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Burton unleashes On Track Apparel
Hailing from Carenage, Antonia Burton is a 30-year-old former Track and Field athlete whose once promising athletic career has somewhat given way to an entrepreneurial spirit she did not know she possessed. Burton rose to the U.S collegiate level with a scholarship in 2005 to NCAA division one school, University of Alabama after representing several T&T junior teams.
But it was shortly after she returned home in 2009, that the former St James Secondary School student decided that finding a job that utilised her psychology degree would not be pragmatic, so she chose her more obvious interest in coaching and youth development.
Burton left her job in the insurance industry to jump into the unknown world of coaching with her childhood club Memphis Pioneers Athletic, a Diego Martin based team, before having a go at business. The eldest of four children established M.P High Performance. “Coming from the sporting industry and into the entrepreneurial side was a challenge. I was very green but it helped me to become brave and to venture into stuff that I’m not used to.” she told Guardian Media Sports.
“I have some excellent mentors from perhaps every sphere; an economist, a lawyer and so on, so I get the information I need.”
Drawing on her experiences as well as her sporting background, Burton has been able to stabilise her first initiative, where she provides strength and conditioning coaching to private clients, and she is now ready to launch another venture.
With sights set on building her new line of fitness wear into a major and viable brand, the young entrepreneur has launched On Track Apparel which she says is a brand suited for the the local market.
“The name of the brand is On Track, which has to do with more than just my Track and Field background. I really do believe in inspiring and motivating people because training and fitness is something you really have to put your mind to, remain positive about and stay on track,” she explained.
She added, “It has always been a dream of mine to provide an affordable active wear for people in T&T. I think a lot of the time kids feel the need to run to major brands because its the only quality fitness wear available so I wanted to get into that market and see what I could provide for the masses.”
Youth work is paramount to Burton who’s coaching job with Memphis Pioneers is on a voluntary basis and founded in her desire to give back. That same motivation lies behind her apparel brand. She revealed to Guardian Media Sports that, “I have a soft spot for youths. The clothing line is by no means only for them but I do try to involve them in everything that I do, to keep them occupied because having them involved is the right way to keep them on track.”
The idea for Burton’s clothing line was born in February 2016 while conceptualising it into On Track Apparel only began last September. She says, that by speaking to some of her athletes she was able to get a proper look into the market and assess what would and would not work.
However, even after that information was gathered she found challenges, stating: “Initially I really wanted to keep everything local. Get local materials and providers in terms of sewing because I wanted to put my own touch into the pieces. That has been tough, just because the quality isn’t there for me and in terms of getting exactly what I want.”
Despite that, by April 2016 she was ready to move onto the next phase. With fresh, practical garment designs and inspirational prints, On Track Apparel got out of the blocks with an online launch, featuring some of the same young athletes she coach and train on a daily basis. Her designs and prints have received excellent feedback.
“Eventually, I’m going to venture into a more holistic type of wear. I’m talking about experimenting with colours, providing tights, sports bras and different things because I never want to limit myself and I do want to eventually have an impact on the local market with more than just fitness wear.”
As a sprints and hurdles coach, Burton knows how to get over obstacles and many have been encountered along the way from the very beginning.
Mindful of the T&T’s economic challenges Burton is confident that what lied ahead is a bright future for On Track Apparel, “Initially I really wanted to keep everything local, get local materials, providers and even get involved with the garment construction because I really did want to bring my own touch. That has been a bit difficult just because I believe the quality has not been there for me in terms of ensuring I get exactly what I want. So I’m still testing and trying. But I really do believe that diversification of the economy starts with us.”
For now, Burton prefers to maintain sole ownership of her business and ideas and says that she is very close to rolling out even more options for consumers. But she also believes that there is room for like-minded people to launch their ideas and encourages competition without hesitation as long as “the reasons are right.”
Anyone wishing to view more of what On Track Apparel has to offer, visit the following:
Instagram - @OnTrackApparel
Facebook - On Track Apparel
Email - [email protected]
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