Local launch

Innovative Minnesota company goes online with culturally appropriate sportswear

By Kevyn Burger
Wed, 2017-03-08 10:13

March 8, designated as International Women’s Day, is the day that a Minnesota-based company has chosen for its grand opening.

ASIYA™ Modest Activewear, the first U.S. brand that is creating and selling sports hijabs, will go live with its launch at its online store, www.asiyasport.com, and will begin shipping its first run of product.

“We have preorders from around the US and all over the world, from Dubai to Singapore to Australia, that we will begin fulfilling,” says Jamie Glover, president and co-founder of the Minneapolis-based company. “We are ready to move.”

The sport hijabs, made by a contract manufacturer in Minnesota, were created with input from young female Muslim athletes. The first run produced 1,500 lightweight pull-on hijabs with a tight-fitting design that keep them in place during the physical rigor of games or competitions.

“We have built an e-mail data base over the past year but we will rely on word-of-mouth to share the product. These communities are tight-knit and people will see our hijabs and word will spread,” Glover adds. “There’s a ‘where’d ya get that?’ factor.”

The start-up was created after Glover’s co-founder and ASIYA CEO Fatimah Hussein saw the need for it while working as a volunteer with Muslim girls in Minneapolis.

Hussein and Glover established the business in 2016 and raised $100,000 in a Kickstarter campaign and with funds from the MN Cup start-up competition, where ASIYA won the social entrepreneur division.

Glover notes that the term “modest activewear” is a critical aspect of the fledgling company’s branding.

“That is very important to our target audience. Those who are not Muslim don't always understand that word, but it’s very common and important in their community. We also say our line is culturally appropriate. This means the hijabs are consistent in how girls and women want to present themselves.”

In its marketing materials, ASIYA notes a correlation between athletics and success in shaping young women, citing a study by the EY Women Athlete’s Business Network that finds that 94% of women executives played sports.

“We want to eliminate any barriers and make sure that girls who want to compete can express themselves in the way they are comfortable doing, without compromising their values when they participate,” Glover says. The first release includes three styles of sports hijabs that are available in black, white, navy, and dark grey.

Glover sees the company as well-positioned for a strong start.

“That’s the challenge for every startup,” Glover acknowledges. “We have the capital to grow. We are making sure that we have the right partners and systems in place to move this company forward.”