It is a brand that was created as “an act of rebellion”, as stated on the website. SheShreds is not your average sportswear range, it is a market disrupter that is aimed at elevating the options for sporting apparel, while also supporting the female athletic community, most notably in sports such as wakeboarding, skateboarding and snowboarding. Basically, if it involves a board of some kind, SheShreds is all over it.
The brand was created by Chicago native Gina Duffy, an avid boarder herself, in 2013, and today the company also has an ambassador program of over 300 women, some of whom are professional athletes, who range in age form 4 to 40. How many major brands can you name which do this for female athletes?
Gina and her husband moved from Chicago to Utah and have based themselves our of Ogden, a town where a lot of people come to snowboard. With her career experience in marketing, advertising and brand development working for her husband’s company, Gina was able to take those skills to the next level with her business idea which she says has a very unique mission that makes it stand out from other sportswear brands. It’s not just about promoting the best of the best, but also encouraging women and girls to get into sports at the ground level, while they are starting out.
“A lot of brands focus on the serious athletes doing huge tricks. That’s awesome and inspiring, but I don’t know that it’ll get more girls involved in these sports. I think it’s almost more intimidating. You can really suck at snowboarding and have a great time, going out there with your friends. That’s what we’re trying to show people, you can have a passion for these things and a sense of adventure. You don’t have to be the best. Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new. Just because you’re a certain age doesn’t mean you can’t get in the terrain park if you want,” she told the Standard Examiner in an interview.
SheShreds is staying true to its mantra that it is a brand representing rebellion, rather than just fashion or functionality.
“There was a time when society dictated the way girls walk, talk, dress, eat, and live. Those views have changed. Women have changed the face of every discipline from science to sports. And at SheShreds.co, we’re stoked to be champions of change,” says the website.
The pro athletes in the ambassador program include wakeboarder Taylor McCullough, snowboarder Veroniqi Hanssen, and flowboarder Denise Daniels. The rest of the women come from all over the United States, some of whom have been chosen though a submission process where anyone can apply to be an ambassador.
At a time when there is focus on increasing the representation of women in sports at all levels, and encouraging more girls to participate at grass roots levels due to the knowledge that sports can help with confidence-building, positive body image, and important life skills related to teamwork and leadership, it’s awesome to see SheShreds being part of the change. There are plenty of high-profile sports brands that have well and truly cornered the market in advertising, slick campaigns, celebrity ambassadors and viral videos, but how many of those create the kind of meaningful and tangible values that Gina Duffy is with SheShreds? This is what makes her brand a leader in its own right.
After raising money through an IndieGogo campaign in 2013, the brand started selling beanies, hoodies, tees, sweaters, leggings and even snowboards. In a video for her campaign, Gina says she also wanted to create a clothing range that was fun and made women excited to wear, as opposed to other sportswear brands which are often to uniform in their offerings for women.
In an interview with CityWeekly.net in 2015, Gina says she first became interest in fashion at the age of 12 when she picked up her first Vogue magazine. Soon after she was introduced to snowboarding at 14 years old and found her second love. During the 80’s she became enamored with the art/skate/fashion/culture scenes that were beginning to burgeon and merge, and this started her on the path to where she would eventually end up, as the creator of SheShreds.
Gina is also used to spending most of her life venturing into typically male-dominated sports, which made her even more determined to change the status quo.
“I started by stealing my brother’s skateboard because no girls I knew rode, there were no female boards/board companies. As I was introduced to the wake scene there were no female boards or bindings either. I was usually the only girl on the boat but always trying to rally other girls to come try it out. Midwest…not a huge scene so it was always difficult to hang with other girls around these sports. It can get a little lonely being the only girl but it made me push myself more if I had to hang with the guys,” she said.
It wasn’t until she moved to Utah that she realized what an opportunity she had to fill a major gap in the market for women’s sporting accessories and clothing.
“I wanted to fill this gap and give females a place they could go that catered only to them, a place they could shop for female gear presented to them by another female athlete—not some “dude” in a board shop. I wanted it to be an online store so I could reach as many girls as possible around the world (and also so I could get out and snowboard on a powder day!). It wasn’t enough to only be a store. I also wanted to be a brand. A brand that represented all the amazing girls out there pushing their limits, being strong and powerful. The serious athletes. And the girls just seriously STOKED to ride,” she said.
The intention to create a positive and supportive community for women and girls has proven to be working, according to the feedback Gina has been getting.
“So many moms tell me that their daughters don’t have many friends at school because they like to do the stuff boys do (snowboard, wakeboard, skateboard) and with SheShreds and our team of girls around the company they feel like they belong and they’ve found ‘their people’,” she said.
Along with promoting sisterhood, the brand also wants to be part of changing the way people view female athletes, specifically around body image representation.
“We’re trying to change the way women are portrayed in and around these sports. Curvy girls are active too…not all girls who are healthy and active are a size 4 or 6. In fact, few of them are. Most companies and brands in this industry are ignoring that fact. We embrace every girl, every size and are accommodating them by carrying larger sizes. We don’t want these girls to have to resort to buying men’s sizes to get involved as they’ve had to in the past. We want them to feel free, supported and included, she said.
Although there is no specific mention of the “F” word, SheShreds has feminism written all over it, from it’s declaration as a rebel in sportswear, to the way it promotes sisterhood and equal opportunities for all women and girls. A quick look at Gina’s manifesto on the site leaves us with no doubt.
“It doesn’t matter what you mother told you that you could or could not do… should or should not be. It doesn’t matter that your teacher… or your coach said you would never make it. And it doesn’t matter that that guy didn’t give his heart to you the way he should have. All that matters is this moment… this mountain to snowboard… this wave to surf… this rail to grind… this last mile to run… this steep to bike up… this wake to jump… this moment to shred. No one can hold you back now. Shred on, sisters. Shred on!”
Check out the full range of SheShreds gear on the website, and become part of the sisterhood. Keep up to date with the brand and their upcoming events, which includes planning for a multi-day snow clinic in 2018 at Powder Mountain set to bring together an international community of female boarding athletes.