As we come to the close of the year, I like to take this time for some reflection. I finally give a bit of sigh and acknowledge what has been accomplished. This is what fuels me to then focus on the vision and goals for 2017. As it pertains to Sportiqe, 2016 was a banner year for the company. The team has developed personally and professionally, the quality of our product continues to improve, and we continue to grow with our customers. Oh, and, we celebrated our 10th anniversary.
Looking back at 2016 also allows me to really have an attitude of gratitude for all that has been accomplished. Similar to driving a car, you need to look forward in order to see where you’re going. We are all on this amazing journey with highs and lows, successes and failures, with the ultimate destination to feel fulfilled. We’re taking what we’ve learned in 2016, putting it in the rearview, and setting our sights on the future.
As we move full-speed ahead into 2017, we do so with the theme of “Elevate.” How do we take what we have accomplished and elevate it? In other words, how do we get better? How do we get better at providing great customer service? How do we get better at providing comfortable quality products? But most importantly, how do we get better at being the best version of our self?
It is with this spirit that we welcome the New Year. It is with this spirit that we wish you a Happy New Year and encourage you to find ways to Elevate your life in 2017.
Jamie Walsh is a student at the University of Iowa who runs a personal fashion blog. Jamie is a friend of the Sportiqe brand with an aspiring career in the fashion industry. See below for Jamie's Holiday Gift Guide featuring some of our most popular items and be sure to check out her blog, Just Jamie.
What to get your man for the Holiday:
The Butler, styled above is the perfect crewneck sweatshirt. It is super soft and easy to layer. If you are looking for that casual, athleisure look for your man, then Sportiqe has the perfect selection of cool and comfortable items. I just placed an order to surprise my guy for Christmas!
Here are my top 3 favorite pieces that should be under your tree this year:
What to get your girl for the Holiday:
The Aniston, styled above, is the perfect layering lightweight sweatshirt for your lady! She wears it comfortably with a warm blanket scarf to keep her cozy and looking fresh. As you can see, the sweatshirt is not too bulky, but is warm enough to wear as just one layer. She pairs this layer with leggings and snow boots to stay dressed appropriately for the chilly weather while still looking super cute!
Follow this Holiday Guide and your special someone will be forever grateful!
Growing up, one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving Holiday was always sitting around the table as our family and friends went around expressing what we were thankful for. Don’t get me wrong, the food part was good too, but as the years went by, there was something so significant to me about taking time to express thankfulness. I began to gravitate to that notion the older I got. As I moved out of adolescence and I learned that it felt good to express thankfulness, I started asking that question of myself everyday, “What am I thankful for?” I noticed finding something to be thankful for brought a sense of comfort to me as well.
The whole concept of “thankfulness” really intrigues me, so I dug a little deeper and discovered some profound things around being thankful. It’s scientifically proven that the benefits of practicing thankfulness are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.
Being thankful doesn’t need to be reserved to one holiday a year. It can be something we practice everyday, even if it is as simple as being thankful for Tillamook Ice Cream with apple pie, or Cartel Coffee… which I like, in that order, after my Thanksgiving dinner.
What if we All took the time to be thankful towards something each and everyday?
I hope this Holiday season we all find time to answer this question and experience the comfort of gratitude each and everyday.
Here are my top 5 things that I am thankful for today:
What are you thankful for?
When I’m traveling, being comfortable is essential. What I’ve always found interesting about travel is that many people refer to it as being “uncomfortable” or “out of their comfort zone.” Some tend to think that because they leave their place of residence that can’t enjoy any of the comforts of home. Personally, I like to think of home as a more a state of being. If I can surround myself with things that make me comfortable, I can allow myself the same feeling I get when I’m actually at home. So what can we at Sportiqe do to make wherever you are HOME? We can continue in our mission to make you feel as comfortable as possible, wherever you roam! I want to share a few tips to make you feel at home, wherever that home may be.
My summertime travel essentials are must-haves for being comfortable. My go-to look for the plane is always a COMFY T & jeans. In my backpack, you’ll find our long sleeved ROWAN, which is perfect for that chill at 30,000ft, and thin enough to not take up too much room in your bag. Another tip for being comfortable is… you guessed it, food. As many of you know, I love to eat and pride myself on being a bit of a foodie, so as you might suspect, I’m not the biggest fan of airplane meals. I always have a few KIND bars tucked in my bag for an easy snack. They give me enough energy to get to my destination without getting too "hangry." Another tip for long flights is staying fresh! My secret is to pack an extra COMFY T in my carry-on to change right before landing. It’s a great way to help you feel less grimy after breathing all of that recycled air. Not to mention, if you’re running through the airports like I am, it’s nice to have that extra T in your bag, especially in the summer time… (queue jokes about Arizona heat).
In the winter, I normally go with what we at HQ like to call the Sportiqe Tuxedo: the DALY joggers, a THORNTON zip hoodie, and a COMFY T underneath. This is traveling at maximum comfort level. For those of you who need a little more “business” in your “business casual”, I’ve created a few variations of this look that still keep me comfortable while traveling. If I’m getting off of the plane and heading straight into a meeting, I’ll pair jeans with a button down oxford, and throw a THORTON zip-up or a ROWAN overtop. This look allows for comfort and style at the same time. Staying comfortable on the plane can be a bit more difficult when there’s crying babies or snoring grandpas. I always bring my Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones so I can get work done during the flight without too many distractions. If I’m lucky enough to be travelling for leisure, I’ll rock jeans and an OLSEN hoodie. I love pulling up the Olsen hood right when I’m about to walk off the plane in to that first brush of cold air. Even though I might not be at home anymore, on the inside of the OLSEN, I feel like I am.
I hope a few of these tips help make traveling more comfortable. And make wherever you’re going feel like home.
You really need only 3 things in life. Food, clothing, and shelter. At Sportiqe Apparel, we’ve got you covered for one of those. For those of you who know me, you know I LOVE to eat. I take pride in finding local good-eats in each city I visit, and I take particular pride in hunting down the BEST eateries in my own city.
In my constant quest for comfort, I’m always looking for restaurants that are the total package: delivering an incredible dish while giving you that homemade, comfort-food feel. I’ve spent a significant amount of time at the 5 establishments below, and I’ve come to realize that the owners and staff of these spots are as passionate about making great food as Sportiqe is about making great clothes.
When our friends come to town and they ask me where they should go, these are always my top 5 recommendations, in no particular order. ENJOY!!!
Little Miss BBQ
I’m a huge fan of BBQ. For the first 6 years I lived in Arizona, I’d pretty much accepted the fact that there was no good Southern-style BBQ in the Valley. Then, like a gift from Heavens, Scott Holmes opened up Little Miss BBQ a mile from the Sportiqe Headquarters. The special on the menu is the beef-rib, only available on Fridays and Saturdays. If you can get your hands on it, it won’t disappoint. Second only to the special is the Fatty brisket, an out-of-this-world dish that will leave you wanting more, except you’ll be too full for a second helping. On Thursdays, they serve a pastrami that’s better than Katz’s Deli in NYC (not an easy task). The BBQ here is so good people will wait in the AZ summer heat outside for over an hour just to get lunch. I could go on and on about it, but need I say more?
Matt’s Big Breakfast
When I first moved out to Arizona, I was a bit homesick. One of the things I missed the most was the great meals my family enjoyed together… especially breakfast. Finding Matt’s Big Breakfast was like sitting down at the family breakfast table again. I can’t say this about just anywhere… but EVERYTHING on the menu is phenomenal (believe me, I’ve tried it all). Every dish is made with top quality ingredients and LOVE. The owners of this establishment treat you like you’re family. Ernie even tells her staff they can call her “Mama”. I’ve spent a lot of Saturday and Sunday mornings sitting up at the counter enjoying their famous Five Spot.
LoLo’s Chicken and Waffles
My dad’s side of the family is from Birmingham, so needless to say, I grew up eating southern fried chicken. I’m VERY picky about my fried chicken, but my dad is the ultimate food snob when it comes to this dish. So how good is LoLo’s? Let’s just say I think my dad is slightly more excited to get off the plane to eat at LoLo’s than he is to see me. The waffles are to die for, but let’s be honest, we’re going there for the chicken.
Chris Bianco has gotten all of the accolades for his pizza concept, Pizzeria Bianco (well deserved I might add.) But with that being said, Pane Bianco has my favorite tuna sandwich ever. Depending on the day, they have some AWESOME market sandwiches for lunch. The sloppy Joe or the spicy pulled-chicken are some of my favorites. Shifting gears a little bit, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Pizzeria Bianco as well. Of course, you of course can’t go wrong with any of the pizza, but I must tell you that the lasagna is the best you can get in AZ. *Secret tip: ask for extra crispy sandwich bread at Pane Bianco.
Defalco’s Italian Grocery
Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night craving a good Italian sub? Okay, maybe that’s just me. It took me a little while to find this gem, but once I did I became a regular. Obviously my favorite here is the Italian sub, but the chicken cheesesteak had me at first bite. This is a super casual spot, good for picking up and taking home to enjoy in your comfy sweats or dining in and feeling like you’re tucked in the back of an actual Italian deli in the heart of Rome. The pasta dishes and pizza are great here too. *Secret tip: get the chicken caesar pasta salad as a side-dish.
Ok, so now that I’m drooling after writing this, go check these places out, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Make sure you’ve got your Daly Joggers on to give you a little extra room to stretch out.
The concept of uniqe’ness is at the core of our business, in fact, we’ve literally built our whole company around it! We strive to give our customers the most individual, unique design, specific to their brand. When we meet with our clients to come up with a new design for their apparel, we don’t suggest ideas that are the same as everything else out there; we encourage them to be different! We acknowledge the uniqe’ness in each of our clients because it’s their individuality that makes them stand out, and we think standing out is a good thing!
As we look to recognize National Stop Bullying Day, we want to be reminded of the fact that each of us is unique, and that uniqueness isn’t something to shy away from. So many of us can relate to being bullied for something that made us different. For me personally, I think back to when I was a student and remember how bullying made me feel small or unworthy, not good enough, even afraid. There were times in my life that I remember being the one on the other side of bullying, which in some cases, felt much worse. It was those feelings as a student that caused me to take a deeper look at how I wanted to feel. Upon years of addressing this, I simply came to the understanding that what I want to feel is happiness. Interestingly enough, I've also come to know that this wanting to feel good is fundamental for every human being. Not just for me, but every single person on the face of this earth wants to be happy. It is with this understanding that I can understand the similarities that exist with my neighbor along with respecting their differences. I want to enjoy my life and to understand more and more what it means to be alive. I want to experience joy, I want to learn, and I want to collaborate with people. Overall I just want to feel good. One way I knew I could create that good feeling for myself was to help give it to others. I want to help make people feel comfortable and allow them to see that their uniqueness isn’t something that should be made fun of, but embraced!
A few months ago during a company meeting, we introduced the word “Genshai”. It means, “to not treat others as to make them feel small.” It is something we strive to be conscious of in our efforts to help people feel comfortable. Yes, there are challenges in life and in day-to-day business, but at the end of the day can we all come out on top, treat others with respect and feel good. It was important to us as a company to align this concept of “Genshai” in our daily interactions, not only with one-another but with our customers as well. The idea of Genshai and acknowledging your uniqe’ness go hand-in-hand! We thought it was important, especially today, to remind people of the age-old wisdom “treat others as you would like to be treated” and hopefully in that understanding can look to master Genshai and acknowledge each others' uniqe'ness.
If you or someone you know is being bullied, check out stopbullyingnowfoundation.org for info on how to get help!
This time of year in particular, we are often moving so quickly that we sometimes forget even the most basic human needs. I know I’m probably not the only one who can say that I’m guilty of forgetting to eat lunch on busy days, or staying up until 2AM to meet a deadline, only to get up again at 5 and start rushing the day away. We often pack our calendars so full to get in every possible thing that we can fit, creating strain and general discomfort in our day-to-day lives. As we move into the busiest season for our business, and for most, a hectic time of year, we wanted to take time to reflect on what Sportiqe is all about. We wanted to create a new blog series that will enable our customers to be comfortable in every aspect of their lives, we want to give a little insight into what it means to roam in comfort.
Along with those basic human needs, like eating and sleeping, we have a natural tendency to gravitate towards things that are comfortable. Think about your favorite time of day. I know for many of us, that time is when we come home from work, take off our sneakers and sink into the sofa with cold beer, flip on the game, start our nightly Netflix binge, or jump onto our favorite gaming console, right? We gravitate towards comfort because that’s what our bodies are telling us we need!
The phrase “roam in comfort” is something you’ve probably heard us say a lot, but what does it really mean? The phrase goes hand-in-hand with our logo, the American Buffalo. We use the Buffalo as a representation of our company for so many reasons, but in particular, we like the Buffalo because of its symbolic representation of courage and strength. To the Native Americans, the Buffalo was a source of food, material and shelter. The Native Americans used every piece of the Buffalo, similar to what we do when we find a fabric we like, we use it for everything: T’s, hoodies, lining, headwear, etc. Not only did the Buffalo provide physical necessities, but it also provided a representation of how to live. The Buffalo roams wherever it wants, free of restriction. Even in rough weather or during a dry season, the Buffalo keeps his head down and moves forward. The Buffalo can run up to 40MPH and jump up to 6 feet high, pretty impressive for a 1,400 pound animal, huh? At Sportiqe, that’s how we strive to be as a company: resourceful, always moving in the direction of innovation, quick & nimble in an industry that tends to be slow-moving, but most of all, comfortable.
We’ve spent a good portion of this year perfecting our product and designs, constantly learning and growing from the feedback you’ve given us and now, we want to add another layer to our customer experience. It’s our goal to make our customers as comfortable as possible. The goal of this blog series is the same. We will feature anything and everything that makes us comfortable. Whether it be travel destinations, DIY projects, new restaurants to try, life hacks, pizza-toppings, you name it! Whatever is making us comfortable, we want to share it with you. We want to be able to connect with you on a more human level, something a little less corporate, and a little more comfortable, if you will. If there’s a topic you’re dying to hear our take on, let us know! The Sportiqe family tree has branches that reach far and wide, so if we have the answer, we’ll share it, and if we don’t, we’ll find it. Don’t be afraid to start a dialogue on social media too! Let’s see just how comfortable we can get.