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INTERVIEW: Boxing Legend Roy Jones Jr.'s "Better Half," Natlyn Jones, On Launching Athleisure Brand SheWarrior

Sydney A. Braat

SheWarrior was created by Natlyn Jones. (Photo: Steven Gray)

We're all spending a bit more time in our athletic and leisure clothing this year. With the New Year finally here, many are setting new fitness and health goals to shake off the bad of 2020 and welcome the positive vibes. SheWarrior is here to help you achieve those goals and be in the right mindset. The clothing company was founded by boxing legend Roy Jones Jr.'s "better half," Natlyn Jones. SheWarrior was created for strong women with a fighting spirit, inside and out.

Whether you're lounging or working out, SheWarrior's line has you covered with fun camo sports bras, matching leggings, block-print sweatshirts, "fighter" tanks, and classic compression shorts. Every piece is made to order in the USA with upcycled plastic bottles. SheWarrior is one of the most sustainable athletic brands on the planet.

I spoke with Natlyn Jones to learn more about this innovative brand design by and for women.

2020 has been quite the year and everyone's day-to-day lives look much different. Why launch an athleisure brand now?

NJ: I actually had the idea to launch SheWarrior before 2020! As an independent brand, it's definitely been a challenge to navigate through this year. I had begun getting things together before the pandemic hit, so luckily, I was well into the soft-launch when our day-to-day lives were upended. Even with all the changes, I forged ahead because I truly believe in our brand and our message, especially with so many of us staying at home, dressing for comfort, and finding creative ways to stay fit, all while looking after our mental wellbeing.

Can you speak to the inspiration behind SheWarrior and why the foundation of the business is so relevant in today's world?

NJ: The inspiration behind SheWarrior is the fighting spirit in all of us, especially women. I see so many of us, myself included, take on too many roles and be the support systems to so many around us, in addition to trying to handle our own struggles. I've seen us broken but not destroyed in the midst of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and in today's world, I think celebrating our strength and inner warriors is as relevant as ever while we all navigate through this new normal.

What is your background in fitness and apparel? What drew you to create the concept of SheWarrior?

NJ: I've had a love for fitness and fashion all my life. I opened my own training facility and worked as a personal trainer for several years before launching SheWarrior. As the years passed I became more and more involved in my husband's boxing career, including managing and designing fight outfits. Since his retirement, I help manage and promote our fighters, and in the process I fell in love with the sport, put on a pair of boxing gloves and I've been training in the boxing gym ever since.

While in the boxing gym, I thought about how great it would be to wear a brand that represented both strength and femininity; a brand whose name spoke to women immediately. There are a lot of athletic-wear brands, but very few, if any, that encompass strength and femininity in their name and their products. So I created the brand that I wanted to wear - the brand that really captured those qualities.

Every piece is made to order in the USA with upcycled plastic bottles. (Photo: Steven Gray)

As I trained in the boxing gym, the concept grew and transcended beyond the ring. Of course, when you fight in the ring, you find the will and heart to compete. As an athlete, you push yourself to excel and achieve goals in-spite of the obstacles. I've found that in life, women do much of the same, and I wanted a brand that championed women in every way - their goals and achievements, whatever they might be, and I wanted SheWarrior to really celebrate their journeys. It's not always easy, but a strong support system of women rallying for one another, it's truly priceless, and I see SheWarrior as the brand to represent and honor that.

What is one of your favorite looks from SheWarrior and how does it make you feel when you wear it?

NJ: One of my favorite looks from SheWarrior is the Round One Leopard set. It's bold, fierce, and unapologetic! When I wear that set, I feel confident, strong, beautiful, and ready to jump into the ring. The stretch and added tummy control with the high waist are amazing. When I want to go bold, it's definitely the print I grab.

SheWarrior has a sustainable aspect to it. Why was this important to you as you created the brand?

NJ: This was one of the biggest challenges early on when sourcing a manufacturer. I'm thrilled with the company we found - we've managed to build a partnership that benefits both consumers and the planet. Each piece is made to order locally in the USA, from upcycled plastic bottles, and we use a non-water dying process for the prints. Making it to order ensures that we aren't adding overstock to landfill, and we have minimal shipping waste by working locally.

To me, being conscious of our environment is extremely important, it's the only place we and our families have to live and I believe if we take care of it, the environment will take care of us. Focusing on being as sustainable as possible is important for us all, and I would like for my brand to have a positive impact whenever possible.

What is your message for people struggling to get motivated during this pandemic? You'd think with all this "extra" time, it would be easier to dedicate an hour a day to exercise, but that's not always the case.

NJ: My message to people struggling to get motivated is to start small and, more importantly, don't be so hard on yourself. It seems like it should be easier to get an hour in while at home, but often that's easier said than done. As humans, we all deal with things differently and that's okay too. This past year especially, we've been constantly bombarded with negativity via the news and social media. If you read everything, and really pay attention, the world can throw endless worries at you, so it's hard to turn that noise off. Then you have the day-to-day changes that we all have to deal with, and that is mentally and physically exhausting. So start small when it comes to finding your motivation. Instead of an hour, just do ten minutes, and try adding an extra glass of water in your diet each day. Start there and slowly add to it, but don't feel bad and know that you are not alone.

As SheWarrior continues to grow and land in homes across the country, what are your goals for the brand in the next five years? What major milestones would you hope to reach?

NJ: In the next five years, I hope that SheWarrior is a global brand inspiring women to achieve their goals in whatever arena they choose, and to know they are fierce, unstoppable badassess! I hope to have an inspiring online presence as well as a brick-and-mortar retail presence, and I want SheWarrior to be providing women with quality activewear that looks good, feels good and is a brand they can trust and be proud to wear.

To learn more about SheWarrior, visit iamshewarrior.com.

Sydney Braat is a Hamptons-raised and NYC-living journalist. She enjoys splitting her time between the bustling city life and relaxing atmosphere of the Hamptons. When she's not writing, Sydney is traveling. She thrives off of new experiences, cultures, cuisine, and languages. Sydney writes about the arts, philanthropy, food & wine, and shopping. https://www.sosydneyny.com/ sydneybraat

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