UR (pronounced “You Are”) was created to help empower women to feel confident in their activewear. We do this by asking for your input on the look, fit and feel of prospective UR apparel. This allows us to effectively address the insecurities that get in the way of fitness goals. This creates a space for every woman, no matter her fitness level, to speak truthfully about her needs when it comes to activewear. This pushes UR to make the best and most innovative and fashion-forward activewear possible.
We admire all the women out there who live regular lives but choose to do extraordinary things every day. Training isn’t their only responsibility in life. It’s what they do on little sleep, in between their numerous other obligations. They are motivated not by the promise of fame and fortune, but by the joy of strength, the will to compete, and maybe a little coffee. Despite all the challenges and obstacles they face every day, they manage to stay fit and continue to push themselves beyond the comfortable and the easy.
Why We Design Together
Designing together gives all women a voice, power, authority, and a range of options. This, in turn, increases positive self-image and helps them overcome any negative stigma they may be facing. We all deserve to be comfortable in our own skin. So let’s go. Because we’ve got more important things to do than worry about our workout clothes making us feel anything other than confident. Bottom line, at UR, women are heard, respected, and appreciated.
Jacalyn, UR’s founder, saw a huge gap in the offerings geared towards fulfilling the needs of female athletes. During her stint as a college athlete, Jacalyn was issued shorts that were too short, shirts made for football players, and numerous other pieces of ill-fitting attire. As a result, she suffered from a bit of body dysmorphia, as many women have and do in that situation. Jacalyn wanted to stop that from happening to other women. Her philosophy is that an athletic garment is a tool to help you achieve your goals. It should be made to fit you, not the other way around. If it doesn’t fit, that does not mean there is something wrong with your body. It means that the garment is not designed to suit your needs. As a result of the lack of available choices in women’s activewear, Jacalyn decided to create a company that was about real women and filling their activewear needs. In order to find out what those needs were, during her senior year of college, she went to her target audience, female athletes, to get feedback about what they wanted out of their activewear.
She was surprised by all of the positive responses she received for her project from the female athletes she surveyed. What she found was that there were some important sportswear needs that just were not being met. In particular, she found that the “ride up” factor typical of spandex shorts was a major problem. Jacalyn used this problem as a starting point and set to work constructing a prototype of a better-fitting, more comfortable short that, more importantly, would not ride up. During this process, she tested multiple different styles, fits, and materials and solicited the opinion of other female athletes. These shorts were truly a “by women, for women” product, start to finish.
Once she had a product, Jacalyn then opened UR Sportswear for business in 2012 with her very first line of shorts (the epic Just Rock short). We’ve since expanded our product line and hope to continue to meet the needs of female athletes everywhere.
About Jacalyn Gross, Founder and CEO of UR Sportswear
Jacalyn is the founder and CEO of UR Sportswear. She started working on UR when she was still in college. Jacalyn began her college athletic career at Northern Michigan University, in Marquette, Michigan, where she ran track and cross country.
It was at this time that Jacalyn determined that she wanted to do something that combined her love of running and fitness with her creative drive. In the summer of 2006, she decided that she wanted to run her own sportswear company. With that goal in mind, she chose to attend Michigan State University because of its great Fashion Design program and Division 1 track and field and cross country rankings. Jacalyn was lucky enough to run track and cross country during her time at MSU.
In the winter of 2009 Jacalyn graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Apparel and Textile design, with a focus in business. She subsequently worked for a year and a half as assistant manager of an upscale boutique located in downtown Detroit. After learning what she could about the industry from this position, she traveled to Los Angeles to gather information on how to launch and run a start-up activewear company.
At the end of her stay in LA, she went back to Michigan to take an assistant coaching job at Northern Michigan University. In this position, she was able to help and support the women on the NMU track team, while continuing her research about the types of products that female athletes wanted.
At this point, Jacalyn was ready to go. She had a product idea, as well as important experience and knowledge about what it would take to start and sustain a sportswear company. Now all she needed was a little more startup capital. Jacalyn took a job working as an office assistant in Naknek, Alaska for the Ocean Beauty Seafoods as a way to make startup capital. She believes that you should not ask others to invest in projects you are not willing to invest in yourself. The long hours she worked paid off and, by the end of the fishing season, she had some funds to get things rolling. After this, she returned to Michigan, her home state, to begin product development. After lots of research and countless phone calls, Jacalyn found a contractor who was able to do what she needed. After that, Jacalyn personally sourced all of the materials that would be going into her shorts, sent her sample shorts to a pattern maker, and the rest is history!