Spend a few minutes talking to Whitney, half of the amazing duo behind Just Be Authentic Apparel and you will be smiling, laughing, and desperate to buy one the uplifting and empowering shirts, bags, or hats found on the website. She, along with her business partner, Jen - the creative mind behind their website and apparel designs - just launched their new company in mid-March and it's already skyrocketing. Their focus is simple but powerful: empower, uplift, and inspire the next generation of girls and women to be who they are.
Just Be Authentic Apparel
A labor of love, Just Be Authentic Apparel, easily recognizable by the “Just Be” logo and uplifting message is popping up in boutiques across South Tampa, Largo, St. Pete, and other locations across Tampa Bay. If that’s not enough, their products are also in Colorado, and soon to be in Ohio, Mississippi, and other areas around the country.
Tired of not finding clothing for their daughters that offered more about who they were as individuals than “cute” or “awesome,” the two moms decided to do something about it. Just Be Authentic was born. What started out as shirts for little girls with phrases like “Just Be Creative” and “Just Be Fearless” soon morphed into a line of shirts for women, hats, and tote bags.
For Whitney and Jen the details matter. The shirts they sell were hand selected by them. Each online order is wrapped, packaged, and mailed by them. Whitney sits down with the owners of the local boutiques before their products go in. Jen takes care of the graphics, website design, and hand draws graphics on every item. Check out the Just Be Adventurous tote bag!
When you place an order online, you’ll receive your package and a thank you note, signed by both women, letting you know that because you supported their business, they’ll be able to do more. Be sure to check the back collar, instead of a generic tag you will find another inspirational message. The embroidery is done in a local Tampa Bay shop. Again, it's the details that make Just Be Authentic Apparel extraordinary!
The Mom Test
Because their original idea was to make shirts they couldn’t find elsewhere, they knew any clothing they offered had to pass “The Mom Test” first. They combed through samples looking for soft, durable fabrics , making sure they personally approved each and every one.
The next phase was to cover the shirts in dirt, food, markers and more... These shirts were then thrown into the washer with towels and jeans and dried on the hottest setting. You know, the real way busy mom's do laundry. The winner maintained its color, size, and shape. JUST BE apparel can survive whatever your kids throw at them.
Jen and Whitney want to do much more than inspire, uplift, and empower girls and women with clothing and accessories. Part of Just Be Authentic Apparel’s mission is to help girls and women in the local community. A portion of their earnings goes back to organizations working with girls to empower and educate them.
Recently, the company sponsored Girls on the Run, a 10 week program for girls in third through fifth grade that teaches them about health, wellness, eating well, how to handle bullying, and more. The end of the event finishes with a race where each girl receives a medal and celebrates all they’ve achieved throughout the program. They have plans to partner with other area Girls on the Run programs as well as other organizations across Tampa Bay.
The future is bright for Just Be Authentic Apparel. Boutiques are excited to carry their product, and new products are being developed all the time. While there are no plans just yet for their own store, Whitney and Jen won’t rule out anything.
“We’re on an exciting ride, doing something that we love that is meaningful to us and our daughters with the full support of our families. The growth we’ve seen so far is amazing, and we make sure that everything we do aligns with our mission and purpose,” says Whitney.
Keep up the good work, ladies. You’re doing good work and making Tampa Bay proud.
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