Meet The Maker: Track & Fit Club
Track and Fit Club sells fun positive slogan accessories and clothing for runners, cyclists and fitness fans. I was lucky enough to interview Becky Fleming about her business and products.
Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?
Hi Rhiannon, thanks for this interview, all very exciting! Your site is lovely and I'm delighted to be featured alongside so many awesome creative people.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
Well, I am from just outside of Newcastle and have spent time living in Hull, Derbyshire, a long stint in London (11 years) and now I am settled in West Sussex having been here for the past two years. Career wise, I've been a bit of a jack of all trades in some respects but my time spent working for small business and with creatives was a turning point for me and inspired me to eventually set up my own business.
I adore your business. What made you decide to set up Track & Fit Club?
Thank you! Well, it started for purely selfish reasons, haha! I'm a runner, and last year I was training for my 4th Brighton Marathon. I love treating myself to running related goodies and really wanted to buy a runner tote bag as a little gift to myself to celebrate my run. When I couldn't find any, I decided to design my own and have it produced. Everything just went from there! I have wanted to run my own business for years, and to combine it with being creative and designing things around my passion (or you may call it an obsession!) with running and fitness is a dream come true really.
Why did you call your shop Track & Fit Club?
Definitely a combination of things! I really wanted a name that would suggest community, which is where the “club” part comes into it. The Track and Fit is my spin on 'track and field', as my designs are often inspired by the retro track and field kits from the Olympics or club running in the 70's are 80's. I'm slogan based and I have a real interest in typography, anything clean and simple but often with a vintage feel. My Dad was a passionate runner in the 80's and I can definitely picture some of his retro running gear when I'm thinking of new designs!
How has your creative process changed since the start?
I think its changed slightly since I started my business 9 months ago – I feel more self assured when creating new designs as I am finding my style more than I did in the very early days.
How did you manage to learn and hone your craft?
I'm self taught in everything, and if I don't know the answer then I'm going to get on Google or Youtube and find out! I also read a lot on all aspects of small business which I think helps.
Have you always been into craft and design?
Oh absolutely. As well as designing for Track and Fit Club, I've made jewellery for years and starting candle making too a few years ago. My first dream job when I was a tiny little kid was to be an artist. Real life got in the way but I am happy to be, on some level, the artist little me would be proud of.
If there were no resource restraints, what would be your dream project?
I think I'd love to go all out and make ALL my ideas a reality. I will get there eventually but it will have to be a gradual process. It takes time and can take quite a bit of money too to test and tweak product prototypes so this process can be pretty slow.
What equipment do you use for your work?
Laptop, pen and paper and a graphics tablet. I design all my products then have them produced by a print company I work with in Lancashire.
What tools or materials could you not live without?
Without Photoshop I'd be doomed!
Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?
I see my business social accounts as an extension of my personal accounts. I am the face of my brand, I talk about the same stuff on my own account as I do on @trackandfitclub. Running, cycling, fitness are all stuff I love and are topics my customers are interested in too. Its so, so, hard as a new business to spread the word so to be able to do it on social media is a lifesaver.
Who inspires your work?
Fellow runners and fitness fans! I love connecting with like-minded people on social media and get a lot of inspiration from Instagram especially. Also, I attend runs pretty much every week, usually a parkrun on a Saturday and often a longer race on a Sunday so my kind of people are everywhere I go, and I love that.
Do you have any favourite pieces of work that you adore at the moment from your shop?
Oh yes, my All About the Kudos mug is by far my best selling item and I think it's pretty awesome how much people love this design. I'm also a huge fan of my red Run This Town tote, one of the first items I designed, and my Wish Do tshirt as it inspires me not only in fitness but when I need a bit of life motivation too. Oh, and my Time to Shine travel mug – I take this EVERYWHERE!
What are you currently working on?
Ah gosh, so many things! I have dozens of ideas that I'm working on, especially more marathon based designs as we move closer to Spring marathon season. I am also looking for a charity to partner with, it has always been my intention to work with a good cause and set up regular donations so this is a priority for me this year.
What’s your typical working day?
This really depends, I probably haven't yet got into a routine of what's typical! At the moment my day starts at 7am, I grab my travel mug and strong hot coffee and go for a walk, normally around two miles. I usually then do my workout – I'm currently training for my first London Marathon so there's a lot of running to be done and it's much better to do it in the daylight! Then it's breakfast, bath and start my working day.
I work from home fuelled by tea, podcasts and the company of my two lovely cats. My day will depend on what is a priority, so that could be processing orders, updating my blog, designing new products, photography, writing product descriptions, social media stuff or testing new product prototypes. I usually work until around 6 or 6:30, then it's off out again for another walk. I'll often do a few ad hoc bits of work in the evening too.
What’s been the biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?
Marketing for sure. SEO can easily melt my brain if I let it and it can certainly feel like you are shouting into the void when it comes to getting your products out there! It's hard work for sure but I love my products, I love my site and they deserve to be seen.
Do you have any exciting plans for this year?
Yes!! So many. I'd love to expand my range of clothing in particular.
What advice would you give to people looking to define their own style?
My advice would be to trust your gut – create things that you are proud of and that you would buy yourself. Listen to your inner voice, it's going to help guide you.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting their own online shop?
Learn as much as possible before you begin, but give yourself a deadline to launch or you'll run the risk of staying in the research phase for too long! Try launching on a marketplace such as Etsy first as this will enable you to test what products are selling, and also hone your photography, product descriptions, photography and so on without the worry of building a site as well. Then, get a deadline in the diary and get your website ready with the knowledge you have gained from your research.
What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?
This is annoyingly simple but it's just START. You don't need anyone's permission to do this, you don't need to wait until things are perfect (they never will be) or until you are ready (you never will be). Please just start. If this idea is in you, you owe it to that idea to do it justice, to start today and not to stop even when it gets tough.