Roberts native creates skirts to cover athletes

2013-05-10T00:00:00Z 2014-08-25T11:31:15Z Roberts native creates skirts to cover athletesBy MARY PICKETT mpickett@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Stephanie Lynn wants to change the world one skirt at a time.

And it’s more than just about covering derrieres stuffed into tight bike shorts.

Lynn, who grew up in Roberts, started a Vancouver, Wash.-based company, Sweet Spot Skirts, a year ago to make short, colorful skirts to go over bike and running shorts and other athletic gear.

A self-professed “big girl,” Lynn isn’t shy about telling her weight (175 pounds), height (5 feet, 9 inches) or age (48).

The gregarious former teacher isn’t shy about anything, but she does want certain parts of her body covered when exercising in public.

Stretchy running and biking shorts are flattering only for a few lean athletes but may make most everyone else uncomfortable, Lynn said.

So she designed a short skirt with wide waistband and two rows of snaps that allow the garment to be worn at the waist or hips.

Made from a cotton woven fabric in bright contrasting patterns, the skirt camouflages a woman’s front or behind.

Lynn recently brought out a new skirt in “technical” knit fabrics designed for runners.

After Lynn graduated from Roberts High School in 1982, she attended Northwest College in Powell before transferring to Eastern Montana College, now Montana State University Billings.

She taught school for several years before returning to school at Mount Hood Community College near Portland, Ore., to play basketball for two years.

She then worked as a basketball coach, at large fitness clubs and as a real estate agent before stumbling on the idea to make skirts.

Needing something to cover her bike shorts as she made real estate rounds on her bike, she threw on a mini disco skirt and was amazed when men began complimenting her on it.

From the time she started Sweet Spot Skirts, she wanted the clothing to carry a “Made in the U.S.A” label, even though she received a lot of advice to send the work overseas.

She hired out-of-work women who make the skirts in their own homes, in Lynn’s sales shop or at a larger manufacturer, all in the Portland-Vancouver area.

The former Montanan also has had help from relatives in her home state.

Sister-in-law Katie Schwend’s Overdrive advertising agency in Billings is helping with marketing.

Cousin Dana Zier of Columbus created the artwork printed on Lynn’s business cards and flyers.

Another cousin, Jean Zier of Deaver, Wyo., turns fabric scraps leftover from Sweet Spot skirts into quilts that Lynn gives to employees and donates to cancer patients, a cause close to Lynn’s heart.

Lynn’s mother, Sharon Parker Allen, died in 1976 at age 36 of breast cancer when her daughter was 12.

Now past the age when her mother died, Lynn knows “every moment is precious.”

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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