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.”

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(5) comments

Thinking it over

What a fantastic woman!

JerSchae

Fantastic example of an enterprising woman who saw a need / opportunity and made it happen! We need more people like this - especially of the kind that use their business to employ Americans to make a product in the USA AND uses their business to help others (i.e. cancer patients).

Many kudos to you, Stephanie!

Dave Bovee
Dave Bovee

It is hard to fail if you are trying to convince women that there's even more that they need to be self conscious about. Good for her, but do people actually believe that only a few athletic types are comfortable in the bike shorts? Come on!

rhs74
rhs74

To Dave Bovee, if you are not a woman, how can you presume to know how it feels. In my experience in running, not being able to find a decent short that doesn't creep up and show everything from front to behind, is rediculous. I have resorted to boys long shorts rolled at waist. And for the record I am one of those athletic types and I still don't relish the fact that people(oilfield workers) driving by my farm road running route, gets to gawk. Plus we, ladies over a certain age, shouldn't be wearing bikes shorts, period.
These skirts are adorable and fill a need, hope whe has smashing success. I kind of want one!

Dave Bovee
Dave Bovee

I admire her for coming up with this and actually creating a market for her goods. The idea that people cannot just be comfortable in what they wear while they are exercising is a shame. It is also not the male population who has made female beauty a marketed necessity in every facet of our lives. Western women will never accept that they themselves are making this an almost malicious competition.

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