Last weekend, I was asked to be part of a panel discussion on hiking and backpacking for women. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Biennial Conference is a really big deal and I was very excited to be a part of it! As three other women and I fielded questions and shared stories about our outdoor experiences, the topic turned to beginning hikers.
One of the participants asked what to do if you were new to hiking and needed a place to start. A woman in the room raised her hand and said, “Look online and find your local Trail Dames chapter- that is a great place to start." I was stunned. I looked closely and realized that I did not know this woman. She was not a friend, or a Trail Dame. For her, Trail Dames was the first thing that popped into her head for beginning women’s hiking. Can you imagine how exciting that feels? When I created the organization six years ago, I dreamed of the name becoming synonymous with women’s hiking. I knew that it was happening slowly but surely, but I was still touched and excited to hear it being suggested outside of my own circles.
Later, as the conversation changed to clothing, someone asked about plus-sized outdoor wear. This time, several people spoke out. “Junonia!” The name was repeated many times, with requests for the website. It got me thinking….do you think that Anne realizes that the name of her company has become synonymous with plus-sized outdoor wear? The website says that when she founded the company in 1995, she did so wanting to provide excellent, long-lasting quality that would engender customer loyalty for years to come. That is the Junonia that I have always known. But I wondered last weekend, if she remembered her first moment like this. The moment where her dream had become a reality outside of herself and her community. That moment where she realized that it really was happening.
You know….. I have never met Anne Kelly, the founder of Junonia. I don’t work for her or the company. I am just a long-time customer that was completely flattered to be asked to contribute to the Junonia Blog. But sitting in that room last weekend, I felt a kinship with Anne. Her company is much larger and well known than my Trail Dames, but I would be willing to bet that we share a lot of the same thoughts and dreams about our creations. And I hope she knows that all of the hard work she has put into Junonia is echoing out there in the words of women that she has never even met.
Thank you Anne for everything you do!
Anna Huthmaker, FounderTrail Dames
JunoActive Plus Size Hiking Clothes