Collyn Ahart, Bowndling
Collyn Ahart, Bowndling
Collyn Ahart wanted to start a new brand for women who love the trail. “If you went to any sports brand website, you would see cyclocross, road, time trial, MTB, womens.”
So she began Bowndling, a new technical clothing brand for women with its own distinct shapes and styles.
The collection currently comprises of bags, a parka and leggings, and is due to expand with more outerwear very soon. But it’s not been an easy ride.
Collyn Ahart grew up on the San Juan Islands in the Pacific North West of the USA, interacting with nature daily.
She first came to the UK to do a Master’s degree in 2004, and eventually ended up working with Rapha to create their much-lauded women’s range of cycle clothing. She began to blog about her forays into bike racing, and even wrote a little for Cooler.
She became a consultant for a variety of brands, culminating with a stint advising on advertising strategy for Nike Women. “I started getting quite frustrated about being a consultant at that point,” she says. “I wanted to take ownership over something.”
There’s a generation of women who want something that lasts. It’s a reaction to the years of disposable fashion…
By spring 2013, she knew she wanted to start Bowndling. She flew to New York with a business plan.
“I realised pretty quickly the vast amount of work that had be done and how much I didn’t know about the manufacturing process or running a business. And how much I didn’t even know about selling stuff!”
Collyn raised half the money she expected to, so she was forced to downsize and start learning about different aspects of running your own clothing company. But she was still confident that there was a group of women that it was important reach.
“There is a generation of women right now, who are mid-twenties to late forties, and are willing to invest a little bit more into clothing. They want something that lasts. It’s a reaction to the years of disposable fashion.”
So Collyn is working on creating clothing fit for outdoor life, in shapes that are interesting and unique to the market, manufactured in Europe to the highest standards.
“As a European company, it’s our responsibility to work as much as possible with European manufacturers,” says Collyn. “Part of it is keeping those amazing skills and that craftsmanship alive.”
That’s not her only admirable aim with Bowndling though. “I think getting people not just outside, but off the beaten path is a really important message.”