Kim Overton has been an entrepreneur for 25 years and launched SPIbelt 16 years ago. Before that she was a personal trainer and created a series of fitness videos — Love Your Legs, Love Your Core and Love Your Baby Body. While out on a run one day mulling over ideas to promote Love Your Legs, she came up with the idea for the SPIbelt. At the time, she was distracted by the keys in her bra top and thought how awesome it would be to have a discreet belt that doesn’t bounce and looks great. The SPIbelt was born during that run.
What is your “typical” day like these days?
I start with one hour of me-time. This includes meditation and planning for the day. I then take the kids to school, go for a run and start my work day after that. Every work day includes touching base with my team and meetings planned three days a week. But my favorite days are the days I can create, develop, review and test new products.
Are you still a runner?
Yes, I’m a runner. I enjoy running in the morning after dropping the kids off. It’s an extension to my meditation and planning time, while also helping keep my mental and physical health in check. I like to end my runs with a nice cool-down stretch reminiscent from my days as a gymnast. A seated 5-10 minute stretch after my run is my secret sauce for feeling strong and staying injury free.
Do you view yourself as a woman in the running business or simply a professional in the run business?
I view myself as a woman in the running business and proud of it. I love the running industry for its inclusivity and the variety of people who are leaders, innovators and creators. I am at home here.
Do you think run specialty is actually more equal in gender participation than many other businesses?
Yes and one of the reasons that the running industry is more equal is because we are the customers. Staying healthy and active is gender neutral and women are the leading force when it comes to consumption. We show up, we make decisions for our households, we shout about our favorite products on social media. It makes sense that there are a lot of women leading businesses in the run specialty space considering we have a great understanding of what the consumers are looking for.
What do you think you bring to your business with a woman’s perspective?
I bring patience and a more nurturing approach to business compared to my male colleagues. This goes for my working relationship with my team, our retail partners, our customers and beyond. Our mental and physical health and happiness, including that of my family and myself, are a priority for me.
Do you think being run by a woman has helped SPIbelt reach more female customers?
100 percent. I am our customer. I can speak directly to women from a place of experience and relatability.
What advice would you give to run specialty retailers about reaching out and merchandising to female runners?
Allow women of all backgrounds and levels of running an opportunity to have a voice and be part of your community. Make it clear you’d like to hear from them, because their feedback can really make a difference. Create an environment and community that is inclusive and influenced by your community of women. I would have appreciated being invited into the communities of my local running stores back when I was starting out as a runner.
So what advice would you give to any young (or older) women considering following a similar career path in the run business?
Talk to as many people as you can who have done what you want to do. Entrepreneurs and business owners are happy to share their stories. Learn from others’ mistakes so that you don’t have to make them.