Exclusive with Amanda Kerr, Founder of Bubbles & Barbells
Amanda Kerr is the founder of the fitness clothing line Bubbles & Barbells, which launched during the height of the pandemic in 2020. With a focus on combining functional gym wear with flattering silhouettes, she has created pieces that work for any type of activity. Whether that’s the gym, a night on the town, or climbing a mountain, B&B has you covered.
For more information, please visit their website here.
Here we sit down with Amanda, to know a bit more about her journey as an entrepreneur.
Q. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Amanda: For as long as I can remember, I’ve never found my 9–5 jobs fulfilling. Whether it was being a receptionist or a nanny, I knew that I didn’t have a career, but rather a job. It was something that I needed, but it didn’t give me a sense of pride. The people were great, but I saw the drain working in a place you didn’t love on the people around me. Whether it was family or friends, people worked a job they didn’t love, simply because it paid the bills; and I knew that that wasn’t a life I wanted for myself, but at the time I didn’t know how to break the cycle.
My husband and I were fortunate enough to travel for 4 months before the pandemic hit, and I felt empowered on my travels. We were in control of everything we did, and I loved the sense of freedom. It was challenging at times, but we were the captains of our own ship. When we got back to Canada, I knew that I wanted to do something that gave me the same feeling; and that is when I decided to launch Bubbles & Barbells.
Q. How did you get started?
Amanda: Bubbles & Barbells began originally as a blog when I traveled to southeast Asia. The blog was focused on balancing travel and fitness; where I tried to show people that you could enjoy your vacation without destroying your diet, by giving them hacks and tips to follow.
When we got back to Canada, and we couldn’t travel; I knew I wanted to do something in the fitness space, and clothing made the most sense to me. Often I would find myself in countless stores trying to find tights or workout gear that fit my bodybuilder body type, and it was a challenge! They had gear for yoga, running, and lounging, but nothing really fit me right, so I knew it was time to make a change, and create something that catered to women who hit the weights like me.
Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?
Amanda: When you start a company, it’s easy to think of all of the logistical or technical problems; but the biggest challenge I felt was self-doubt.
You see all of these successful brands on social media, and it’s hard not to get sucked into thinking that the second you go live, you will be a huge hit! When that doesn’t happen, it’s hard not to second guess yourself and thinks that you’ve done something wrong. Whether it’s people who said they would support you, sharing a competitor’s brand instead of yours online, to people abandoning their carts; it’s hard not to think that YOU did something wrong and that you failed.
The reality is nothing could be further from the truth, and it took me a while to realize this. Building a business from the ground up is a marathon, not a sprint. You will have days where you have great sales, and days when you don’t, but you need to learn to ride the wave of being an entrepreneur and stay focused on your goal and keep grinding.
Q. What is the Most Memorable Thing You’ve Done Since you Started your Business?
Amanda: For me, there are two things that stick out in my memory.
The first one is actually launching a business! My husband and I run everything by ourselves out of our house, and neither of us knew how to run a business when we started this; we just had a dream. We had to learn e-commerce, code, product photography, website design, and that is just the tip of the iceberg!
It was like we were our own teacher and student at the same time, and no matter the success we have as a business; I will forever be proud that we turned a dream into a reality.
The second is connecting with like-minded female-run businesses, who have the same passion that I do for my company. From running contests with Elle Fitness out of Toronto to sponsoring the Women’s Community of Bodybuilding fitness show in Ottawa, I love being able to connect with people who have an insatiable passion for what they do.
Q. What is one book you recommend, and why?
Amanda: I think that everyone who is starting a business should read that book, The Subtle Art of not giving a f*ck. While the title may raise some eyebrows, I think it’s extremely important to stop caring about what other people think and focus on what you want to do. So many people are afraid to try something new or take a chance because they are worried about what other people will think of them if they will fail, and what people might say if they don’t succeed. All I can say is, who cares! We have such a finite time on this earth, I implore everyone to truly understand that other people’s opinions shouldn’t dictate your choices in life. Do what makes YOU happy, not what you think other people want you to do.
Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?
Amanda: I hope my legacy is one that shows people that they can truly live life instead of simply exist and that no matter where they come from they can always try to achieve their dreams instead of helping someone work towards theirs.
Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey
Amanda: Don’t wait, just start. You don’t need to be rich, come from a rich family, have experience, or have it all planned out. Just start and the rest will fall into place. You may need to sacrifice some things, but if you really want it, it won’t feel like a sacrifice.
To keep up to date with Amanda and her journey, connect with her on Instagram.