GETTING IN GEAR

Houston activewear founder doesn't sweat small stuff

Megan Eddings wants her ethical and bacteria-resistant activewear line to be as big as Lululemon — heard of it? Photo courtesy of Accel Lifestyle

This article originally appeared on InnovationMap.

For Megan Eddings, it has sometimes felt like the world was against her and her startup. Just about everything that could have gone wrong for her, went wrong — sometimes, multiple times.

Eddings first had her idea for a bacteria-resistant, ethically-made material for workout shirts over four years ago, and, much to her disappointment, she still hasn't launched.

"I never thought it would take this so long to make a T-shirt," Eddings says. "But, if you do it right and in an ethical way, it just takes a little longer."

She's finally set to launch in the second quarter of 2019, she says, and her supply chain is almost complete with manufacturers across the United States — all with ethical working environments verified by Eddings herself.

Hers is a story of trial and error, but, more importantly, having a positive attitude, showing other female founders how to keep your head up when the world's getting you down. Throughout her past few years, while she was perfecting her material, Eddings learned every lesson about starting a company — the hard way — and she's passionate about sharing her story and motivate others not to be deterred by setbacks on the mission to creating something.

InnovationMap: Originally, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Megan Eddings: I was born and raised in Rhode Island. I left for school in Virgina, and I majored in chemistry and worked in the science labs at the University of Virginia and would also work in the summers at Brown University. I thought I wanted run my own cancer research facility, but I remember one summer leaving my job at Brown and thought, "I cannot do this for the rest of my life, confined to one room," Even though I loved it, I was too social for that.

IM: Why did you move to Houston?

ME: A friend of a friend told me about medical sales, so that brought me to Houston. I used to sell MRI machines and CAT Scan machines to hospitals. I was supposed to do that for two years then move back home to Boston, but here I am 14 years later. I love it here.

IM: How did Accel Lifestyle come about?

ME: When people make a change, they do it usually for two reasons. There's a problem that's drawn you to make a change and create a solution, or there's the emotional change that gives you the courage. Six years ago, I was at a lunch meeting, and I got a call that my dad had passed away from a heart attack. I flew home that day. I gave the eulogy, and the following week, after the shock wore off, it dawned on me that I hadn't mentioned his job even though he had been at his same company for over 30 years. It just didn't matter. It only mattered how he made people feel, his humor, how he loved food. I decided that day that whatever I do — work, volunteering, working out — I would give it my all. I also decided that I would start my own company or work for myself in a way that combines all my loves: science, fashion, fitness, and giving back. I didn't know what that was going to be, but now I know it was Accel Lifestyle.

IM: When did you realize there was a need for your product?

ME: My husband was doing crossfit in the mornings, and I was washing his workout clothes, specifically his shirts. I couldn't get the smell out ever, and I tried extra hot cycles and different pods, and I even had a washer machine repair guy come out to the house to make sure it wasn't broken. I knew enough about science that something wasn't right here, and I started researching. The issue I found was bacteria that mixes with the sweat and gets trapped in the material — and bacteria love thin, lightweight workout clothes. So, now that I knew what it was, I looked into what's out there. I was also realizing how much clothes are made in sweatshops — I hadn't really noticed before. About three years ago, I decided I wanted to develop fabric that doesn't hold that smell and that every fiber, down to the tag, will be made in an ethical way.

IM: What was your first step?

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Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows www.nerdthugradio.com!

All Elite hosted its first pay per view since launching into its weekly format, now running the old school WWE/WCW format that did work for so so long. The method that WWE pumped up and turned into the nationally traded financial juggernaut it is now, it's got a good history. The event went very well, AEW's booking continues to be bold and exciting, with their stars dropping matches and elevating second tier guys to the top of the ladder. I am honestly excited by how AEW has handled itself and its stars, I wonder how long this sort of good will within the company will continue but so far it looks like they are making all the right moves and putting real pressure on WWE.

In contrast to Full Gear from AEW coming off without a hitch, a little over two weeks ago WWE sent the rosters of both Raw and Smackdown to Saudi Arabia in an effort to keep making lots of money. The matches went off without a hitch and the bookings weren't too bad but it was a surprise to see Seth Rollins lose the title and the Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez match was very dissatisfying making the Kofi Kingston title drop even more questionable. To make matters worse, there were plane issues and suddenly only certain guys were able to get back and most of Smackdown's roster wasn't in the country for Friday night Smackdown. After the brand split and the networks making their cases that there wouldn't be crossover of roster between Raw and Smackdown this further complicated the travel issues and suddenly you get the NXT invading Smackdown. Clever bit of writing and of course Triple H makes great television, but the invasion was a totally unnecessary maneuver created by WWE's poor decision to stay in the Saudi Arabia game.

Ultimately perhaps the biggest piece of news this week was the announcement of the return of CM Punk, kind of. He's now signed on to WWE Backstage through Fox, not with WWE and perhaps might even be one of the best things to come out of this whole Fox-WWE relationship. With the ratings not being what everyone expected over at Fox, WWE hasn't had the kind of control they're used to and the rumor mill is running rampant that WWE is probably unhappy with the hire considering the long cold relationship between McMahon and CM Punk. Overall WWE hasn't been the major maneuver FOX probably thought it would be and coupled with AEW's success on TNT, it has to lead other networks to realize that while live events are good, it matters what you buy.

Feel free to check out my brand-new comic book Another Day at the Office email me for details or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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