Join Katie of Katie K Active at Bldg. 7 Yoga! Browse our inclusive active wear collection sizes Small to 3X. Sip some wine and have a snack break with us! Special discount for attendees! Bldg. 7 Yoga is located at 220 N Park Rd, Bldg 7, Reading, Pennsylvania 19610. See you there!
BY KATIE KOZLOFF-BANKS
There’s so much access to everything nowadays. Between what you can find on the internet and what you see on social media, it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not. This is especially true when it comes to the health and fitness industry. Here are my tips to educating yourself while you navigate your fitness journey:
- There is no magic pill, really! There are so many products claiming they can give you a quick fix with little to no work. This is not true! While these pills make lots of fantastic claims, they are really just a waste of your money. I have actually seen before and after pictures stolen and used in advertisements from a few fitness professionals that I follow.
- You can spend a lot of time and money searching for the right supplements. These are to assist you with your health and fitness program, not be the quick fix. But you really need to do your research and learn about the different products. Take the time to learn about what you are taking, what is in the products, think about your reasons and your goals for taking them.
- Do not be fooled by before and after pictures! Recently, a few bloggers showed how just changing the angle of your body, the size of your clothes and how close you are to your camera can really effect the way you look in your pictures. So although those before and after pictures are always so enticing, remember how they can be easily manipulated. People who are proud of their transformations are excited to show the true before and afters, companies trying to get you to buy their products may use manipulations to get you to purchase.
- Be careful who you listen to for information. You can find many people giving out all sorts of health and fitness related advice on social media. It’s great to have access to info, but unless they are certified in their category, remember that they are not an expert. Yes of course there are experts who give bad advice, but there are also tons of people acting as experts who’ve never been trained in that area. I think it’s great that so many people share their health and fitness journeys, but remember, they are sharing their experience and advice based on that, not from being officially trained in that area.
- Be wary of fad diets. It seems there’s always some new, hot way to eat. I do feel each fad starts from some truth, but it gets blown up and promoted as an absolute. Try to educate yourself about nutrition and learn what works for you.
Think of all the money and time you could spend trying to get a quick fix. If you just put in the work and educated yourself, you’d be able to learn and make that change. Take the time to learn for yourself or find people you respect and trust.
Join us for an exclusive trunk show. Katie K Activewear will be available at z.bella boutique for 3 days only! July 10-12th!
Z.Bella Boutique 1903 Cayuga Street, Suite 101, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
We are excited to share a brand with you designed with the belief that all women should have the opportunity to look good and feel good about themselves no matter what the activity in which they were participating.
Katie K Active offers tops, bottoms and everything in between ideal for your active lifestyle in sizes Small to 3X!
Please bring a Yoga Mat
R.S.V.P. on the Z Bella Facebook Event Page
Toni Reece: Hi there. This is Toni Reece, and welcome to the Get Inspired! Project for Berks County Living magazine. Today I have Katie Kozloff-Banks with me. Hi, Katie.
Katie Kozloff-Banks: Hi. How are you?
Toni: I’m great! How are you doing today?
Toni: Good. So, Katie, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Katie: I have the activewear line called Katie K Active. We are an inclusive brand of premium activewear. What that means is we are activewear that spans the size range, small to 3X.
Toni: Okay. Where do we find you?
Katie: You can find us online at katiekactive.com and around in different stores across the country.
Toni: Great. Thank you for showing up for the Get Inspired! Project.
Katie: Yes, thanks for having me.
Toni: Let’s go into the Project. What does inspiration mean to you?
Katie: I was thinking about this. There’s so many different ways to think about inspiration – people that motivate me or make me think differently about my life and want to do more. I think my family inspires me, my friends inspire me with what they’re doing, and all around you everywhere.
Toni: So when you feel inspired, you’re motivated.
Katie: Yes, very much so.
Toni: What does that feel like?
Katie: It’s kind of a rush. I love looking at different things that will inspire me. I think if you go through phases and you start to think, “I need some inspiration,” I’ll just start looking around and take into account what my friends or family are doing. I start thinking, “Wow! They’re doing all this with their life. I want to do some more.” Then I buckle down again.
Toni: Okay, so when you might be in a slump you’ll look around and say, “Okay, I like that. That’s pretty cool. Now I’m moved to action.” Right?
Katie: Yes. I think even when you’re feeling inspired and motivated, it just kind of snowballs. I think when you try to take a look back and see, “Oh my gosh, what have I accomplished?” that just pushes you. It’s all good to have that level.
Toni: I like when you said that inspiration feels like a rush.
Toni: That’s a cool feeling, you know?
Toni: Is that that “pit in your stomach” feeling?
Toni: Yes. Where it’s like, “Ooh! There it was!”
Katie: Yes, exactly.
Toni: I get it. So when you get that, how do you put that into practice here in Berks County?
Katie: To get inspired, I was going through maybe like a slump, and I felt like I wanted to take advantage of the different pieces that Berks County has to offer that could inspire me. I joined the Lean In group through …
Toni: Women to Women?
Katie: Yes. Women to Women. I’m part of the Incubator. I think that really helps. I just started to network with different people. Being a woman, I’ve tried to connect with women who I find inspiring, and then I’ve met with them for lunch or breakfast just to hear their story and talk to them. I think connecting and networking with people, everybody is inspiring in their own way.
Toni: They are. A couple things I just want to touch on that you had mentioned is that you knew you were in a slump, and you needed to feel that rush. By joining different networking groups and talking to people, you felt reenergized?
Katie: Yes, very much so. I think you go through a slump and maybe you need a little direction. I found mentoring groups through GRYP (Greater Reading Young Professionals). The Lean In circle was awesome. It’s been cool.
Toni: Then once you became reenergized again, what did you do? How did you put that inspiration into practice?
Katie: I go home and I make a list of everything; kind of brain dump and start working backwards and thinking, “Okay, this is everything I want to do. How am I going to make it happen? How am I going to break it down into different pieces?”
Then I start figuring it out, whatever that goal is or thing that’s now got me inspired and, “Now I want to do this.” I break it down and figure out how I’m going to attack that.
Toni: Do you have a specific example that was just recent?
Katie: I think probably the big one was I felt I needed to have a mentor and advisor group. It took some time, but that’s what brought me to the Incubator, and that has been so helpful. Working and meeting with different people in Berks County who said, “You should go check out the Incubator.” They are helping me do the goal setting, so that’s accomplished that goal where I felt very much like I needed some kind of guidance, and now I feel like I have plenty of people. I have this great network of people that depending on what business issue or life problem is, I have a specific person for each piece, which is awesome.
Toni: Oh wow – so now you can get a rush from several people!
Katie: Yes. If I’m feeling down about manufacturing, I have this. I think it’s also great to compartmentalize it, but then I can say, “This is where I need help,” and go to that person.
Toni: This is an interesting way to look at getting inspired. It helps you with your business knowing how you get inspired. You took that action, went out and networked, so that you can purposefully be inspired.
Toni: I love that.
Toni: Who in Berks County inspires you?
Katie: I feel like there are so many people. The people that I have met with recently are Steve Fritz through GRYP mentoring. He’s been very inspiring to me. Julia Kline – I met with her, and she’s very inspiring. Sally Weaver I’ve met with. All these people, and then there’s people now at the Incubator like June. She’s been really inspiring and helpful. I think it’s just having people who can advise me. My husband – he’s doing his third Iron Man in three years.
Toni: Wow – oh my gosh!
Katie: Inspiring and crazy. I think even just friends. I think when you start talking to your different friends and you see what everybody is doing; everybody is busy, but everybody is doing really great things. I think that’s cool. For as busy as everybody is, they’re all doing really neat, cool things with their lives. I think that’s always inspiring, talking to people.
Toni: Is that your common denominator on people who inspire you in Berks County? People who are doing really cool things?
Katie: Yes. It’s cool things, but they’re not just say sitting and letting life live them. They’re living life, not just letting it go by. That’s inspiring to me – somebody who wants to do something, whatever that means – being the best mom or being the best person on a board or something like that. I think it’s great to see when people are doing something with their life.
Toni: Yes. So what do you want your legacy to be?
Katie: I think with the activewear, I’d really like to have the inclusiveness. Right now, so much of the clothing industry is very divided between plus size and straight size. It doesn’t really seem to make sense. I think everybody wants to fit in and be trendy and fashion-forward regardless of whether it’s activewear or regular clothing. I think we’re a unique brand with our inclusive end of everything, that we offer everything in each size and each style.
I think that’s our legacy, is giving women the confidence to be who they are. For us, that means giving women the confidence to live a healthy, active, life, and that they should have access to feel the best about themselves and live a healthy, active life regardless of their size.
Toni: Wow – what a legacy for your company to leave for women! That’s fantastic. Katie, thank you so much for showing up to the Get Inspired! Project. Best of luck to you.
Katie: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Toni: Take care.
I travel a decent amount for work. Sometimes it’s to cities I’m very familiar with and comfortable in and other times I’m taken to a totally new place. Traveling can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some of my tips to take make traveling hassle free and enjoyable:
- airbnb.I have recently fallen in love with airbnb. I attend a trade show in Utah and the hotels book up quickly and are very expensive. Last year, we decided to try airbnb instead of getting a hotel room and I was pleasantly surprised. I rented the basement of a woman’s house that was converted into a full apartment. There was a living room, kitchen, full bathroom and two bedrooms. Since there were two of us on this trip, it was great for each of us to have our own room and space to decompress after a long trade show day. It was half the price of the hotel room, but offered so much more. We even had access to a washer and dryer! Staying in a house made the trip seem much more relaxing and comfortable. We are doing the same for the trade show this month.
- Priceline. I love a good deal. I use Priceline to book hotels in areas I’m familiar with or when I don’t feel comfortable using airbnb. I think of airbnb for longer trips, not when I just need to stay over one night in a place like NYC. I feel pretty comfortable with the different neighborhoods in NYC and know that all I need in NYC is a place to sleep that I can trust. I always bid for my own price and offer very low. Usually, I end up with a cool, fun hotel for a great price.
- Uber. I’ve started to use Uber when I’m traveling in cities that I don’t know well. Through an app on your phone, the service allows you to hail a cab, private car of participate in a rideshare. Last year, I was in Seattle for the Miss Plus USA competition and had no clue how to get around the area. I didn’t know if cabs were easy to hail and where I should go for one. So I used Uber. My friend made me sign up when I was visiting her in Chicago in case I ever had trouble, and it came in handy in Seattle. The best part is that the app just adapted to my location and I could use it in a different city. I felt like I had a safe and easy way to get around no matter where I was.
- Loyalty Programs. I’m really trying to be better about being loyal to one brand. It makes so much sense to work toward something; I love feeling that I’m getting something in return for choosing them. I think I see this most with airlines and hotel chains. Sometimes it doesn’t work out to only fly one airline or stay in a certain hotel. But in the long run, the miles and points add up and they will reward you with upgrades, discounts and other perks.
- Public Transportation. My sister and brother-in-law taught me the subway system in NYC when I stayed with them for a summer. And I love that I know it and feel comfortable using it. In the last few years, my Chicago friends have had me taking the bus or L to meet them. I love using public transportation in big cities! Not only do you feel like you’re not a tourist, you save money too. I love that I can navigate a city using their great public transportation services and not feel like all I’m doing is spending money to get places. Now most major cities have apps to help you get around, making it even easier.
- Yelp. I always find it hard to know where to eat when you’re traveling in a new city. Recently, I’ve been really in to using yelp to find a particular style food near to me. It also has great reviews and info on restaurants. This was really helpful on our trip to Utah; we even found a food blogger and started following her suggestions. There’s more than just food recommendations on Yelp. Maybe you need a manicure before a meeting or you want to book a massage after your stressful day. You can find in-depth information on almost any service.
- Talk to locals. To really get the best information, it’s great if you can get input from someone who is a local. This could be someone you met on the flight or in a restaurant. Most locals will have a suggestion for a certain type of food you want or service you’re looking for. For the most part, people seem to be happy to help and suggest great spots to check out when you visit their city. Plus they usually know the best kept secrets!
I love traveling and checking out new cities. It’s fun to enjoy local hot spots and get to know what makes each city great.
This article appears in the February 2015 issue of Berks County Living
#DefineBrave = The Courage to Stand in Truth & Express Freedom
During this week’s radio show you will learn about:
- The #DefineBrave Campaign from Katie K. Active
- Personal Stories about Overcoming Adversity
- Women Entrepreneurs Making a Difference: Pride & Glory and Mind.Body.Spirit EXPERIENCE
- Explore Non-Profits: FinalSaluteInc.org and StopCAIDNow.org
The Katie K. Active Signature Collection is named for founder and designer Katie Kozloff. As a fitness trainer, Kozloff worked with women of all sizes heard first hand their opinions and views on what was lacking in the activewear industry. She was inspired to create activewear that blended performance, fit and fashion — workout gear that looks and feels amazing on women of all sizes.
“I wanted to create a brand that fits and flatters all of my friends in all of their sizes, without compromising the performance features that today’s women have grown to expect.”
You can learn more about Katie here.
Jas Boothe is a Chicago Native and disabled Army Veteran, who gave 13 years of service to this great nation. She deployed during the Operation Iraq Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom campaigns and her military career has been dedicated to working with and advocating for Soldiers and their family members.
She founded Final Salute Inc, which has assisted over 300 women Veterans and children and now operates 3 transitional homes in Alexandria, VA, Martinsburg, WV and Columbus, OH.
You can learn more about Jas here.
Pat Cruz: Creative thinker, noted entrepreneur, event marketing specialist, former radio show host, avid networker, connection maker, and marketing/social media innovator nationally celebrated for her ranking in top five Rhode Islanders with highest calculated social media influence.
Pat has created a socially oriented business environment that builds awareness, creates loyalty, and increases revenue for clients and businesses desiring access to the power of the female buyer, or influencer in the local marketplace.
You can learn more about Pat here.
Lisa Moreno-Dickinson is a devoted single mom, author, executive producer, writer for the Global Genes Project/Rare Disease Community, Ambassador for #definebrave, on the board of Directors for The Wish Upon A Hero Foundation, and President/Founder for StopCAIDNow.org, a 501c3 accredited non-profit. The foundation is focused on treatments, awareness, diverse genetic testing, and genomics..
StopCAIDnow, Inc. is recognized globally and first to blanket all Auto-inflammatory Diseases.
You can learn more about Lisa here.
Jennifer Walsh has been a true pioneer for the skin care / cosmetics industry. She has been in the business for more than 15 years and has learned her craft through hands on experience with the brands themselves and with customers throughout the world.
Ms. Walsh founded what became one of the first beauty boutique chains in the United Stated in 1998 along with one of the first beauty websites at that same time. Since Jennifer sold her company in 2010, she now consults for brands in roll out plans both in the US and internationally.
You can learn more about Jennifer here.
I was so excited to hear about the panel discussion “Fashion Without Limits: Changing the Face of Fashion”. As an inclusive brand, catering to women sizes 2 to 3X, we know all too well the frustrations of the plus woman. The panel hit on so many points that we at Katie K Active agree with!
- Full figured women crave fashionable clothes, just as much as the straight size women! Just because a woman is a size 12 of higher, doesn’t mean she wants to hide her body or not enjoy the current trends. She is a fashionable and stylish woman who wants to have the same great wardrobe options as the straight size women.
- There are not enough designers and retailers addressing the needs of full figured women. Fashionable and stylish clothing for women size 12 and above is difficult to find. Retailers don’t seem to want to include the full figured women in their offering, especially in their physical locations. Designers seem to be less interested in making product that seems less glamorous. We know it takes more effort to design for the fuller figure, but the market is there and demanding great clothing. Things do seem to be moving in the right direction recently, but we have much further to go.
- It’s a mistake to not want to market to the plus size customer. The plus size market is a $17.7 billion dollar industry, 37% of U.S. women wear at least 1 plus size item, and 68% of the U.S. female population is size 12 and above. The opportunity to serve the most underserved fashion category in the fashion industry is huge. By not offering plus size products, you’re telling her she is unimportant.
- The plus size market is not only an age issue. It’s the millennials and boomers who mostly comprise this category, not just the older woman. The common mistake is that plus size clothing is designed for the very mature woman in mind. She is young, hip, and trendy. She cares about being stylish and fashion forward.
- Plus clothing shouldn’t only be offered online. There is something to shopping, trying clothes on and having the instant gratification of taking your purchase with you. Online shopping means you have to wait, pay shipping, and hope the item looks and fits well. Women want to be able to shop in physical retail locations in addition to online stores.
We feel so passionately about treating the plus size woman as an equal and important customer that we launched Katie K Active as a fully inclusive activewear brand. Every style is offered in every color in every size. Through the use of our Double Fit Technology, we ensure the proper fit across the size range.
Katie K Active is proud to be an inclusive brand. We think its important not to separate the plus woman and put her off to the side. Katie K Active embraces women and their desire to have activewear that blends style, quality and performance so they can confidently live a healthy, active life.
As a local business owner, I constantly think about how I can support other local businesses. I have a few favorites that I definitely use to help me personally, and for my company.
- Chamber of Commerce – Women2Women: I have enjoyed being a member of Women2Women. The organization hosts monthly events that I’ve participated in, which have been great for personal and career development. I also participated in their Lean In circle. Through it, I not only met a great group of women, but I learned and thought about things I never would have before. It was an experience that has proven to be invaluable.
- Jump Start Incubator – I wrote a BCL article (now on my blog) about why I think the incubator is fabulous! It’s a great place for anyone looking to take his or her business idea to the next level. Through mentorship, guidance and getting a built-in team, it’s a great way to launch your business idea.
- Jersey Ink – I have been using Jersey Ink for about three years now. I met the mother and daughter team, Sue and Christina, through a friend of mine. They have been a wonderful help to my business. I use them for promotional products, but love their willingness to work with me on anything. They put up with me when I give short deadlines. Jersey Ink has also been able to design items from concept to product. I love their excitement and desire to work with local businesses. They want to make sure I get the best product at a great price that meets my needs.
- Bell Tower – I have loved the Bell Tower boutique for years. But the reason I love it goes beyond the clothing they offer. Samara and Dara are great stylists! I have visited before different meetings, not knowing what to wear or how to put myself together. They’ve helped select the perfect outfit, so I could feel confident and ready to rock my meeting. Samara and Dara know and understand my style and always choose great items. They have helped me create a wardrobe so that I can just grab and go. I’m prepared for any event. I never have to think about what I’m going to wear, because I know I’m going to feel confident and look great!
- A Running Start – I was introduced to A Running Start a few years ago when I moved back to Reading. Sorita, the owner, has a friendly and knowledgeable team ready to help. I visited looking to find running shoes and they were very thorough, which I really appreciated since I was dealing with bunion issues. Now that I’ve had surgery, they’ve been equally as helpful getting me back in to the swing of things. I found a pair of running shoes that helped me not hate running! Their friendly staff, weekly runs and sponsored events definitely bring the community together to live healthy, active lives!
- Corpsfitness – Along the line of fitness, I’ve loved having a place like Corpsfitness at my disposal. Chris Kaag has developed a great workout program and provides a great experience, all the while developing a sense of community. I know that when I go to a class, I’m greeted by smiling faces, all welcoming, even though we are about to be put through a tough workout! There’s a social piece to Corpsfitness that I’ve really enjoyed. Everyone is there to work out together, but also to connect. It’s a great place for when I need to release some stress.
- Café Bold – I work from home or the incubator for the most part, but sometimes I need something different. I love stopping in at Café Bold for a change of scenery. It’s a lovely place to meet with people and with off street parking in the back, it’s super easy. They have great food, so I definitely don’t mind scheduling a lunch meeting there.
With these places in mind, take a few minutes to reflect on those local businesses that help with your everyday. Consider sharing your favorites and frequenting them over the holiday season with friends and family. One thing I’ve learned is the importance of small business and local organizations and the hardworking people that are keeping them going.
This article appears in the December 2014 issue of Berks County Living
I just recently learned about the business incubators springing up in big cities around the country. This concept has actually been around for years, and I had no idea that one exists here in Reading! I met with Jump Start Incubator in the fall and was invited to apply and was accepted in January. Here’s why I think every start-up business should spend some time in a business incubator:
- Mentors. I am a big believer in mentors. They have encountered things in their careers and lives that have imparted valuable lessons that can only be learned through experience. Having them share their knowledge and life lessons is not only interesting, but a great way to learn. I’ve learned how to handle certain situations and look at issues differently as well as get new ideas.
- Community Connections. Through the incubator, I’ve had the opportunity to be introduced to and to connect with individuals in our community that may be able to provide help and insight into my business. I’ve also been introduced to local companies that provide services that may help grow my business. When I have expressed an issue that I’m facing, the incubator’s staff has been able to introduce me to local businesses or people in the community who have the expertise in those areas that I’m struggling in. I have talked with people in positions at companies that I would not have had the opportunity to meet with at this point in my career. It’s amazing to be able to meet with successful people who are willing to help me.
- Finance. As a member of the Incubator, I have the opportunity to work closely with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). They have someone there to answer any accounting questions I may have, to make sure I know how to use QuickBooks, and to help me make sure my business is financially healthy. They can help when you are ready to talk to the bank about a loan or when you’re looking to take on investors. Overall, it’s great to have a group of financial experts at your fingertips.
- Expanded Team. I’m not sure about all incubators, but the Berks Jump Start Incubator has employees and interns. Immediately, my team was expanded without me having to actually hire anyone. I’ve used the Incubator’s staff for a variety of tasks such as creating marketing pieces, compiling targeted media lists and researching industry topics. As a small business owner, I wear many hats, and it’s great when there is help to complete all the tasks that need to be done so I can feel less overwhelmed and actually get to everything I want to and need to accomplish to keep growing my business.
- Goal Setting/Accountability. As with anything, planning and staying focused is important. As a member of the Incubator, I have signed on to be a part of their program for two years. At the end of the two years I graduate, but I am responsible for deciding what that means. I must create my two-year goal for what I want to get out of the Incubator, what I want to accomplish and where I want to be. This is the point at which I “graduate” and would consider the program a success. I must lie out my goals, break them down into smaller goals, and create deadlines in order to figure out how to complete my overall larger goals. I meet with Ray Melcher to measure where I am and to discuss how it’s going and to make sure I stay on track. Being accountable to someone more than myself as well as having some input on how to accomplish my goals has been a great way to stay focused on the big picture while working on the steps to get there.
For more info on the Jump Start Incubator, visit jumpstartberks.org.