Bringing Business Home
Uintah Collection started in a showroom at New York City’s Garment Center. The business moved to California after a factory closure and, finally, made its way home to Salt Lake City at 209 East Broadway. “We like swim fabric because you can saturate it. Water or sweat, it works really well,” said mother of two, co-owner and Bikram Yogi, Heather Carlos.
Both owners, Heather Carlos and Janie Franks, are athletes born and raised in Utah. “We called it Uintah because Uintah is the primary source of water for most of Utah.”
As we toured the shop, she explained all Collection materials are domestic, but manufacturing is done in downtown Los Angeles. It was important to the duo that the clothing be made in the USA.
Athletic Gear and Sublime Coordination
“We’re always working on new print designs,” Heather said. “The woman who helps with prints is from Utah. She’s incredibly talented, and we’re really honored to add another Utah component to our process.” Jessica Csanky is a painter, textile artist, and print designer who “designs everything down to the print design.”
Uintah Collection’s distinctive style is a “head-to-toe look,” Heather said. “We don’t just do printed leggings. My business partner, Janie (a triathlete), saturates this by ocean swimming, and running marathons. This is an athlete’s gear collection.”
Using the Pantone Matching System, Heather explains, Uintah Collection makes it easy to buy a top without ever worrying about finding leggings to match. “Whatever you pick in the collection will coordinate.”
What’s the Relationship Between Fashion and Fitness?
“That’s always been a 50/50 for me,” she said. Getting track shoes at school was Heather’s way of merging passion for design and athletics, “the more colorful, the better.”
Wanting to be fashionable, but not too utilitarian, they felt “there was a disconnect in the fashion element. It’s always been function first, then fashion,” Heather said. “We don’t take one more seriously than the other, which might seem vain, but for us, it’s an expression of who we are. Uintah Collection allows you to be an active-lifestyle person.”
“I don’t think it means you’ve given up on life because you wear leggings,” she said. “We can fight the negative connotation of being a mom showing up in a ponytail and leggings by feeling good in your own skin.”
“Uintah collection inspires me to push the envelope. It fuels me. Whether we like to admit it or not, gender roles are things we work around,” Heather said. “But you can be a mom with goals and dreams of being a business owner. That’s been a push-pull for women in our community for years.”
She added, “We’re embraced by Yoga, but we’re not a yoga or running brand. We’re an active brand that recognizes women want value for their clothing.”
How Do You Turn Passion Into A Career?
Speaking as a business owner, when it feels like you want to “kick the can down the street,” Heather said, “don’t think you’re a failure when all you want is a paycheck. I constantly make a choice to show up, and I love doing it.”