There isn’t a shortage of fitness retail brands on the market. But founder and CEO of Curves N Combatboots, Sarah Maine, was an active servicewoman who felt like she would never find comfortable and durable athletic gear that could withstand her fitness regimen
Maine says, “There were several brands out there, but they were either low quality, or I wished they had pockets, or maybe they had it all but were extremely overpriced.”
Rather than settle for the options available to her, Sarah set out to fill the gap in the industry and utilise the opportunity to establish an empowering community of women.
She created Curves in Combatboots with the mission to “focus on high quality activewear that could hold up to intense workouts and that would bring together” women who share her experiences.
Being a retired woman in uniform, she sought to create a company that provided more than just fashioned fabric.
She aimed to offer women, and service women in particular, a network of family and friends through a brand that caters to their needs – a concept that’s never been done before.
Sarah’s passion and genuine desire to uplift women around the world directly seeps into her business and differentiates Curves N Combatboots from other brands.
Though active service and entrepreneurship seem incongruous, Sarah was dedicated and Curves N Combatboots quickly took off.
“I was serving active duty and so was [my husband] Elijah. I would process orders, do customer service, and interact with customers on social media in the evenings and on weekends,” she told GLAMOUR South Africa.
Elijah managed the business operations while deployed abroad, truly creating a thriving global company that put fitness, community, and empowerment at the forefront.
The pair’s commitment to Curves N Combatboots is evidenced by their various product lines.
Sarah crafts apparel designed with function specific technology and product are available in over five different signature fabrics.
Curves N Combatboots has become a favourite amongst first responders, emergency medical service professionals, competitive athletes, and more.
Physical and mental health go hand in hand. As much as people want to believe that being physically in shape is enough, Sarah has learned first-hand that it’s not.
“When we first started our business, I really felt that I had to always be the epitome of health and fitness, or I would look like a phony having a ‘fitness brand,’ says Maine.
She works to maintain a healthy balance between her personal and professional life for the sake of her happiness.
She notes, “If I'm not happy or in a good place mentally, I certainly cannot give my all to my team and community who all rely on me every single day.”
Self-care philosophies are heavily incorporated into the company’s mission.
Speaking to us exclusively, Sarah opened up about creating a fitness company that fosters community, inspires first responders all over the world, motivates athletes, and changes the conversation - something that continues to happen in 2021 as the way we approach health and wellness is constantly evolving in the wake of COVID-19.
GLAMOUR : How do you aspire to empower and uplift women around the world?
Sarah Maine (SM): By nurturing and growing our community of like-minded women who band together and support one another, in all aspects of life.
GlAMOUR: What motivated you to start the brand, and what has the transition been like from a veteran to fashion entrepreneur?
SM: We saw a gap in the industry and we wanted to fill it. We wanted to provide women with fashionable high quality activewear, at an affordable price.
We also wanted to create a brand that was all inclusive but focused strongly on bringing together women in uniform.
The reason for this was simply that no one else has ever done it. Female service-members never really had a brand or community that they felt was created specifically for them, to hold up to their intense lifestyles, and to help unite them and bring them together.
We love knowing that all over the world there are women united by Curves N Combatboots, that feel like they have a friend/family in a place that may be new and unfamiliar for them.
Now we have a much broader customer base but service women will always be a strong part of our community and have a very special place in our hearts.
My transition from Veteran to Fashion Entrepreneur was scary, but amazing.
We started Curves N Combatboots while I was serving active duty and so was Elijah. I would process orders, do customer service, and interact with customers on social media in the evenings and on weekends, and bring the outgoing packages to the post office on my lunch break.
Elijah would do the marketing, scaling, inventory management, taxes, accounting, and pretty much all of the business stuff while deployed.
By the time my military contract was over the business was up and running just enough for me to dive in full time and really give it my all.
It was definitely rough and scary at first giving up the stability of a full time job, but I was going for my dreams and it was the best decision I have ever made.
We started all alone in our daughters bedroom of our tiny old house with just three pairs of leggings (100qty each) that we spent all our savings on, and now fill up our 1114.9 metres warehouse with 1,000+ different sku's, and have 15 full-time employees and several part-time and seasonal employees.
GLAMOUR: When serving, what did your fitness and nutrition regimen look like? We're thinking super intense?
My specific job in the Air Force was not super physically demanding so my training style hasn't changed drastically.
While serving I did focus more on running, push-ups, and sit-ups because it was a personal goal to get the highest possible score on our yearly physical fitness tests, but other than that I have always done a combination of lifting weights and cardio, so I basically stuck with what I have done and still continue to do.
GLAMOUR: How has it evolved over time as your life path has changed?
I would say that my training style has slightly changed over the years just from training plans that really focus on how your body looks, to focusing more on functional style workouts and actually being healthy from the inside out.
For me that's meant more interval style training and eating more whole foods to properly fuel my body.
GLAMOUR: In your line of work, how important is it to balance mental and physical health?
SM: It's extremely important, the two truly go hand in hand and without one you can't achieve your best in the other.
When we first started our business I really felt that I had to be the epitome of health & fitness at all times or I would look like a phony having a "fitness brand".
But as the years have gone on I have truly found that balance of staying healthy and fit but also knowing when my body needs a break.
I focus even more on mental health now because if I'm not happy and in a good place mentally, then I don't even feel like getting to the gym for a workout and I certainly cannot give my all to my team and community who all rely on me every single day.
GLAMOUR: What do you do to prioritize your mental wellness, when you're so busy and also served in such a taxing career?
SM: I feel very blessed to be able to run this business with my husband, who I cannot say enough good things about. He really does a great job of keeping me grounded.
He can always tell when I'm getting too stressed & he'll help to take something off my plate, send me for a girls day, or take me on an amazing date to help my mind relax.
I make sure to surround myself with great friends who are also busy and understanding of my hectic lifestyle, and I also have dogs that I absolutely adore and help me to put my mind in a simple place when I'm playing, walking, or relaxing with them.
GLAMOUR: What is your ultimate advice for home fitness in 2021?
Find a routine that you like and stick with it! It doesn't matter what it is, from an influencer you follow on Instagram who posts daily booty workouts, a peloton bike, yoga on YouTube, a morning run everyday...
Choose something you love and set aside time everyday that you force yourself to do it. If you say you'll just squeeze it in when you have time, it will never happen.
I feel like women are the worst at this because we always see things around the house that can get done, or our kids need us for something, but you only get one body so you need to make your health a priority!
GLAMOUR: What do you foresee as being the top fitness trends in 2021?
SM: Virtual fitness is definitely at an all time high and still on the rise. Things like the peloton bike where you can ride at home but with an actual instructor on your screen, or the new interactive fitness mirror that actually talks to you and instructs you.
Fitness apps are also very popular and I don't see that slowing down anytime soon. As far as activewear goes, it seems that people are really wanting to step out of their comfort zones and have a little more fun with their wardrobes.
We can't seem to keep our bright crazy patterns stocked this year!
GLAMOUR: What beauty and wellness products do you swear by?
SM: I'm sure that my answer would have been different just a couple years ago. But now that I'm into my 30's and can see my skin changing, I can't preach enough about sunscreen and sunless tanner.
There are so many companies that make makeup with spf, that makes it so easy! Please protect your skin ladies & gentleman, not only from wrinkles and sun spots but from skin cancer as well!