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In 2007, Katie Warner Johnson was a ballerina–turned Wall Street analyst–turned fitness instructor. It was in her fitness classes that she discovered a very specific type of woman: a hard-working, high-powered woman who takes her appearance seriously, but doesn’t have the time to really concern herself with it — and she fell in love with her. So Warner Johnson and a few of her friends came together and decided to find a way to connect with this woman. From selling bundled classes to creating a Pinterest account dedicated to fitness to launching a competitor for the app Mindbody, they tried a lot of things that didn’t work. Finally they ended up with the first iteration of Carbon38: a content-driven site where they would interview a celebrity or influencer about their wellness routine and what was in their gym bag, and then make those products available to sale. Eventually, Warner Johnson started to notice a pattern in the activewear being sold on the site. The industry was dominated by men, but the women’s sector was taking off, and the available products were a result of a “shrink it and pink it” mentality. So she looked back to her original inspiration — this customer base she had become fascinated with — and set out to build out a marketplace serving these women in a way no one had before. In 2013, Carbon38, in its current form, officially launched. As Carbon38 continues to scale and grow, and the athleisure boom continues, Warner Johnson sees plenty of opportunities to continue serving the core clientele her business was built for, especially now that she has become one of them. On this week’s episode of The Glossy Podcast, Hilary Milnes sits down with Katie Warner Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Carbon38, to talk about dressing modern women, the company’s recent investment from Foot Locker, and the problem with the word “athleisure.” 

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