We had the good fortune of connecting with Kirbi Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kirbi, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
That’s simple. As long as God wakes me up everyday I have a reason to keep going. There is a work that God has placed inside of me and until that is done I will do my part to complete it. With that said, I will continue to give myself grace and know that everyday won’t be easy but that is a part of the journey. There is always a lesson that can be learned from the disappointments and what I may deem as a failure. But having and keeping God at the forefront of everything that I do, I can not fail.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Active Faith is a Christian premium sports apparel brand. Active Faith’s vision is to use the platform that sports provide to share the Gospel and inspire people to not only be active physically, but active in their faith. Our premium sports apparel is manufactured with the highest quality to meet the standard of both professional athletes and everyday people while also displaying inspiring Christian messages. Whether the brand is worn to represent your faith and minister to others who may not know Jesus or if its worn for the intrinsic value it provides for its owner, Active Faith is more than just another sports apparel brand. I’ve loved watching the way Active Faith has grown globally. Our customers write in all the time telling us about some of their experiences. Some examples are they were in the gym and someone asked about their shirt and it opened up a conversation to start talking about Christ that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. The customer that tells us about how the inspiration on the apparel helps them get through physical therapy or chemo treatments. It’s a reminder that what the brand sought out to do is being accomplished. It certainly hasn’t always been easy. It’s been a bumpy road at times with smooth sailing the other times. But the journey has been an exciting one. Mainstream sporting-goods stores said they couldn’t carry us because it was faith-based. Big Christian retailers wouldn’t because they couldn’t grasp what our brand was, couldn’t see the vision and didn’t think their customers would buy it. That became a blessing because we were then forced to have to go to e-commerce and social media, where the world would quickly soon follow. The next year, the Christian retailer that had turned us down came back. In three and a half months, we did $2.4 million with that retailer–then it went out of business. Sometimes, you don’t understand the storms you’re going through until you come out on the other side. We’ve had athletes in almost every major sports league organically wearing the brand but because of their endorsement deals with other sports apparel brands, we aren’t able to promote that. That has been a challenge because we know if we were able to leverage the visibility of all those athletes in our apparel, I believe that would take our brand to an even higher level.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Houston is such a fun city. There is always something going on. First stop when she lands that afternoon will be between Frenchy’s chicken or Rays BBQ Shack! Having some of the best sports teams here, we would hang out at Kamp Houston or Prospect Park to cheer them on! Anyone visiting me knows we will definitely workout so one of the days we would run the hills at Allen Parkway, the next run the loop at Memorial Park and lastly take a few classes with Antanique over at FenixxFit! We have an amazing museum district that has wonderful exhibits throughout the year so I would want to check that out. Afterwards, swing by HEB or Specs to grab some South African BranWar wine and enjoy a picnic at Herman Park. Sunday, we would attend Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and eat at Graces afterwards.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve been fortunate to have had a lot of support along my journey. I’ve had coaches at Hightower High School and Track Houston that were instrumental in my development. Spelman College shaped me in becoming the woman I am today. But most importantly, I have to give the glory to God who loving gifted me with with my parents Earl and Rosiland. They have been my rock and poured unconditional love, lessons and support into me my entire life.

Website: activefaithsports.com

Instagram: iamkirbi, activefaithsports

Linkedin: Kirbi T Smith

Image Credits
Vinh Luong, Payton Ruddock

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