Port City sports apparel business up and running
Kara Welch, founder of Athena Apparel Solutions in Portsmouth poses with two new lines they are working on for clients, both local and international. Athena focuses on design, development and production of athletic and outdoor apparel and was founded by Welch in 2010. (GRETYL MACALASTER/Union Leader Correspondent)
After 15 years in the industry, working for the likes of Reebok, Timberland, New Balance and Vision, Welch gained a reputation in the field of athletic apparel product design and development.
In three short years the company can also already claim big name clients including Reebok, New Balance, Sperry Top-Sider and Sauce Hockey.
Athena can handle design, technical design, development, sourcing, merchandising, as well as researching trends in fashion and innovation of fabrics.
From Paris, she launched directly into the industry, traveling from Reebok to Timberland to New Balance and back to the Seacoast, an area she fell in love with when she came to work for Bauer Hockey in 2003.
"You are contributing to someone's overall feeling about their performance," Welch said.
Working in the industry she saw a need for a company like Athena to which larger brands could outsource.
"I take great pride in someone else being successful because of the services we can offer," Welch said.
"Everything is working really well so we are ready for that next step. We really want to grow our client base," Welch said.
"I find Portsmouth to be a very entrepreneurial city. I am surprised by the amount of friends I have with their own business, or freelancing or consulting," Welch said. "It has been an inspirational place for me to pursue my dream."
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