IAM2079 – Founder of Apparel Company Helps Young Children with Exercise and Eating Habits

Podcast Interview with Lori Tobin

In this episode, we have Lori Tobin, founder of sports apparel company SporTobin and the children's program Keep Going Kidz.

Lori shares her entrepreneurial journey, starting from making and selling running leggings in the early '90s to creating a purpose-driven brand focusing on healthy living, exercise, and cooking for kids.

She discusses the importance of listening to customer needs, the impact of exercise and meditation on her productivity, and her commitment to giving back to the community.

The conversation highlights how a passion for fitness and sewing turned into a successful business venture that aims to improve people's lives through sports apparel and educational programs for kids.

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Lori Tobin Teaser 00:00

So when I go for my runs in the morning, and I'm working on some type of a project or something, that's just not working. Sometimes, you've got to figure out how to get this and that done. I'll go for my run and it'll pop.

So that running that exercise and that blood activity to my brain really helps me hone in and figure out ideas and figure out things that need to be done.

Intro 00:22

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkness values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I Am CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:49

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Lori Tobin of Sport Tobin and Keep Kid, Keep Going Kids. Lori, it's great to have you on the show.

Lori Tobin 01:01

Thank you. Thank you. I'm thrilled to be doing an interview with you Gresham.

Gresham Harkless 01:06

I'm thrilled to have you here too. And what I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Lori so you can hear about all the awesome and phenomenal things that she's doing. And Lori Tobin is the founder of Sportobin, a hull-base apparel company specializing in workout clothing made in the USA for adults and children since 1991.

Lori has spoken actively on the South Shore and beyond about healthy eating habits, exercise, especially in young children. She has Also been involved in many causes and created and continues to teach her. Keep going kids exercise classes at the elementary school in hall. Lori is great to have you. Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Lori Tobin 01:45

Yes, I am.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 01:46

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. The first question I have was just to expound a little bit more upon your bio and hear about your CEO story and what led you to start your business.

Lori Tobin 01:53

Okay. Let's see. First, let me preface that I've been running. Running for a long time and I've been sewing since I was a small child.

So, I was running with the running club and I had a race that I was running in and this woman and at the end of the race, tracked me down and said, I want a pair of those leggings. Where did you get those? And I had made them. So I knew right away that I, I had some people that wanted my clothing.

So that helped. So anyways, that's how I began, because that was back in the, oh, early nineties. And so I started producing clothing and selling them to runners, and I would go to road races and sell. And then I would also go to health clubs, and I've done pan mass challenges, a big ride in benefits. Dana Farber here in Massachusetts.

I sold. At their expo as well. And then from the health clubs, a woman was working with the three day and she got me hooked into the three day and that was wonderful. These women who are walking for survive. Some of them were survivors. Some of them were walking for loved ones. And I went to this 1st expo and they bought all of my clothing.

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I had nothing left. And then I asked. Hey, do you have some more of these? So they did. So I started doing more of the expos and I traveled around the country speaking and selling. And that's really how I began my husband that I'm married to now started my website in 97. so the women that were doing the walks in California could order directly from me.

So if I wasn't there, they could still get the clothing. So that's how I began.

Gresham Harkless 03:25

Nice. Nice. Nice. That's a great story to hear. And especially how it started where you were just wearing something and you were just trying to wear something for yourself. And then all of a sudden someone says, Hey, I like that.

And then you said, Hey I can get that for you. And things start to snowball from there. So I think it's great to hear like how you guys started and how that kind of balloon from there. So what I wanted to do was drill a little bit deeper to hear a little bit more about SporTobin and what you're doing with Keep Going Kidz.

Lori Tobin 03:46

Okay, we'll Keep Going Kidz. It's another when about, let's see, 97, I believe it was. So, the breast cancer walks I was doing, but I had an elderly family member get ill and my mother-in-law. And so she needed me to take care of her. My husband's a sea captain, so he was home a month and gone a month. And I also had a young son.

So I started doing kids clothing. And I also at the school that he belonged to, because my son could not sit still. So I started a program and I did it free for the 1st year. We had 40 kids show up at the gym, so I started running them around the gym and have a whole program. Had some other moms helped me.

And so from that, I also started doing cooking because I have a new kitchen because we had moved in between here. And so I brought the kids, some of the kids from my exercise class, and I taught them how to cook and we filmed it through Hull Cable. So I have cooking exercise and I have a book, a short book that I had done.

As well, and I thought, I'm going to see if I can get this a little bigger. So I ran into a producer that was producing the Wahlbergs program and he hooked me up with Alicia good natured dogs. And so we have been working on this project for a while and getting it. Her production company produces movies, television shows, all kinds of things.

So we, that's how Keep Going Kidz is going from my house, a gym into a program. So I'm very excited about it. It's evergreen. We're going to be working with kids, probably 4, 5 year olds, right up into 5th grade. So that's about 11 year olds teaching them how to cook healthy meals and teaching them how to do some fun exercises around the house.

I don't know if but a lot of families don't cook and they don't know how to cook. So if your kid knows how to cook, then that means they can take care of themselves and they can also cook for the family. And it's a great way of families to be together and enjoy each other. And kids learn a lot of things from cooking and cleaning.

And the exercise part makes them feel good.

Gresham Harkless 05:44

Yeah, and it makes perfect sense. And you get the opportunity to take control of your health as well, too, because you are making and preparing exactly what you're going to put into your bodies.

And to learn that at a very young age, you're creating a lot of foundational skills that those kids can use that will live healthier lives, down the line when they're becoming adults, they get a lot older and they start to age.

So I think it's phenomenal what you're doing. And, working with kids is always near and dear to my heart. And we talked about that offline. And so I think that's phenomenal about that new project that you're working on. Yeah.

Lori Tobin 06:11

Thank you. Yeah, no, I'm very excited about it. So that's in the pre-production stage, but I'm betting that it'll probably be ready because the website's almost ready to launch within the next two months.

So once that happens, I think everything else will move pretty quickly.

Gresham Harkless 06:27

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Nice. Yeah. That's how it always seems to work. So cool. I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce or kind of your maybe superpower or your, your differentiator for your organization, what you feel like makes you unique.

Lori Tobin 06:39

Okay one is we're made in the U. S. A. Secondly, we always give back. So we have scrap fabric and scrap fabric. I donate to teachers, art teachers in my community so they can use it as well. We always partner with different organizations to donate back. To the kids in the programs and my clothing last, which is unique.

So I had a woman who called me back probably about seven years ago. She had a pair of my leggings for 20 years. They had finally worn out and she wanted another pair. So I should have said, can I get your name and address so I can put you on my website? But you mentioned her. So my clothing lasts and I use really nice fabrics.

So they work, they dry quickly and they wash. And so it's something you can wear for exercise, but it's high fashion these days. Athletic apparel.

Gresham Harkless 07:31

Yeah, absolutely. When, especially everybody working out and wearing their clothes and a lot of their sports clothes, just walking around, whether it be a grocery store anywhere, they're putting those things on.

So it's great that you have created something, but also people can use it for as long as they have.

Lori Tobin 07:45

Yes, exactly. Exactly. So that's what makes me unique.

Gresham Harkless 07:49

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. And what I want to do is switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app or a book, but the idea is, is something that makes you more effective and efficient as a business owner.

Lori Tobin 08:00

Okay. I run every day. So when I go for my runs in the morning, and I'm working on some type of a project or something, that's just not working. Sometimes, you've got to figure out how to get this and that done. I'll go for my run and it'll pop.

So that running that exercise and that blood activity to my brain really helps me hone in and figure out ideas and figure out things that need to be done.

So that's very, very important. I also meditate. I meditate in the mornings as well, and that helps focus me. And I write out like what I want, one year. Three years, five years, 10 years from now. So I'm always moving forward as to where my business is going, what we're up to, what's our next event.

Do we add a new product line? So that's really it. But it's the running that really helps tremendously for me.

Gresham Harkless 08:49

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I always myself always say, I want to try to vibrate higher as much as possible. And some of those activities definitely help you to do that where you're getting the blood flow and you're starting to think on a higher level.

So I think those phenomenal CEO hex that people could take into account in their business and in their lives. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this might be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice that you might have for other entrepreneurs and business owners.

Lori Tobin 09:13

Okay, so you want to feel a need for you, whatever you're doing.

It's like people, I make a lot of clothing for kids and kids grow constantly, so they're always needing more of it. So That's one of the things it's cold in my neck of the woods in the wintertime. So I have heavier fabric. So parents like that. I'm not, I always ask my customers, what do you need next? What would you like to see?

And I can ask my customers and they will tell me, they'll tell me what they like. And they'll tell me what they don't like. So, because you're in business to, make a profit or make money, but you also are in the service business. What does your customer want and need? So that's very, very important to me.

And also, be open to learning and just be, be ethical as well. That's very important.

Gresham Harkless 09:58

Yeah, I think those are phenomenal. See, nuggets, especially the idea of, being ethical and being, and making sure that you're in line with your client and whether you have a product-based business or you have a service-based business, understanding that they both kind of intertwine.

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So you're in the service-based business. You have to listen to your clients. You have to provide great value and great service. So it's great that you have that as a foundational principle in your business. And also that you're reminding us that we're that we need to do that as well, too, which is important.

Lori Tobin 10:21

Yeah, exactly.

Gresham Harkless 10:22

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Now my favorite question, which is like the definition of being a CEO and we're asking a lot of different entrepreneurs and business owners to be on this podcast and attracting a lot of different quote-unquote CEOs. So I wanted to ask you specifically what does being a CEO means to you?

Lori Tobin 10:38

I get to wear a lot of hats. You just treat For me, it's I'm the head of my company, so we always act with integrity. We always do what we're supposed to do in terms of if a customer is not happy, we do what we need to do to take care of the customer and the CEO has to be again looking forward.

What are we doing next? What's going on in business and things are. Moving on the Internet and they're moving so quickly. It's you know, you have to constantly be trying to figure out how you can grow your market. And then there's that big company Amazon. So, you have to set yourself apart from that.

So, that's something that we're always working on. But CEOs have to just keep an eye on the big picture. And, for me, it's just, you just do the best you can every day to people how you want to be treated because nobody likes a jerk.

Gresham Harkless 11:26

Yeah, it's true. That's true. And whatever you put out comes back sometime.

So if you put out that jerkiness, I guess you can say that sometimes I can come right back to you in a lot of different ways, but I also love the fact that you talked about, being able to see things from a higher view and be able to understand like where you're going and where you want to go and also put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward, which is probably the biggest thing that you know, running into business or being an entrepreneur or business owner causes you to do.

So I think that's a great definition. I appreciate that. Cool, cool, cool. Lori, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule. What I want to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know, and then also how best people can get ahold of you.

Lori Tobin 12:05

Okay let's see. I would say you go and that's 1 T and that's my website for the clothing. Keep Going Kidz and it's with a Z, but you'll probably print that up, but it's and that'll be the website and that's coming together. So keep watching for that and it's going to be a busy year this year, I think, but I'm looking forward to it.

It should be very exciting. I'm hoping it's going to spin into other things as well. So, I don't know, just check out That's the best way to reach me

Gresham Harkless 12:37

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Yes, we will have those links in the show notes. So anybody can click through and follow up with you and find out all the awesome things that you're doing.

But I truly appreciate you for taking some time out and telling us how, just starting out with yoga pants and now you have this kind of sports and health and wellness empire that you have in your building. So I think it's pretty cool. Pretty awesome to hear everything you're cooking up and I appreciate you and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Lori Tobin 12:59

Gresham, thank you very, very much. I appreciate you having me on your show.

Outro 13:03

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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