Megan Eddings (right), founder of Accel Lifestyle; (photo credit: @accellifestyle on Instagram)

How this woman entrepreneur leveraged her chemistry background to launch a fitness apparel brand that makes you feel amazing inside and out

Megan Eddings, founder of Accel Lifestyle

I was born and raised in Rhode Island and I’ve always had an insatiable desire for adventure, knowledge and experiences. One of my nicknames as a child was “Smiley” because I also love to have fun, love getting people “pumped up” and truly try to enjoy everything life has to offer.4/18

I majored in Chemistry, specializing in Biochemistry, at the University of Virginia and worked in labs both at the University of Virginia and Brown University. I’ve always loved science and the fact that so much is happening around us that we cannot see with the naked eye.

I’ve never been the woman with a detailed 5-year plan because I am always evolving and growing, so shouldn’t my goals and aspirations too? The mindset of “Think Big…Now Think Bigger” is one of the greatest take-aways I’ve learned from Alice.

How did you decide to start your own company? What was the thought process, and what were you doing before?

I love getting this question because I feel like “starting my own company” found me. It is important for everyone, whether they are thinking of starting their own company (or not) to be truly open to what is going on around them. Sometimes a new, more exciting/fulfilling life is staring us right in the face.

I moved to Houston, TX in 2004 when I started working for Siemens Medical. I was a Medical Sales Account Executive for some of the biggest hospitals and I was internationally recognized. I loved my job, but I always knew that something was missing. I wasn’t completely fulfilled. It wasn’t until 2012, when I had a jolt of reality, that I truly questioned what I was dedicating so many hours of my day doing. My Father suddenly passed away at 58 years young while doing yard work with my brother. I was absolutely devastated and found myself standing on the altar giving his eulogy only a few days later. Dad was my financial advisor, dating coach, sounding board, etc., but most of all, he was one of my best friends.

A couple of weeks after my Dad’s funeral, this feeling came over me that really made me think about is eulogy. Dad worked for the same company for over 30 years and I never once brought it up. I focused on how he made people feel and what he did for them. Upon my realization, I knew that my career and my passions in life were not in line. I absolutely love fitness, fashion, science and giving back. I was working way more than 40 hours a week in a job that did not fulfill my hunger for life, push me outside my comfort zone and truly change the world.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later (when I married the love of my life, Kyle) and started doing his laundry that I knew exactly what company I would start. The idea didn’t come to me over night, but when I knew, it was like a lightbulb went off and I just went for it! Kyle used to do CrossFit super early in the morning. I would wash his workout clothes (specifically his shirts) and there was this funky smell that I could not wash out. I added extra-scented pods, washed the clothes in multiple hot cycles…and nothing worked. With my love for science and understanding of bacteria, I researched about why his clothes smelled and realized the smell was basically trapped in the clothes, “Gross!!”. I began asking friends and family about this funky smell and they all experienced the same thing! This was back in 2015 and I thought to myself, “with all of the advancements in technology, putting multiple people on the moon, and having the resources to cure diseases…we should be able to have fresh-smelling gym clothes, right?”. It sounds like a “duh” thought, but the more research I did, the more I realized there weren’t any great solutions (yet…wink wink). That is when I decided to start Accel Lifestyle. Using my science background, it has taken me about 2 years to design the fabric (sweat as much as you want and it will not smell) and I am currently working on filing for a patent (January 2018). Accel Lifestyle is way more than just the fabric, it is socially conscious and fashionable fitness apparel that keeps people feeling fresh and fabulous even after a workout. From fiber to finished garment, Accel Lifestyle is transparent and I have personally visited every mill and cut and sew factory. When you wear Accel Lifestyle, you know that everyone who made that garment was paid and treated fairly.

Launching in 2018, Accel Lifestyle has a lofty, but sustainable goal: to create fashionable fitness apparel that keeps you smelling fresh- all while being socially conscious.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started your entrepreneurial journey?

  1. I am blown away about how many resources there are for entrepreneurs and how many people want to help.
  2. Everything takes way longer than I expected…like way longer. I am sure someone told me this in the beginning, but I probably thought it wouldn’t apply to me…haha!
  3. Fear is only in your mind. Not letting fears limit you is one of the greatest challenges, but leads to the greatest rewards.
Photo credit: @accellifestyle on Instagram

What is the biggest roadblock you have experienced in building your company? How did you navigate around it?

Because I am starting a socially conscious fitness apparel line, the workers must be paid and treated fairly, no exceptions. I am only a company of 1 (for now) and the easiest way for me to check the QC of the mills and factories was to use suppliers and partners in the USA. Most of the textile and cut and sew factories are actually overseas. It has been a real challenge finding reliable partners to work with here in the USA. For the last 2 years, I’ve been working on finding local partners who not only provide excellent craftmanship, but also excellent customer service (meet the original timelines, respond to me within 24 hours, etc.). I am happy to say that I have found partners to work with, but it has definitely taken longer than I originally expected.

With that being said, I am open to having my clothing made overseas, but I would have to have an Accel Lifestyle team member living there to oversee QC.

Photo credit: @accellifestyle on Instagram

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started your entrepreneurial journey?

  1. Just go for it! Starting is always the hardest step.
  2. Persistence and resilience are keys to being successful.
  3. You may be selling a product or solution, but don’t forget that YOU are the most important aspect you are selling.
  4. Truly have an open mind to feedback, suggestions and opinions.
  5. Surround yourself with people who support you, lift you up and encourage you.
  6. “You Do You” time is extremely important. Make sure you are taking time out of your day to do something non-work related (read a book, workout, grab a drink with some friends, etc.).

Learn more about Megan and Accel Lifestyle: Accel Lifestyle // Twitter // Instagram