) I have HUGE plans for Eagle Rock WERKSHOP® ... without turning this quick questionnaire into a trilogy, I can say one of my biggest goals at the moment would be to open a brick n' mortar flagship "hub of awesome" (basically, a studio/boutique where like-minded hOMies can meet and inspire each other). Beyond that, I plan to continue to grow the brand slowly and methodically. I want to do SO much, I often find it hard to rein myself in due to limited resources. Oh, the life of a bootstrapped startup ... I just need to win the lottery - then I'd be able to do everything I want and make ALL the things! hahaa. ::rolls out to the gas station for a powerball. and megamillions. and superlotto. and maybe a few dozen crossword puzzle scratchers::
Q: I love that you're producing recycled solid color leggings. Is this not also possible with prints? I have several brands of recycled printed leggings and have found them to be see-through or extremely thick/color fades when you bend. (@joyfulemily) // Exactly!! I have not found a recycled printable fabric that lives up to my quality standard ... but I'm definitely actively hunting for it! Also, we use an eco-friendly water-soluble printing process called digital dyesub for all of our fabric. Everything is printed in-house in my studio and the paper that we use for the heat transfer is all recycled when we are finished. =)
Q: So Pretty! What is your tattoo? (@_catiko) // Awe, Thank you! The one on my shoulder (that was visible on the insta post) was my art signature when I was a kid. I actually got it on my 18th birthday as a promise to myself to never stop making art (it's my initials, TZ). I got another tattoo on my 30th birthday while I was traveling solo through New Zealand ... it tells the story of my life in Maori. Both have a ton of sentimental meaning.
Q: I would love to know your favorite nostalgic movie or tv show (and color!) And what pair of WERKSHOP pants do you most frequently wear? (@benditlikebay) // eep! I LOVE movies. My top 10 would be more like 67, categorized alphabetically and by genre. So let's stick with TV on this one. =P My Fav "nostalgic" TV show would have to be either The Golden Girls or I Love Lucy 'cause they remind me of my Grandmother. My favorite color would be ALL of the blues: from cobalt to cerulean to seafoam and aquamarine, they all make me happy ... Q2 // Lately, I have been wearing the entire holiday collection non-stop. Every 5 days, I do laundry and start back over again, hahaa. Once the season passes, though, I usually keep BUTTERFLY, DARKSUGAR, OCTOPUS, TIGER and EAGLE (black and gray) in regular rotation. =)
Q: Who has been one of your most important mentors? (@clarissa_mae_) // oh, that's a good question! I don't know! Mentor is a strong word. I have learned SO much from so many people. I think the fact that I didn't have one mentor has probably served me well, because now I am able to objectively look at so many different types of situations/scenarios. Between past colleagues/teachers and friends, I can think of at least 50 people to whom I can thank for helping guide me along my way ... never stop learning.
Q: What was the one thing (or moment) you overcame to follow your passion and create werkshop? (bostonterrieryogi) // hmmm. I don't think there was one thing ... but if I had to narrow it down, I would say "fear of failure". Eagle Rock WERKSHOP® is my fourth clothing brand and seventh overall business venture (you know, if you count the keychains of my artwork that I used to sling when I was fourteen, hahaa) Over the years, I have invested in and reinvented myself countless times. The hardest hit I had was in 2007. I had launched a collection of women's contemporary dresses ... just in time for the recession. It was heart breaking: I lost a ton of money and faith in myself. After I dissolved that company, I went back to full time work. For the first time in my life, I got really comfortable under the safety net of working for someone else. I would get ideas, and feel the urge to start a new project, but the fear of what happened in 2007 held me back. Luckily, the emotion I felt when I thought of Eagle Rock WERKSHOP® was just too strong to ignore. W hen you feel something THAT strongly, you have to go for it! It took me seven tries to find the right path .. and am so thankful that I took the leap of faith.
Q: I have a very important question ... How do you feel about bacon and eggs? Also, what's your take on this whole "just chicken" scandal? (@aris_inmotion) // Oh, Eric, you know how i feel about bacon and eggs ... especially yours. As for the other thing, I'm sure I have no clue what you're talking about ;)