Post by Melanie Mitchell
The Sports Goods Business (SGB) hosts an annual award to honor 40 people under the age of 40 in the industry who have demonstrated leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship and energy as being future leaders in the industry. This year, and by the skin of my 40 year old teeth, they included me, Poppy Sports founder and mail girl, in that list.
I was excited on a couple of levels. Firstly, all the hard, hard work I have dedicated to Poppy Sports over the last year has been more than I imagined and also more rewarding than I could ever have thought. Secondly, I have never won anything since the I was a Brownie and I won a crocheted blanket in a raffle.
When I started Poppy Sports, I had the vision of a woman-owned company outfitting women with technical yet sassy athletic gear, and empowering young girls to have confidence through sport whilst helping them towards a lifelong love of being active. Sport has helped me through many a stressful time; there is not much that cannot be worked through by clearing your mind on a run or on your bike. The goal of Poppy Sports is to pass on that restorative quality to other young women and help them to navigate what is becoming an increasingly complex world. And of course, giving them the chance to dress in some sassy, feminine sports apparel while they are there.
The award from the SGB helps me to realize that the hard work is all worth while and there are industry peers and colleagues who recognize the value (albeit in kind right now!) that Poppy Sports has to offer the sports business. This past year, we have dedicated ourselves to launch the company, marketing that vision against some pretty serious competition. We have launched Poppy Sports cycling team and see our first official ride coming at the Deer Creek Challenge, and will be talking about some key youth initiatives coming next summer.
Back to the award though. To celebrate, we were invited by the kind folks at SGB to spend a weekend in Chicago with our peers and a good time was had. We met everyone at a rooftop reception in the windy city and what a great start to the weekend. Chicago treated us well and after breakfast, accompanied by Poppy Sports marketing guru Bonnie Glover, we headed for a 5 miler along the lakeside.
We watched wetsuited swimmers training in a 60 degree Lake Michigan and regretted not thinking about bringing wetsuits and leaping in to join them. At that point we decided we have to return to do the Chicago tri one summer. After the altitude of Denver, the oxygen-laden air was brilliant and we have aspirations of some great PRs at lake level.
The evening was spent on a cruise around the lakefront, dinner and an awards ceremony. Hearing about the other nominees was inspirational and I was touched to see Poppy Sports lining up amongst larger industry players.
So thanks SGB for choosing Poppy Sports from amongst your 450 nominations for this award. It was an honor and thank you for your nod of recognition.
Well done Melanie – I am so proud of you and all the hard work you have put into Poppy Sports. You have had some very difficult personal times in your life but you have not been sidetracked in your enthusiasm in making poppy sports a successful and worthwhile organisation in helping young people to take part in sport.