At first blush, it sounds kind of weird.
Jenna Transtrum says sometimes she’ll just find herself staring at people. Or more precisely, staring at their clothes.
“We were at a Costco one time and I saw this girl in our shorts and I’m just staring at her,” she said.
Then there was that time at the gym. But this time it was the pants.
“I actually approached her and asked her about her leggings,” she said. “She said, ‘Oh they are so great.’ ”
Retail reconnaissance or just giddy excitement? Both descriptions are probably apt.
Transtrum, 29, and her sister, Maddie Carr, 28, both graduates of Maria Carrillo High, are owner/operators of Senita Athletics, a burgeoning women’s athletic wear company based in Scotsdale, Arizona. They call the moments when they, or their friends, spot gear with the little cactus flower logo on them, “Senita sightings.”
“It’s been really fun,” Transtrum said. “It’s a little bit of a ‘pinch me’ moment.”
It’s fun, it’s clothes, it’s design, but it starts with sweat. Transtrum and Carr are athletes. As students at Maria Carrillo, when they were both Lowders, the sisters played soccer and ran track. Jenna Lowder Transtrum’s name is all over the Redwood Empire record books in sprints. She still owns the sixth-fastest 100 meter dash time, holds the third-fastest 200 meter time and the fourth-best 400 meter time.
She finished 13th at the CIF track and field meet in the 400 meters in 2006 and was on the 1,600-meter relay team that finished 10th.
And Maddie Lowder Carr was an all-arounder on the Pumas’ soccer team, a kid that would play wherever she was asked — and excel.
Both ran track at BYU. But neither graduated with degrees in business or retail or design. So a clothing line?
It came about like this: It was 2015 and Transtrum was living and working in Scottsdale. She was married and had two kids. She was busy and she was tired.
But as she and Carr, who had also just had a child and was also living in Scottsdale, started to get back into post-baby shape, they were struck by what Transtrum described as the polarity of the women’s athletic wear market. You could either shell out $100-plus on quality leggings or spend $20 and watch the stuff fall apart at the seams.
“Maddie and I ran track in high school and college. We know what quality is like, we know what the standard is,” Transtrum said. “We felt like the really high-quality stuff, like Lululemon, was over $100. We felt that we couldn’t afford to pay that or wanted to pay that for something we were going to sweat in.”
So Transtrum started tinkering.
“I had an itch to start a business,” she said. “I just wanted to do something instead of changing diapers all day.”
She started researching fabrics and designs. She didn’t know what she didn’t know.
“I was very naive, too, at the time,” she said. “I was taking things one day at a time. I didn’t even have a formal business plan. I really believed in the product. I felt like there was definitely an element of me being naive and not understanding what I was getting into, but also, if I want this product then maybe other people would too.”