Who is TriFlare
WITSUP: Hi Andrea thanks so much for opening the doors of TriFlare to our readers.
When did the thought first come to you to create your own brand? And how long did it remain just an idea before TriFlare became a reality?
Andrea Robertson: In the summer of 2009, I competed at USA Triathlon (USAT) National Championships in Tuscaloosca, AL . I earned a spot to compete at the World Championships the following year. Two weeks after USAT nationals, I competed in the Mrs. America Pageant where I won the title, Mrs. America 2010 ( Ok, let’s just admit I love competition!). One month later I was on the starting line of my next triathlon, and I was racing in a men’s all black trisuit because the option for a statement making, fashionable trisuit was not available. I wasn’t very excited about what I was wearing on race day; as a woman, every other important event was a chance to wear something fun, so why not have something empowering for a triathlon! I realized that if I was feeling this way, other women athletes likely were, too. I put this idea in the back of my mind for almost 2 years. I already had 2 small children and ended up having our 3rd child in July of 2010 (Yep, I was the only Mrs. America in 34 years to get pregnant during her reign.) Triflare became a reality when I asked a friend in the fashion industry what she thought about the idea of Triflare. She told me to go for it and helped me with some crucial decisions to get my company off the ground.
W: Do have a background in design or apparel production?
AR: I have done a considerable amount of commercial modelling the past 15 years, both in the U.S and Europe. I graduated with a degree in biology from the University of Missouri and had my goals set in that field, but life happens. When my husband and I moved to Europe for his career, I learned a lot about the fashion and design world during my years as a model there. The biggest learning curve for establishing Triflare was investigating production…making my ideas a reality. I spent countless hours on production research, phone calls overseas, and skyping late at night with manufacturing agents.
W: What’s your triathlon story?
AR: I was a collegiate soccer player at the University of Missouri. Most of my friends outside of soccer were swimmers. They also happened to be triathletes. These swimmers and triathletes would compete in small races during the summer. As all of you triathletes know, we love recruiting
newbies to the sport. That is exactly what happened with me. My friends recruited, encouraged, and trained with me. Little did they realize how hard I would fall for the sport. In 1999 I did my first race in Kansas. I was visiting my boyfriend (now husband) for the weekend and decided to try a race. I couldn’t believe how much fun I had AND how accomplished I felt. Today, fifteen years and 100 plus triathlons later, I am still racing. My proudest accomplishment came last year when I was named All-American by USAT. Olympic distance continues to be my favorite distance to race. I have done a few half Ironmans and am determined to complete a full Ironman. I want to do an Ironman, but I will only do it with friends because I can barely make it through a two hour ride without my training partner. I can’t imagine training for an Ironman without others to push and encourage me. I’ve formed some of my greatest friendships through triathlon, and I want to experience Ironman with them, too.
THE NAME. THE LOGO
W: What TriFlare stands for…
AR: The name Triflare stands for triathlon wear with a flair…but not that kind of flair. Rather the flare from a torch…the passion that drives women swimmers, cyclists, and runners to compete, to push themselves, to grind out their best until they cross the finish line.
W: Founder Andrea Robertson came up with the acronym Fit Ladies Are Running Everywhere but she also remembers returning to the sport of triathlon after giving birth (3 times!). She says, “I sure didn’t feel like a “fit” lady, more like a “flabby” lady! Each time, whether I was feeling fit or flabby, looking for a stylish trisuit was always a challenge.”
AR: The “t” in Triflare logo has 3 parts to it. The top curved line represents the swim portion of a triathlon. The middle curved line represents the bike portion of a triathlon (notably the longest of all 3 disciplines) and the 3rd curved line represents the run and is almost circle in appearance…sometimes the run portion can feel like you are running in circles, but actually in a race sometimes you end up where you started but you have completed something that is powerful, a triathlon.
W: TriFlare Designs are bold, bright, and very unique. How important is to you to create stand out designs?
AR: Stand out designs is one of our criteria while developing our prints. Both lead designer, Kim Mclean, and I have decided that if you are going to go for it, go for it. Each print design means something different to each person that purchases Triflare. We love to offer that. It really is a wonderful experience to see a woman see herself in Triflare for the first time. It’s almost as if she has discovered her beauty and strength and can show off the body that she has worked so hard to achieve… no matter what size that may be.
W: How do you come up with the designs? What inspires you?
AR: Our lead designer Kim Mclean and I are constantly talking print design. We are fortunate now that we have designed serveral different designs, and we can see what really works for women’s bodies. We are inspired by mixed prints, bold colors, and stand out, feminine designs.
W: I know it must be like choosing between your children, but is there an all time favourite design of yours?
AR: Gosh, that is tough, I do LOVE them all, but if I had to pick, I have to go with the zebra lily for a few reasons. It was one of the first 3 prints I thought of (peacock. leopard and zebra lily were the original Triflare designs). This design reminds me of Kona, Hawaii where I think almost every triathlete dreams of competing one day. AND I have seen some incredible women with incredible determination wearing that suit. Wait, I also love “Pink Tribal”, and “Race for the Rose.” Ok, ok I will stick with my first answer.
W: You sponsor some amazing professional athletes most notably Alicia Kaye. Having the support of such a great athlete must give you confidence in your product?
AR: Nothing is more gratifying than having a professional female athlete wearing your suits and performing well. We currently sponsor Alicia Kaye (Right), Morgan Chaffin, and Jillian Petersen. Each of these women has an incredible personal story and are inspirational in their effort, talent, and devotion to the sport. We can’t all be professional Triflare triathletes, but we most certainly can support them and as a bonus we can wear what they are wearing! We are so proud of our pros and thankful that they support Triflare.
W: There is also the Triflare Tribe which supports individuals not only amateur triathletes but women who embrace the Triflare culture of fitness, fun & life with FLAVOR – was it important to you to support non professionals?
AR: Absolutely, without a doubt. Amateur triathletes are amazing in their individual ways. I have been a newbie, intermediate, advanced and now elite amateur. I get it…triathlon becomes your lifestyle and it can be expensive, which is why we offer our Tribe members a discount on all Triflare merchandise. We want to have a way to support these amateur athletes in a way that they can be a part of Triflare. We also love to post pictures of our amateurs wearing Triflare and showing off their accomplishments.
W: How does one get involved or apply to be part of Triflare Tribe Program in the future?
AR: It’s easy you go to www.triflare.com and apply!
W: Many of the other prominent female specific tri apparel brands make just two piece kits, you however offer one and two piece tri suits. A major point of difference. Why did you decide to offer both?
AR: Longer races, such as Ironman, have seen tremendous growth. Our two piece suits accommodate the needs here. Many of our loyal triathletes, though, still prefer a one piece suit. We try to offer the athletes variety in what is most comfortable and appropriate for their choice of racing. We also want new options for post-race wear, such as long dresses or short and easy to wear pull on jackets. We want to go beyond the traditional sweat suit, offering women feminine athletic apparel. As always, comfort, style, and efficiency in racing are our mainstays. As Alicia Kaye said “I was not only blown away by how beautiful the suits were, but also by the cut, fit and fabrics. They are designed for female triathletes and it shows- I’ve truly never worn a more comfortable race suit.” For all things Alicia Kaye go to www.aliciakayetri.com (you are sure to inspired, and she has a great blog on her site)
W: You aim to not only have a great design or print but that the actual product has to be comfortable and resilient, making every move in a race efficient. How much product testing and research and development goes into creating in your eyes the perfect TriFlare piece of apparel?
AR: Do you have all day and night to discuss this?! Triflare is not just easy on the eyes, it performs well. As triathletes, we wouldn’t be able to sleep at night without knowing that our product performs well. We understand that no matter what level of triathlete you are, you are comparing your last year’s race results to this year’s. We spend so much time on a piece that the final print is far from how it started. We have samples that friends, pros, and acquaintances try out before the piece becomes “Triflare approved”. We use a compression fabric that has been laboratory tested for water repellent factors, fit testing, and of course chlorine resistance. The perfect Triflare piece is one that makes a woman feel great and achieve her goals.
The TriFlare range includes a great series of one-piece tri kits, as well as tri top and bottoms for those looking for a two piece look. There is also a one piece and two piece swimsuit series and for those looking for something totally different in the tri market, check out the range of Sports Dresses.
W: What’s next for TriFlare?
AR: GO USA! We have a contract with the USA synchronized swimming team to provide their competition apparel now through 2017. This includes the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro! We will be producing swimwear inspired by the suits we design specifically for these Olympians. Triflare will also be adding new accessories in the fall, introducing 4 new print designs for 2015 AND introducing a men’s line (Olympian Jarrod Shoemaker is product testing this season for us)
Where to buy
To get yourself some awesome TriFlare gear head on over to triflare.com and see why Fit Ladies Are Running Everywhere!
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