MINNEAPOLIS, November 11, 2010—heart&core Athletic Apparel owners and sisters, Jen Swendseid and Lara Severson, were honored with WomenVenture’s 2010 “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained Award,” recognizing the great risks they’ve taken to accomplish economic success and prosperity in their own lives and/or for others.
The sisters began the company’s concept in 2008 when Swendseid, a personal trainer, saw that her female clients were dissatisfied with the selection of sportswear for women of different shapes, sizes and ages. In addition, Swendseid and Severson shopped with their mother, a two-time breast cancer survivor, and found the market lacked truly supportive, stylish sports bras in a range of sizes. With WomenVenture’s help, they developed a business and marketing plan, and began selling the gear in April 2009.
Their signature line features the Ultimate Support Sports Bra, an adjustable, fully releasable strap, high-impact (soft, supportive cups—no underwire) racerback sports bra in true-to-bra sizes: band sizes of 34, 36, 38, 40 and 42 and cup sizes of C, D and DD. The innovative design has a patent pending as its features of lifting, encapsulating and compressing are not found in other sports bras with the same style. The line also includes the Active Fit Ruched Tee with side ties allowing for longer length or the ability to blouse the shirt and pull it shorter and Active Fit Foldover Capri pants with ample room to wear high-waisted or fold down for a low-rise effect. Both products are offered in sizes XS–3X (translated to heart&core’s feel-good sizing of 1–8) and feature the soft, quick-drying Core-Wick Fabric.
The market response shows that women want a greater range of sizes and colors in these sports bras, so the sisters are currently working on an updated style and expanded sizes to be released in January 2011.
heart&core continues to work closely with WomenVenture to adapt to the changing economy and market, and to promote their business in the media.
Sisters Jen and Lara launched Minnesota-based heart&core Athletic Apparel in April 2009, with the goal of making sportswear focused on fit, function and fashion—stylish yet high performance pieces with exclusive Core-Wick fabric. They saw the need in the market when shopping with their mom and feeling frustrated at sizes and options, especially in sports bras. They combined their skills to support each other in this venture where their mission to is support other women in their lives and goals with exceptional workout apparel.
WomenVenture is a nonprofit Twin Cities economic development resource that helps women find jobs with livable wages, change or develop a career, or start or expand a business. Celebrating 25 years of service in 2003, the agency has offered quality services to women in Minnesota with successful outcomes since 1978. Since that time, WomenVenture has helped more than 63,000 women and men of diverse ethnic, educational, and economic backgrounds move toward economic success and prosperity.