Black Business Spotlight with Natural Fit Designs
Natural Fit Designs – “To empower, inspire and motivate black women to move, to exercise and to work out. We do that through inspirational fitness gear that speaks to our culture, love for our natural hair and the ups and downs of our fitness journey”.
Fellas don’t worry Tara Taylor also makes some pretty cool apparel for us men (lol). Natural Fit Designs is a black owned business created by Tara Taylor which specializes in workout and run gear catered to our culture. Each item comes with a special message which I am sure most black and brown folks can relate to. Let’s talk with Tara and discuss her run journey, her fitness journey and her business Natural Fit Designs.
MSM: We’d like to welcome you to Mid Strike and thank you for allowing us to share your journey with us. Natural Fit Designs has a huge selection of apparel for both Women and Men. When did you launch NFD?
Tara: Natural & Fit Designs was launched in 2016.
MSM: Your apparel shows many messages that we can relate to, things that we tend to experience daily in our culture. Was this something that you’ve experienced in your past which helped you create this brand?
Tara: I started the brand because I wanted to share powerful & motivational messages that would help to inspire Black women to move, to workout. When I started the business it was mostly fitness and natural hair related slogans. As a fitness instructor and runner I added slogans that made me feel strong, worthy and cute!
As the world turned dark with political drama and social injustices showed up on the front page every day I had to find a way to share my frustration and bring about awareness to what was going on. The #HeHasToGo Collection was my way of voicing my opinion and allowing others to voice their opinion on the past administration. The Unite We Stand, United We Vote and the Lift Every Voice & Vote shirts helped to start conversations about the importance of voting.
MSM: I feel that some businesses are started on a whim usually unexpectedly where we come across an idea and it begins to flourish. Take us through the moment where you decided to launch Natural Fit designs. What was your moment?
Tara: Fitness has been my passion and career for over 20 years so Natural & Fit Designs is an expansion on what I was already doing. The idea was planted while I attended a Tom Joyner Family reunion. There were so many vendors with Black Girl Magic type shirts but no one with fitness gear. I told myself that I would come back next year with t-shirts that were cute yet functional enough to workout in. That was the light bulb moment. The decision was made while I was looking for running tanks and only found the basic Nike tanks and generic looking slogans mass produced in China. I saw a shirt that had a girl running on it. The girl was the typical runner you see all the time on magazine covers, thin and ponytail flying in the wind. That pissed me off, all runners are not made like that and some of us have afro puffs and not ponytails. But it also moved me into action so I could create what I knew was needed.
MSM: What are your feelings on the current state of affairs in this country? I feel we need our messages shown and voiced as much as possible more so than ever before even when it comes down to supporting our businesses and the messages that are conveyed through them. This seems to be a focus of NFD as there’s so much that can be said about how we feel with the apparel that we wear.
Tara: If I had answered this question a month ago, I would say we are doomed but with the new administration I feel hopeful. There is so much work to be done on all levels and on many fronts but I have hope. The messages on my shirts reflect current affairs. After the Ahmaud Arbery shooting I created the Don’t Shoot I’m just Running shirt. The shirts are meant to start conversations and awaken people to the reality of our world. There are a couple shirts that you have to be strong just to walk out of your house to wear them.
MSM: Black women in this country are at times the least respected people that have to fight so hard just to be heard to be respected, recognized and most importantly listened to. I love how you’re working to empower black women because what most fail to realize is that black women essentially are what push this country in the right direction when it needs a push. I think this has been proven in elections on more than one occasion. What are some of your thoughts on these issues and what are some other things you have been doing to change the narrative?
Tara: I not only use my shirts to inspire and motivate black women, but I also use my platforms to remind black women of their worth and power. I was very vocal on social media platforms and in my email newsletters about the importance of voting. Sharing information about voting locations, early voting myths and even information on candidates. After the vice presidential debates I created the Kamala Collection including the I’m Still Speaking & I Will Not Be Lectured shirts. This collection of shirts is a reminder that our opinions are important, they should be respected and that people should listen when we talk. So many times people try to talk over us as Pence did that fateful night.
MSM: What has Tara Taylor’s fitness journey been like prior to Natural Fit Designs?
Receive a special discount from Natural Fit Designs
Click the link above and enter MIDSTRIKE at check out to receive a 15% discount from 2/2 through 2/9.
Tara: My fitness journey started about 25 years ago. My mother was diagnosed with diabetes. I started walking with her and helping her make better food choices.She is my reason why. I started walking daily as a stress reliever and to lose a couple pounds. Eventually I joined a gym, fell in love with weight lifting. A couple years later I became a certified instructor, trainer and running coach.
MSM: From what we’ve seen you’re definitely a runner, what are some of your favorite races and what are some that you’ve been looking forward to when Covid decides to finally go away?
Tara: I’m definitely a runner as running keeps me sane! Before Covid I was on a journey to a half marathon in all 50 states and I can’t wait to start back. I love running and racing in other states, exploring new trails, bike paths and cities, this is what I miss. I’ve completed 4 marathons and my favorite is Chicago which I’ve run twice. I have 3 favorite half marathons, The Fall Classic in Cleveland Ohio which runs through a national park in October when the leaves are absolutely beautiful. The Miami half marathon is another favorite along with the Ventura half marathon where the route runs along the coast of California with miles and miles of ocean views.
MSM: I have to ask this (lol) Can’t forget about my fellas; I do see that you have apparel for the guys. What can us fellas look out for and what have been some of your favorite items that has stood out?
Tara: We do have a line of shirts for men and I don’t do a good job of promoting those. The best selling men’s shirts are:
- Unstoppable Unshakeable Unbreakable Muscle Tank
- Don’t Shoot I’m Just Running
- I Am Black History
My goal is to make improvements in my current offerings and then expand the men’s line. I normally include new shirts for men during Black History Month in February and in June for National Running Day and Juneteenth.
MSM: Are there any chances we could see NFD and a race organizer team up to develop a tee or race singlet for a race catered for us by us?
Tara: I would LOVE to team up with a race organizer to develop a race tee. I did create a version of one of my best sellers for “The Race, the pivot edition” in October and the participants loved that shirt. The shirt matched the colors and branding for that event. I’m open to collaborate with organizations that serve the black community of runners and fitness enthusiasts. I can be reached at Tara@naturalfitdesigns.com for collaborations.
MSM: You create gear for every type of weather and season. What have been some of your favorite drops since the inception of NFD.
Tara: Yes, we have items for all seasons. Our tanks, tees and hoodies (performance) are inspirational, cute but also functional. The fabrics are made to remove moisture from your body and dry fast keeping you cool or warm depending on the season.
The best sellers and my favorites are:
- Chocolate, Fit & Killin’ It!
- Strong Thick Fit
- Black Built Bougie
- BLK GRL Power
MSM: What does the future hold for Tara Taylor and Natural Fit Designs? For our readers how can we stay updated and on the lookout for all of our upcoming drops.
Tara: As a black owned fitness brand I want Natural & Fit Designs to become known for more than t-shirts. My goal is to continue to improve the products and services I provide and to integrate my products with my coaching services.
You can keep up with us by following us on social media:
Visit our website at www.naturalfitdesigns.com (you can sign up for our newsletter on the website – fitness info, new releases, and sales)
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Naturalfitdesigns
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/naturalfitdesigns/
Tik Tok @naturalfitdesigns