#StartUpSeries Interview: BoomBoomAthletica founder Ann Johannson

With a love of experimenting with new food and fitness ideas and experience working for a start-up charity after university, I have a natural interest in emerging wellness companies. The health and fitness industry is booming at the moment, particularly in London so I wanted to share an insight into the latest innovations and learn some top tips for budding entrepreneurs.

My first interview is with Ann from BoomBoom Athletica, who I first met at a Be:Fit London activewear showcase. Ann is a London-based, Swedish ultra-marathon runner and fitness lover who designs and produces exceptionally high-performing, luxury activewear. Her products include these fabulous Front Row Compression Spin Shorts with hidden padding, which use a near-invisible Tour de France proven insert to give you a comfortable, breathable and stylish gym experience.

Ann Johansson explains the unique comfort insert is hidden in the brand's spin leggings.

Ann Johansson speaking at the Boom:Boom Athletica launch.

What is your business, and who is in your team?

BoomBoom Athletica is athletic wear for women who are passionate about fitness and health. It is for women who wants an edgier look and want to bring their own personal style to the gym.

Myself and the other founder work full time on the business, but I have an amazing team of agents, photographers, consultants, family and friends which I draw on as needed.

Ann's latest collection

Ann’s latest collection (photo credit: http://www.BoomBoomAthletica.com)

What inspired you to start your business, and how long were you working on the idea before going public?

The inspiration came when I was running.  I was always on the lookout for new kit, but never quite found garments that spoke to me – I found the clothes were either amazingly technical or fashionable but never fully met both needs.  With health/wellbeing gaining in popularity, I wanted to be able to bring my own style to the gym and not look like everyone else.

I spent a few years working on the idea and laying down the groundwork by creating a business plan and marketing strategy, doing research both on customer and market and taking courses at London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martin School of Design to make sure I could be as prepared as possible. When I decided to go ahead to start my business, the next challenges were creating the designs, finding fabric that had a nice hand feel and was technical and a factory that had the capabilities to make active wear clothing. It ended up taking considerably longer than expected to arrive at garments I was proud of – I would say five years of work compressed into three.

The beautiful Natalie (The Blonde Ethos) and Layla (Avocado Gains) showcasing the garments' flattering cuts.

Natalie (The Blonde Ethos) and Layla (Avocado Gains) showcasing the garments’ flattering cuts.

What do you think the key health/wellbeing trends will be in the next year?

I think there are a few trends that are emerging in the health/wellbeing space. The explosion of new fitness classes is fantastic, I think there are going to be more treadmill classes and spinning will keep on gaining strength with more brands entering the fitness market.

I see a bit more yoga/dance fusion taking place as well as more pilates and strength studios opening up.  High intensity classes will continue to grow in popularity, as will barre: fiitness enthusiasts will continue to challenge and enjoy themselves with new classes or signing up for races or create goals to keep them motivated.

Fitness technology is also making working out fun and gives insight into improving your training, with apps such as Strava and fitness trackers gaining popularity and momentum.

The activewear is designed to fit into everyday life, whether that's ultra-marathons or a more relaxing dog walk.

The activewear is designed to fit into everyday life, whether that’s ultra-marathons or a more relaxing dog walk (photo credit: BoomBoom Athletica).

Do you plan to adapt your product to fit in with emerging trends?

I prefer creating stylish versatile garments suitable for a range of workouts. Many of my customers like nothing more than to do back to back classes at the gym.  That said, we are seeing demand for sports specific garments – the immense popularity of spinning with our customers led to the introduction of our Front Row Spin Leggings with a nearly invisible cycling insert.

What most excites you about being in the health/wellbeing industry at the moment?

The most exciting part of the health/wellbeing space is the traction it has received.  Women are increasingly more interested in staying fit and healthy and try new things and it’s great being part of an industry that makes people fitter, happier and healthier

What’s your number one tip for someone who has an exciting business idea, but isn’t sure whether to go for it or not?

Be passionate about your idea, do your research and be prepared to work like you have never worked before.  Love what you do!

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