With 2014 arriving, fitness goals from every woman this New Year’s is inevitable. Why not kickstart the workouts with some boxing? We’re proud to feature our latest sponsor here at Femme & Fortune by the name of Machina Boxing. We interviewed the co-founders Courtney Kammerer & Austin Saylor on how they began Machina, their goals for the new year, and all about their company for women’s boxing and workout apparel. Keep reading to learn more about this awesome company!
Femme & Fortune: Tell us about how the idea for Machina began!
Courtney: The idea for Machina was born out of a conversation between Austin and myself about what I should wear for an upcoming exhibition fight back in 2011. There really wasn’t anything remotely unique or interesting available for a woman. We realized that was symptomatic of a larger problem where women who participate in boxing really only had options between cheap pink gear or else something that was designed for men. I’m someone who really cares about what products I’m buying, whether it’s a handbag or boxing gloves. It has to be stylish and special. I knew there had to be people like me out there – girls who want cool gear and workout clothing that wasn’t the usual girly pink stuff.
Austin: Courtney was into some of the more stylish, expensive brands of boxing gear, namely Lonsdale and Hayabusa, but she still had the problem with it being made for men. So we saw an opportunity for a brand that was dedicated to women, yet did not pander to their femininity. Machina was the answer. We make our stuff for women, yet we’ve opted for a classic boxing look.
Femme & Fortune: What prompted you both to take the leap together as business partners and entrepreneurs?
Courtney: Austin and I had an established history together dating back to 2005, when I owned Remedy Tea Bar on Sansom with my sister and we hired Austin to help with our website and various design projects. We’ve been friends ever since and with each of us having a background as entrepreneurs and our shared love for boxing it was a perfect match.
Femme & Fortune: Tell us a bit more about your background in boxing.
Courtney: We’re both huge fans of the sport. I love everything about it. For me, the workout came first, and soon I built up a passion for everything about boxing. I’ve fought in a few exhibition bouts, but mostly I just train and try to get better, mentally and physically.
Austin: Courtney is the boxer here, however the sport has always been in my life. For me, Rocky was such an inspiration in my youth and I grew up watching the great middleweights Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran with my dad. Additionally, boxing training has been part of my fitness regimen for a long time so I have an appreciation and understanding of a fighter’s needs.
Femme & Fortune: What’s the boxing community like here in Philadelphia? Where do you see room for improvement?
Courtney: Philly has such a great boxing history and we’re still producing some great fighters – Bernard Hopkins, Bryant Jennings and one of my current favorites, Danny Garcia – but the city has lost much of its pedigree over the last couple decades. You really can’t see a top level bout here anymore. Having said that, it’s still a great boxing town, and we hope to use that more and more. We even have labels on our clothing that read “Born in Philadelphia, Worn Everywhere.”
Austin: Philly has a reputation for being a tough, no-nonsense city and that serves as a constant source of inspiration for us. Philadelphia has no shortage of women who are equally serious and stylish so we hope we can get them to notice Machina and become fans!
Courtney: There’s some terrific boxing and MMA gyms here, but it would be nice to see more gyms offering boxing and kickboxing specially marketed towards women. We’ve been consulting and negotiating potential deals with a number of gyms elsewhere that are women only and they are wildly popular. We always hint at the fact that they should consider opening something here!
Femme & Fortune: For a “femme” that’s never tried boxing before, how would you describe the benefits from a boxing workout?
Austin: You can’t beat a boxing or kickboxing workout! Many athletes in other sports use boxing as a way to enhance their training. You can build incredible stamina and develop great quickness. Plus most people don’t realize the focus that’s required for the sport.
Courtney: The physical benefits are huge because you use your whole body. When you throw a punch you’re using your hips, your torso, your shoulders, everything. You build up your core to get better at throwing punches, so you see a huge benefit in that area. There’s just something about punching a bag and getting all of your aggression out that makes the workout so rewarding. It will kick your ass, that’s for sure!
Austin: And anyone can do the workout, no matter what your level. You get out of it what you put in and you can really test yourself.
Femme & Fortune: What are some of your upcoming goals for Machina?
Courtney: We’re working on expanding our product line to include competition and sparring gear. We’ll also be producing a few more clothing styles and throwing in some new colors that we think will have a wider appeal. As a young business, it’s important that we expand slowly, but we’ll continue to build our product line as we grow our customer base. I’d like to see our products sold by more gyms across the country. We’re already popular with many female trainers and instructors and we’ll be looking to build more relationships with male trainers as well.
Austin: Machina sponsors a pro boxer named Sarah Kuhn from Albany, who is helping us produce gear that is suitable for high-level competitors, as well as anyone who is a bit more serious about training. One of the things we’re especially excited about is making some unique clothing items for fighters to wear in the ring. Competition wear may be a very niche market, but we believe it should get us some attention and will further demonstrate our commitment to women who fight and compete.
Femme & Fortune: With your home base being here in Philadelphia, what’s your favorite neighborhood and why?
Courtney: Center City. I live here, I owned a business here (Remedy Tea Bar at 16th and Sansom), so it’s home for me. It may not have as much of a neighborhood feel as some of the other areas, but I love the energy and the mix of people who work and live here. Unfortunately, it’s become very difficult for small businesses to survive in this area, but I do think that bigger retail companies coming into Philly helps the city general. I also love that I can walk pretty much everywhere from home.
Austin: I couldn’t pinpoint a favorite. I will say that when I contemplate going out, I will often think about what kind of “neighborhood” I’m in the mood for as much as I might think about what kind of food or activity. I think more businesses need to realize this and do more to capitalize on making the most of their neighborhood as part of their business strategy.
Femme & Fortune: Besides yourselves, what other connections does Machina have to Philadelphia?
Austin: We are committed to doing as much here in Philadelphia as we can. We’ve worked with 2 Philadelphia-based designers, Bela Shehu and Dominique Pino-Santiago, to help develop our clothing, and we’ve collaborated with Philadelphia bag and accessories designer, Carrie Collins at Fabric Horse, to design and produce our fabulous gym duffle bags. Currently, our clothing is made at a factory in NYC, but we expect to begin doing clothing manufacturing right here in Philadelphia next year.
Courtney: We also sell an anti-Bruising gel, which is from one of Austin’s former clients, Dr. Sager’s, who are from Bryn Mawr.
We want to thank Austin and Courtney from Machina for their kickass interview with us and being our latest sponsor! We hope that you’ve all been inspired to start boxing, and definitely keep Machina in mind for fabulous and functional apparel while doing so! With hopes of promoting an annual all-women’s boxing event right here in Philadelphia in 2015, Machina is a company to keep your eye on. For more information about Machina and their products, visit them at http://machinaboxing.com, and stay tuned during the new year for some news from Femme & Fortune and Machina!