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The Jump Attire Story: Functional towels to use with any type of fitness regimen

Paula Mellon is the Founder and Lead Designer for Jump Attire based out of Pasadena, California. Today, I talk to her about the story behind Jump Attire, it’s products, and why she started designing functional towels for fitness enthusiasts.

Interviewer: You’ve literally changed towels as we know it, and made them so much more functional. Tell us what inspired you and the magical journey of Jump Attire.

Paula: That’s right! Who knew that a towel is the most massively useful thing!

The idea was born when I started going back to the gym in the latter part of 2017.

I had been working on a very demanding project that required me to put in as much as sixteen hours a day, and had recently lost my mother who passed away from a brain tumor. I went from weighing 118 lbs. to 108 lbs. and almost reached burnout. Signing up for training sessions at the gym gave me a way to bring balance back into my life. 

When I was training at the gym, I noticed a lot of gym goers leaving their personal belongings around the gym. I found car keys, cell phones and ear buds/ear phones in cup holders on treadmills and lying under machines. When I asked around, the majority of the gym goers were there to focus on a quick workout without the hassle of stowing away their essentials in the locker room. 

I too was feeling the additional time spent on locking away my essentials in a bulky gym bag, tying the pad lock key around my neck or on my shoelace, and coming back after my workout to unlock and collect my gym bag again. Even on hikes and visits to parks around my neighborhood, it became evident that a lot of people needed something practical to store their essentials, like their cell phone, car keys and wallet while out and about.  

So, I researched this topic all over the internet. I found fanny packs, back packs, zipper towels and read all of the consumer reviews. The reviews confirmed a need to improve on three key things:

First, something that offered the right amount of storage.

Second, something ergonomically designed - comfortable, lightweight, and easy to use.

Third, something with the right amount of organization - without essentials ending up a jumbled mess.

I: Seems like you identified a product need with all your research?

P: Indeed! I’m a problem solver by nature and it excites me to find solutions.

I: Talk us through what happened next?

P: I got into intense focus and flow mode. I sat quietly at my desk with pencil in hand and a piece of blank paper. After sketching two designs, I collaborated with my son Jonathan, who is my biggest fan and motivator. The product was named the fitness towel bag (FTB). Other features and functionality were added and incorporated into our final design. 

I grabbed fabric that was lying around and tacked together a mock prototype that was pitched to my friends for constructive feedback. A few changes were made and a final tech pack put together. The FTB is a functional hand sized terry cotton towel bag. It has a large zipper pouch for storing your essentials and is worn by use of an adjustable strap around the shoulder, hips or waist. 

Another towel product we’ve designed is the fitness cover towel (FCT). It was inspired by men who would sweat a lot at the gym and would drape a beach towel over their car seat afterwards to protect it. They found that the beach towel would slip down and defeat the whole purpose. Friends of mine who play touch rugby on the beach explained that they too tried draping beach towels over their seats but it only protected the bottom of the seat and not the upright part. The FCT is a wearable beach sized velour cotton towel with a hood that securely fits the headrest of your car seat. The towel is used to protect the entire surface of your car seat while keeping you dry and comfortable. 

I: What about the naming of your business? Who named the business? And who designed the logo? 

P: That’s my favorite part of the story. I wanted a name that provoked energy and movement.  While doodling names, a friend sent me a text message of the acronym JMP – an abbreviation of my son’s name and my name joined by our last name. As I doodled it, the abbreviation looked like the word JUMP – representing an upward and energetic movement. I conducted a thorough internet search for Jump but Microsoft owned the name and the domain.  I then came up with Jump Attire, registered the domain and business name, and sent a photo of my ropey doodle of JMP to a graphics friend who converted it into a logo for me.  

I: What has been your biggest challenge to date? 

P: The longest part of the journey and the most challenging was sourcing a manufacturer and getting final approved samples. 

I: How long did it take you from concept to production? 

P: It took eighteen months to source a good reliable manufacturer. It was fundamentally important to match a quality manufacturer with my reputation and brand.