Every great friendship has a meet cute. For Maggie Kyle and Laura Treganowan, theirs was on a brisk October morning in the Fall of 2018, fittingly, at a 7 AM Spin Class. The two became fast friends, weekly spin classes followed by Black Eye Coffee dates. But after just six weeks, the future co-founders suddenly found themselves building a business together, and Denver-based jewelry company Our Exercise Brand was born.
At the time, Kyle – a trained metalsmith – was dedicated to building her other company Oxbow Designs. Treganowan, on the other hand, was working full-time as a spin instructor while freelancing in social media management.
“I basically wanted to make a line of jewelry that could be sold at fitness studios,” said Kyle. “I wanted to bring a fitness-based brand to life… I told Laura the idea after spin class one day and she just said, ‘let’s do it.’”
Our Exercise Brand came to life shortly thereafter, the pair not hesitating for a moment before getting to work.
“Usually when you start a business you sit down and make a business plan and all that. We really didn’t do that,” explained Treganowan. “We just said ‘let’s call it OXB. It’s sweat-proof jewelry. This is what we are going to start with.’”
Keyword there: sweat-proof. OXB sets itself apart from other jewelry brands by making high-quality, handmade pieces made to withstand everyday wear.
“Most jewelry is plated, which is just a base metal of something like brass or bronze. Essentially it is just painted with a layer of gold alloy, which rubs off with abrasion … any sort of contact it has with something abrasive, it rubs that top layer of gold off exposing the base metal,” explained Kyle.
If you’ve ever had a ring turn your finger green, or one side of a necklace turn an entirely different color than the other, this is exactly why. Most jewelry sold in stores is not made for everyday wear, even breaking a sweat in a workout drastically impacting the lifespan of typical jewelry pieces. That’s where OXB comes in.
Dedicated to the quality of their product, Our Exercise Brand uses gold-filled metal to make their jewelry completely “sweat-proof.” While it puts their pieces at a slightly higher price point, they hope to educate their customers on the idea of “buying better to buy less.”
“Gold-filled metal is sort of a unicorn,” said Kyle. ” It’s a completely different process to make. Gold-filled is made to last 10-30 years, and that is if you are wearing it every single day.”
OXB officially launched in October of 2019, finally giving fitness fanatics pieces safe to wear through any workout and to look damn cute while doing it.
Their proof of concept came after just a few months when the pair suddenly found themselves with over $40,000 worth of orders. Working out of a 300 sqft studio, Kyle ended up teaching Treganowan how to make the jewelry to fulfill the demand. All this while running OXB part-time.
“We were both fully in other careers. I was doing Oxbow full time and Laura was traveling around the country training fitness instructors for opening their own studios,” said Kyle. “At the end of that, we were like ‘we either have to do this or not.’”
Both Kyle and Treganowan made the leap again without any hesitation, transitioning into building Our Exercise Brand full time.
“I think that is part of what has lead to OXB’s success. We move quickly. We didn’t think too much about it,” said Treganowan. “We think enough about something and know where to push and know we will figure it out. We are really just figure-outers, we’ll do it, we will get it done, we just know we will.”
But this did not come without challenges. Originally built on the model of selling directly to fitness studios, the duo lost their business overnight due to COVID-19 shutdowns. With studio doors closed, the pair pivoted to selling directly to consumers, a choice that would ultimately skyrocket their business.
Just one year later, Our Exercise Brand has built a community that expands across the world. Their jewelry ranges from dainty to bold, creating trendy yet timeless pieces that are custom-made for everyday wear. From their Our Exercise Chain to their Ear Climbers to their recently launched Fine Line Collection, OXB offers a little something for everyone.
Best of all, all of their jewelry is handmade right here in Denver. Tucked inside a graffiti-covered warehouse on Larimer, Our Exercise Store opened its doors in RiNo this past June. The space doubles as both a stunning retail shop and studio where their team of trained metalsmiths create each piece in-house, allowing for a highly customizable and personalized experience.
“We have our staple pieces and then we have our chain wall,” explained Kyle. “You go and pick out your chain, the shape of your disk, your length, your metal. You can put any message on it or your initials. We record it all on a card and bring it down to our production team and they’ll assemble it for you right there in 20 minutes.”
Along with providing a beautiful display of their own jewelry line, the retail store carries everything from athleisure to workout equipment. Connecting with other brands such as Year of Ours and Bala, OXB aims to support small businesses that are female or black-owned.
“The idea was that we wanted to see the brand in real life. We had such a huge online community and everything had been on zoom,” said Treganowan. “The most fun part of it has been seeing these people in real life – hosting classes, customizing jewelry for people, welding bracelets. It’s just been a different form of connection.”
This sense of community seems to be at the heart of their brand. From their Hey Girl Run Power Walking Club to a Sunset Sweat hosted by SweatDen on the roof of the Catbird Hotel, OXB offers a place for people to connect through movement and promote local businesses.
“We were never really set on just selling a product. We were set on making a product in-house that then filters out to a community and creates a connection between people. I don’t think OXB is just selling necklaces,” said Treganowan.
Along with forming connections, OXB is dedicated to finding new ways to give back to the community that supports them. From day one, the brand has dedicated 5% of its sales to rotating charities, which the customer is able to choose at checkout. In the heart of the pandemic, they launched a Support Your Studios initiative – encouraging people to buy drop-in workout classes for the future by offering gift cards of the same amount.
Their nationwide team of ambassadors reflects these same values, a diverse group of people promoting any kind of wellness – body, mental or community.
“It really started off as this very boutique fitness team and we have expanded it to really anyone who puts sweat behind anything or is involved in any kind of movement somehow. Whether that’s physical movement or the human rights movement,” said Treganowan.
Maggie Kyle and Laura Treganowan are on a mission to create something beautiful, far beyond their jewelry. Every piece OXB sells is intricately stunning – elegant handmade jewelry that can elevate any workout. But at the heart of their business, the jewelry is merely the product – the simple way to connect people in a powerful way.
“Something really lovely about jewelry is that a very sentimental product for most people… especially because we do hand make every product and custom so many pieces. It brings this product to life. I think the community is definitely at the core at OXB and that is ultimately what we hope to keep,” said Kyle.
Our Exercise Brand is a sweat-proof jewelry brand based in Denver, Colorado. Their jewelry can be purchased online at their website and on the OXB Instagram. Their storefront – Our Exercise Store – is located at 2737 Larimer St Ste. A, Denver, CO 80205. Learn more about upcoming community events in Denver at the Our Exercise Store Instagram.