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Inspiring Conversations with Deb North of Yes! Athletics

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deb North.

Deb, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I have a couple of businesses but assuming you were wanting information on Yes! Athletics. True North: I started six months after my husband died. I had been a recruiter for 15 years but was reluctant to go out on my own because I loved being on a team. A couple of friends talked me into hanging my own shingle and here were are ten years later!

Yes: My youngest daughter wanted to try wrestling. As we were navigating the journey of gear- there was NOTHING for girls. I realized this was a huge gap so took the leap and started a shoe company. Our shoes are in girls’ sizes and colors. We hope to eventually provide gear to other emerging sports for girls.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I officially launched in October 2020. So far, it has been fairly smooth. I was ready to launch in April of 2020 but the world shut down in March and I wasn’t sure if there was even going to be school sports. The premise of the company is about saying Yes! to scary things so I went for it. My biggest business challenge is finding someone who will sell shoes at wrestling meets. There are two challenges- 1. many of them have exclusive vendor relationships, so don’t allow new vendors to join and 2. I just don’t have the bandwidth. My two youngest girls keep me very business with all of their sports and my weekends are tied up with softball generally. I am hoping that my brand ambassadors will see this as an opportunity to earn money towards their travel to meets. I have brand ambassadors all over the US.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
What sets my brand apart is that we are truly passionate about girls in the sport of wrestling. I am incredibly inspired by their stories and bravery to step out and try something new. We are a socially conscious organization and sponsor Special Olympics athletes who are powerlifters and supported Beat the Streets through a “Buy One/Give One” campaign last year.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
In both businesses, honesty and transparency are the most important. I believe I have been successful with True North because I am easy to talk to and a good listener. I have been through a lot so feel like I have additional empathy that other recruiters might not have.

With Yes! It is about showing young girls that we can champion each other. Blowing out someone else’s flame doesn’t make yours shine brighter. I want to be their biggest cheerleader!

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