Woodbury resident Amy Cochrane and her friend Wendy Parks have always loved living actively. Cochrane describes herself as a gym junkie who also enjoys hiking and cycling; Parks stays active by biking, canoeing and camping. The two women became acquainted after taking classes together at the Woodbury branch of the YMCA, and it was thanks to this fitness friendship that the idea for a business came about: jewelry suited to an active lifestyle. “Fitness is my community,” Cochrane says. “I meet my friends in these classes, it’s my social time, and I love being there.”
In the summer of 2012, the pair started taking classes at Xperience Fitness’s Woodbury location. It was here that the idea for Cochrane’s business, Momentum Fitness Jewelry, was born. “We were doing planks next to each other in class, and I looked down at my empty wrist,” Cochrane says, “and that’s when it hit me. I looked up at Wendy and I said ‘athletic jewelry!’” The rest, as they say, is history.
By fall, with Cochrane’s two daughters back in school for the year, she already had several ideas for designs she had been thinking about. The first design, still the most popular, was for a wrap bracelet made from soft fabric with a hand-stamped metal tag bearing a motivational phrase. These include everything from quippy numbers like “commit to be fit” to inspirations such as “live fearlessly.” Other designs include necklaces, earrings and shoe ornaments cleverly dubbed “foot notes.” Momentum also does custom designs.
In October 2012, she and Parks, whose help Cochrane had enlisted early on in the process, set up a sale at a local Pilates studio in hopes of introducing the product to the fitness community. A major factor in the company’s early success, Cochrane says, was having a website from the get-go, courtesy of her computer-programmer husband.
“It took a while to get the startup going,” Cochrane says, noting that the first year of Momentum’s existence was spent focusing on designing various types of products, tweaking the website, and researching possible retailing options. “We went to a lot of fitness conventions that first year,” she says, “and our thought was ‘Wow, there really is a huge market for this.’” Cochrane was glad to discover an expansive community for whom fitness was the focus, and which eagerly welcomed Momentum’s products.
“I discovered that there was a strong market out there for designs like this,” Cochrane says. “It’s fashionable and fun, but very functional.” Furthermore, there was nothing else like it on offer at these conventions, she adds. “Our product was one-of-a-kind.”
“That first year was so much trial and error,” Parks says. At that point, the pair was making every item individually and by hand. That meant everything from washing and cutting fabric for bracelets to hand stamping, letter by letter, the sentiments adorning necklaces, bracelets and shoe ornaments. “I must have stamped around 3,000 or so tags that year,” Cochrane says. “In order to meet demand, it became obvious that we needed help.”
Parks agreed. “It was getting impossible to keep up with the demand, just the two of us.” So as they had done in the early days of the company, the women turned to their community for support.
“We found a Midwestern company that makes stamps of each of our sayings,” Parks says. “We stamp the original by hand and then they can re-create it for us on a much larger scale. It was a huge game-changer for us.” The company also now relies on a number of individuals in the community who help with tasks such as cutting fabric strips for wrap bracelets, freeing up a little more time for Cochrane to manage the business’s expansion.
Last January, the focus shifted from meeting production needs to getting Momentum Fitness Jewelry into retail stores and putting more energy into marketing. “Now that we could meet demand, we could focus our energy on pushing the product into new channels,” Cochrane says. So far, she says, Momentum has found retailers in several states, including New York, Colorado and Alaska. Lately, the company has even gained international attention, attracting customers from as far away as England and Australia.
Laura Prow, owner of the local marketing company Studio Prow, has been working with Cochrane since July to hone in on marketing strategies for Momentum Fitness Jewelry and raise product awareness. “Amy has done a great job taking the business from the crafting level to being a really marketable product,” Prow says. “She is definitely poised for growth.”
Prow says that her role has been to take on some of the marketing work so Cochrane can focus on growing the business in other ways. “They can’t do everything themselves, and so I’m trying to help out with the marketing piece to free up some of their valuable time,” Prow says.
According to Prow, Momentum’s timing has been ideal. “Women are really on a fitness kick these days,” she says. “This product is fun, trendy, and appeals to a demographic of women looking for new ways to be inspired and stay motivated.”
One such woman is Angie Reeves, a Woodbury resident and instructor at Xperience Fitness, where Cochrane and Parks attend classes. Reeves was teaching a class the two women were participating in when she noticed Cochrane’s Momentum wrap bracelet and couldn’t help but comment.
“I loved the idea of jewelry meant to be worn specifically while working out,” she says. Reeves has gone on to model Momentum’s products in several photo shoots for the company. She has enjoyed being able to support the product, she says, since it’s something that resonates with her lifestyle and is a product she can get behind. Reeves says she currently owns several Momentum pieces, including a set of foot notes inscribed with “finish strong” and a wrap bracelet bearing the sentiment “Godstrong” (a nod to Reeves’ faith and its role in her life).
“Sometimes you can get wrapped up in the negatives and forget to focus on every moment,” she says. “[Momentum’s jewelry] helps bring that focus into your life by reminding you of the beauty and strength within yourself.”
For more information on Momentum Fitness Jewelry, go to designsthatmoveyou.com.