Lindsay Housman’s career has been quite transitional as she has moved through different departments and roles as a way to explore her interests. She started out in finance as an accountant, then branched out into consulting, operations and technology roles. Tech has been the throughline for her, though, and she says it’s what fits her personality best. While getting Hettas off the ground, she has also been leading the IT department at a purpose-led retail brand in Vancouver. Interestingly, Hettas is actually a combination of the names of her two twin daughters.

Her role at Hettas … As founder and CEO her day-to-day consists of doing whatever needs to be done — from packing boxes to fundraising. The company still has a small team, so she remains involved in all different departments. “I like being scrappy and problem solving with others,” she says. “Mostly, I love building teams and finding the right people to partner with across the business.”

The “elevator pitch” on Hettas … Hettas designs performance athletic footwear from a female perspective. They do this because athletic shoes have largely been designed, researched and tested for men and the founders fundamentally believe that if you consider design from a female perspective, you’ll end up with a better product for women — one that will positively influence performance and longevity.

The inspiration for forming Hettas … Her daughters. “I want their life-long experiences in sport to be different. I don’t want them to be subjected to inequality around funding, research and understanding, which is the current reality,” Housman says. “I saw an opportunity to build a purposeful brand that could make a difference from both a product and societal perspective.” 

The thinking behind the product … Housman also knew she wanted to create an athletic brand, because sports do so much for confidence, mental health and leadership skills. Young girls tend to drop out of sports at a higher rate than boys, so that furthered the cause for her. Footwear became a natural avenue because she was experiencing issues buying shoes for herself and once she became aware of how the industry has historically designed, researched and tested shoes for men, the path for Hettas became clear.

 A woman in run specialty … “I consider myself an entrepreneur in the athletic footwear space and specialty retail as one of Hettas’ most important channels,” Housman explains. “I think being a woman and having daughters has influenced my perspective as a business owner, in that I notice things that others might not.” For instance, she says she is conscious of the impact language has in athletics because she has seen her daughters spoken to differently because they are girls. “So, using supportive, equitable language may matter more to me than someone else who’s an entrepreneur in this space.”


Her mentor … Housman had an impactful boss earlier on in her career who was very clear on his values. “He always told me, ‘Health is first. Family is second. Work is third.’ That influenced me to get clear on my priorities, which has helped me choose value-aligned projects and ultimately live a more fulfilling life.”

Other mentors … Housman also says that Hettas’ marketing advisor, Julie, has been hugely supportive of her over the past few years. Since Housman’s background is very operational, financial and technical, having Julie as a mentor from a brand perspective allowed her to take this vision and make it relatable. “It’s now an entity that can live and breathe on its own and I couldn’t have done that without her.” Also, Doug, their product partner, has had a big impact as well since at first she didn’t know much about running shoes – about the materials or how they were made – and Doug is “a seasoned shoe dog.” 

Attracting more women to run specialty … For retailers and entrepreneurs, she feels the industry could focus on being more receptive to new products. For executives, it comes down to policies and offering flexibility for women who are still responsible for a tremendous share of the caretaking — whether that’s childcare, pet care or parent care. For running events, make sure they’re attractive to both women and men. If they’re at night, create a supportive and safe environment for them to come.


A women’s perspective … “I’ve always been a fan of having teams with unique work arrangements that suit their lives outside of work — whether it’s someone getting their psychology degree or taking care of their kids. I get that people can only be happy and feel fulfilled at work if they feel happy and fulfilled in their life. I think part of that is because I’m a woman with multiple responsibilities who is figuring out how to balance it all. I also appreciate that life’s logistical responsibilities fall predominantly on women. To me, this creates a necessity for delegation and time management as a female entrepreneur; I have to be able to decide when something needs to be done at 100 percent or if 80 percent is good enough.


Advice for retailers … To reach female customers, retailers need to talk to them, she feels. Get into your community, organize focus groups. People want to share their opinions. 

Advice for other women … “I’d start with getting clear on your values and your skills and once you accept that there are things you’re going to be good at and things that won’t come as naturally to you, you can surround yourself with the people who will help you close the gaps,” Housman says. “Needing support is not a sign of weakness. I think for women, it’s common to have that imposter syndrome, which can make it harder. No matter what you do, if you’re super clear on your strengths, it’ll help balance out any of those doubts.” 


Her running routine … Housman labels herself a casual runner these days and launching Hettas has inspired her to start running again. “I’m never going to do marathons, but I’d love to get into track workout sessions and find a comfortable chatting 5k pace, so that I can join in with the run clubs in our community.”


Hettas in 2024 … Housman is most excited about engaging with the company’s community through Run Club Series and developing partnerships with specialty stores. They are bringing on Dave Shelbourne, who was with New Balance for 34 years and built out their U.S. and Canada specialty retail. “It’s a partnership we’re super excited about since our plan is to grow in a more grassroots, on-the-ground way. Our focus really isn’t DTC; it’s being out where the community is.”