Q&A 4Her – Andi Neugarten, founder and CEO of Active Angelz
Entrepreneur Andi Neugarten, has competed in triathlons since 2002. Her constant frustration with not being able to find multi-sport apparel that was both functional and fashionable led her to develop Active Angelz, an innovative lifestyle apparel company inspired and created by women, exclusively for women.
MyCity4Her caught up with Andi and she discussed her ideas on business in our latest Q&A 4Her interview. She tells us about the reason behind her apparel company, the benefits of being an entrepreneur and more. Read on for her interview!
What is the unique problem or situation your product or service solves?
Active Angelz is an innovative lifestyle apparel company inspired and created by women, exclusively for women. Our mission is to bring fashionable, functional, and feminine multi-sport apparel to women who want to look and perform their best.
Integrating the highest quality performance fabrics, Active Angelz engineers multi-sport garments that combine comfort, support and optimum elasticity. Every possible technical advantage is built into each garment. Best of all, we add elements that have been missing in real, multi-sports apparel: femininity, style and fashion!
The “femininity factor” comes from our simple bold colors, contoured panels and the incredible fit that makes you feel powerful, confident and inspired. The fashion element comes from exquisite Italian fabrics and distinctive styling. We believe that when you look and feel your best…you’ll be inspired to perform your best — while turning heads and stopping traffic along the way.
Active Angelz was born from my deep passion for endurance sports and my love of fashion. A competitive athlete all my life, I discovered triathlon after moving to San Diego from South Africa in 2002. San Diego is the perfect place to train year-round, so I am always surrounded by amazing athletes who inspire me every day.
I quickly became competitive in triathlon, entering races all over the country. However, I was constantly frustrated at not being able to find multi-sport apparel that was both functional and fashionable. I was always altering my clothing to fit me just the way I wanted. That’s when I realized…if I designed an endurance clothing line that looked stylish and feminine, and fit me just right; it would probably appeal to other women engaged in an Active Angelz lifestyle as well. Regardless of how hard we train, we always embrace our femininity and take pride in our appearance — on and off the course.
What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about this particular industry or running your own business and why?
It’s hard starting a new business. And it’s especially hard starting a business where I have to do everything myself. I’m the Founder, CEO, book keeper, marketing, sales, administration departments and chief cook and bottle washer at the same time. There simply don’t seem to be enough hours in the day and I am constantly prioritizing me to do list. This might be the hardest thing that I have ever done and at the same time, it’s also the most rewarding! Every small achievement is huge! Its a few steps forward and I don’t seem to mind the disappointment of taking a few steps backwards. I knew it would be hard, but I think I underestimated all the tiny details that have to be taken care of when starting a new business.
What is the best business related advice you have ever been given?
Follow your passion. Find a way to make what you love into your work. If you do that, you will never work a day in your life!
Have a business plan. It does not have to be complicated. It does not have to be lengthy and detailed. But there must be a plan. It’s a way to guide you through the many directions and challenges that you will encounter.
What were the hardest barriers in getting your idea off the ground?
The hardest part was actually deciding to go for it. I think that deep down there was this fear of failure, so I kept on making excuses for why I should not follow my dream. That actual decision to just get it started was the hardest barrier. Once I made up my mind and dived in, things started to fall into place.
What do you enjoy best about being an entrepreneur?
I like being in control of my own destiny. I love the fact that if something is not working; I can change it up to make it work. I also love the fact that I am driving this ship. The responsibility and commitment, although sometimes overwhelming, is hugely motivating.
Do you feel becoming an entrepreneur has helped you grow as a person? If so, how?
I am growing and learning every single day. I am doing things that I would never have dreamed of. I have to learn very fast as sometimes I just have to figure out how to get something done. I am making mistakes, but each mistake is an opportunity to grow and learn.
Where can people learn more about your company?
If you had to share one final thought with our audience of thousands of women in business – what would it be?
Find a women’s’ networking group or a Hub to join. Women are natural nurturers and are willing to help each other out. I received incredible support and assistance from the amazing women in my Group of entrepreneurs. I could call on experienced entrepreneurs from all walks of life. It’s also difficult and lonely starting a business from scratch on your own. Having a women’s co-working space is wonderful to get you out of your home office and into a real work environment!