For staying connected with her customers through better email marketing.
A Phone Call That Changed Everything
It’s been well over two decades since Kristina packed up and moved to the west coast to chase her dreams of success as a corporate attorney for tech startups. For 20 years, she juggled life as a busy professional, wife and mother. But Kristina had other interests, like fashion and design. And eventually, something else.
As a hobby cyclist, Kristina started borrowing her boyfriend’s (now husband’s) gear. And while she eventually fell in love with cycling, she didn’t love how she looked or felt.
Kristina went back to school to pursue a degree at the London College of Fashion. She also found a brand that sold women’s cycling apparel that she loved, because it made her feel stylish and confident.
She didn’t know it then, but her interests were all culminating in a major life change. In 2018, the two women who owned the brand she purchased her cycling gear from sent her an email. They were retiring but didn’t want to dissolve the business. They asked Kristina if she’d be interested in taking over.
While her initial reaction was a resounding “no,” Kristina had to admit she was intrigued. She agreed to a phone call to learn more. That turned into an hour-long discussion and then follow-up phone calls and eventually a visit to Seattle, where the brand was headquartered.
Real Style for Real Bodies
As a woman in the 50+ age demographic with an education in fashion, Kristina felt she knew what women — especially women like her — wanted. “When I was getting my fashion degree,” she says, “most everyone else in my class wanted to design for a luxury brand. But the 1 percent — I’ve never wanted to do that. I always wanted to design for everyone else.”
In 2019, she decided to go on the ultimate ride and agreed to take over as owner and CEO of Tonik Cycling. She did the rounds at trade shows and worked to make connections with thousands of existing customers. But then, COVID-19 hit, and the business model shifted to primarily online sales.
It was hard work, but Kristina was committed to making a go of it. Her passion for fashion (and cycling) had driven her to find more ways to create clothing that real women loved. “In terms of my customers,” she says, “they are women who are recreational cyclists. Probably 90 percent of them are ages 55-65. So we build all kinds of things into our garments to work well for women whose bodies have been around a little while.”
The best part? Kristina has found new meaning and fulfillment in her work as an entrepreneur.
Kristina’s focus now is on making garments that use high-quality fabrics that drape in flattering ways and make the wearers feel confident and comfortable — the way she wants to feel when she’s behind the handlebars.
Kristina’s Top Business Tips
Kristina faced a lot of uphill battles when she took on Tonik Cycling. She had to retain the brand’s existing customer base while trying to grow it in the midst of a pandemic. Securing materials and manufacturers was another challenge. But through it all, Kristina kept herself grounded in reality.
So what are Kristina’s best business tips?
Believe you can.
Kristina knows that what keeps most would-be entrepreneurs from achieving their goals is simply thinking, “I can’t.”
Stick to a schedule.
Whether you’re an early bird or night owl, find the time that works best for you to maximize your productivity, and always make sure you leave time for what matters — time with family and time to do things you love.
Don’t try to do it all.
No woman is an island, and none of us can do it alone. Find partners who can help, offer advice and act as a support system.
What’s Next for Kristina and Tonik Cycling?
Now that the world is reopening, Kristina is preparing to go back on the trade show circuit, but she still plans to nurture the progress she’s made as an online retailer. But even more than that, she wants to:
Why Kristina Chose Incfile
Transferring business ownership to someone else can be a tedious process, and Kristina knew they had to get it right. She wanted a knowledgeable company that could handle the ins and outs of business transfer so she could focus on the hard work of taking over as owner.
But more than anything, Kristina wanted to feel that she could do this and that she was in good hands while she made a major life change.
Incfile made it possible for Kristina to try. And by giving it her best effort and trusting us with the rest, she’s been able to make Tonik Cycling a success story.
Kristina’s Top 3 Business Tools
From lawyer to hobby cyclist, from consumer to CEO, Kristina is living proof that when you reach mid-life, there’s still so much more to come. For Tonik Cycling, it’s a future that’s full of opportunity and promise. And at Incfile, we’re happy to be along for the ride!