Katie Warner Johnson is disrupting the athleisure industry and redefining workwear fashion.
March 12, 2020 2 min read
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Carbon38 co-founder and CEO Katie Warner Johnson has seen her target customer in the boardroom and sweating in a workout class.
As a ballerina-turned-banker-turned fitness instructor, Johnson had also seen an opportunity for smaller activewear brands to compete with big names like Lululemon and Nike. So, in 2013, she started Carbon38, a multi-brand online retailer for activewear featuring up and coming designers.
The road to success has been anything but easy, but to Johnson, the challenge and reward of empowering her female customers is what drives her to keep working each day.
“We are athletes. We are training for the Olympics,” Johnson says. “The headwinds are strong and hard, but I think all that’s doing is honing and sharpening our skills to go and take that winner’s trophy.”
After a $15 million investment from fitness giant Footlocker and sales that have skyrocketed year over year, Johnson sees incredible potential to redefine the rules of fashion and give women the confidence they need to lead fulfilling lives.
“When you feel good in your clothes, you can conquer the world,” she says.
Johnson believes financial independence is the best way to close the gender equality gap, and she’s putting her money where her mouth is. Today, the brand works with over 250 vendors from around world, 75 percent of which are female founded.
The road to empowerment isn’t smooth, but to Johnson, it’s her destiny. She says, “It’s what I was put on this earth to do.”
In this episode of How Brands Are Born, see how Johnson is disrupting the activewear industry and redefining women’s fashion.
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