HARLINGEN, TX (ValleyCentral) – A federal officer with a passion for exercise made a business of fitness equipment and apparel she wanted to wear to the gym.
Yajaida Garcia is a Brownsville native and the creative mind behind her Y Fitnessa brand that she built in 2019 with the help of her husband.
Mando Ortiz, also a native of Brownsville, works for Chase Bank and handles all of Y Fitness’ finances.
Garcia said she was inspired to start the business at a time when the healthy culture and exercise for women started spreading on social media. Garcia said she always knew she wanted to start her own business and took advantage of the Instagram fitness train momentum to make her dream come true.
The duo separates the responsibilities of owning a business based on their work schedules. Garcia works the midnight shift and despite her grueling schedule, she is dedicated to her profession and has said she often sacrifices sleep to drive popups and showcase her brand. Garcia is also responsible for communicating with manufacturers and designing products and clothing in a way that she is proud of.
Ortiz, who works more than the traditional 9 to 5 hours, said he takes his time to manage business finances, fill orders and connect with customers online. The business is run entirely online.
Y Fitness is located in the couple’s apartment in Laredo, where they moved four years ago when Garcia first got the federal job.
The Brownsville natives both come from Rio Grande Valley athletic backgrounds where Garcia plays volleyball and soccer while growing up in IDEA Frontier and Ortiz plays soccer and basketball at Pace High School.
Garcia and Ortiz competed in bodybuilding competitions in 2016 and 2019.
The couple said the business started booming during the pandemic when people started using their home gyms to exercise. Their first product was a resistance band that quickly grew in popularity due to the need for household equipment at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Garcia said that makes her proud to see how far the business has come since 2019. Since then, Y Fitness has released sportswear including leggings, shorts, and sweatshirts. While she said it was fun to free up clothes, Garcia admits it was a learning experience.
The first time she made a pair of leggings, she said, I knew they could be better. She said the process of perfecting the style and fit for a variety of sizes took a few months but she was proud to see how far the product had come.
Garcia said she tries all of her clothes herself and works on them before agreeing to a design to make sure her brand’s clothing is wearable and practical for women.
The couple said they find it rewarding for their customers to tag them in online posts and show that they enjoy the products.
“The reward for us is not making money, but making people feel better when they wear our products,” Ortiz said.
Y Fitness has a large client base in the Rio Grande Valley and say they feel loved by the locals. Outside of the support the brand receives from RGV, it also has a customer base in San Antonio, Laredo, California, Arizona, etc.
“We want everyone to wear Y Fitness,” Ortiz said.
While Garcia and Ortiz’s goal is to branch out and reach a larger audience, the two said they’re looking to get back to their roots in the Rio Grande Valley and have something big in the works when they do.
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