I was extremely excited when I first discovered FUNKtional Wearables – a jewelry line specifically designed to house fitness trackers. My Fitbit Flex had become a constant companion, day and night, but I hated how the plain silicon band (that came only in primary colors at the time) looked with my non-gym looks. I had checked out more stylish, designer options for my tracker but found them to be overpriced and the selection very limited. On my quest to find a fashionable alternative to my far from stylish black band, I discovered the FUNKtional Wearables Tory Bracelet. Finally! A smartly designed tracker band that I could proudly wear outside of the gym. No more stashing my Fitbit in my purse or in my bra on a night out.
When I realized FUNKtional Wearables was based out of San Diego, I immediately reached out to the lovely, Cynthia Blais, the Founder and Owner of the brand. Cynthia was kind enough to meet up to show me some of the pieces from the current collection – many of which are now available in our simplyWORKOUT shop!
L: Cynthia Blais, Founder of FUNKtional Wearables, Top R: Angie Omata, Co-Founder of simplyWORKOUT
Cynthia recently took the time to answer some questions about her background and FUNKtional Wearables:
How did you get into tracker jewelry design?
I have always had a passion for fashion- even when I was a child I would spend hours poring over fashion magazines and endlessly sketching dress designs but as an adult I never really had any intention of designing anything wearable to be honest. I went to college at the University of Virginia and as a Government major I took very few classes related to art, design, or even business. Why and how I got into starting FUNKtional Wearables is actually pretty random- and it all started actually with another one of my passions, Zumba®. I started teaching Zumba® dance fitness classes 5 years ago and it has been such an amazing and incredibly fullfilling experience. I have met so many people who enjoy working out for the first time in their life because of Zumba®. I had one student who told me it was because of my Zumba® classes that she lost 20 pounds but even more importantly that she felt much more happy and confident than she ever had before. So around 2 or 3 years ago I started noticing more and more of my students wearing Fitbit’s and other activity trackers, and after they all told me how these devices were such great motivators that I decided I had to try one for myself. Just like all of them, I loved my Fitbit from the start, I might even go so far as to use the word addicted, but my fashionable side was having a hard time wearing that silicone band out in public when I dressed up. Plus I kept losing it because the clasp on the silicon band on the Fitbit Flex is just not very secure. So out of my frustration from those two issues is where I got the idea to begin designing fitness tracker jewelry.
Which is your favorite piece in the current collection?
I am a huge fan of the Kay bracelet- it is the perfect piece for spring and summer! It is super versatile- this is a gold and white bangle that works effortlessly with just about any outfit. I have worn mine with everything from ripped jeans and a little tee to a long lace maxi dress and every time I have worn it it has gotten loads of compliments. Another reason why it is great is because it works with a ton of different types of fitness trackers- the Flex, the Charge, Garmin Vivofit, and more. This is definitely one of our most popular bracelets, which is why we will be offering it in silver also soon.
What is your go-to workout for getting your steps in?
Zumba is of course tops with me, but I love other types of cardio dance classes too, like Hip Hop Hustle and U-Jam. And I try to play tennis once a week with my boyfriend- we both aren’t very good so we get lots of steps running after all the balls we miss! It has been too long since I did one of the T25 DVD’s, but I think those are great for when you are in a time crunch or don’t feel like leaving your house. You really do get a great workout with those in just 25 minutes. I also have a Wii and have a bunch of games for it- my favorite is the Black Eyed Peas Experience. Since getting a Fitbit I have really changed my daily routine and habits in lots of little ways- my dogs get more walks now, and longer ones too! They are so spoiled. Plus I find myself parking way in the back of parking lots on purpose, and I hardly ever just sit down and watch TV anymore.
Who is your biggest style influence?
This is a tough one- I have so many! But if I had to pick just one person as my style icon I would say my grandmother, Rosemary- she passed away several years ago but I remember being in awe of how she was always so perfectly put together, never a hair out of place or in anything that didn’t look like it was custom fitted. She was so beautiful and and charming that I think she could get away with wearing things most people couldn’t- huge pieces of jewelry, flame red hair, brightly colored clothes- she just had this very confident and charismatic air about her that very few people have. I am a huge animal lover so I would never buy fur coats and wraps like she loved to wear though! I inherited some of her jewelry and even though they are just costume pieces I still cherish them. She didn’t have her ears pierced though so every time I try to wear the clip earrings I give up after an hour- just too painful!
What are you favorite workout go-tos?
Working from home, I pretty much live in fitness apparel– it is so comfortable and has become so great looking I wear it even on days I know I am not going to work out! I am a big fan of a UK based brand called Zaggora- their pieces are actually made to make you sweat more, which in turn is supposed to deliver a wide range of health benefits- everything from getting rid of cellulite to increasing your calorie burn. They also look cute and are quite slimming. I love the Zumba® high waisted leggings, especially the ones that they make in the dry-wick performance fabric, and I am obsessed with the Zumba harem pants, even though my boyfriend says that harem pants are the one thing I wear that he doesn’t like. I have literally tried a million sport bras in my quest to get enough support for high impact activities, and the best one that I have found is the Maia by Moving Comfort. It is definitely not the cutest sports bra, but an essential for busty gals. For sneakers, I would highly suggest the memory foam ones made by Skechers- I used to be loyal to Reebok Zigs but even they don’t come close to how comfortable the Skechers memory foam sneakers are- and they are incredibly light weight too. I like to wear one of the FUNKtional Wearables Rosie or Tinley bracelets when I am in athletic wear- they are fabric snap bracelets, so super light and comfortable, and they just add a little bling and pop of color but still look appropriate with casual and sporty wear.
Contributor: Cynthia Blais, Founder and Owner of FUNKtional Wearables