Fit and Fashionable
What motivates your company?
Tepuy Activewear is motivated by love for this wonderful country that embraced my family and me. Our way of giving back is to provide a great quality brand that makes our customers feel beautiful and alive, inspiring them to move and never stop being their best self.
We are also motivated to do our best so that we can one day employ many others that lack opportunities and help them to better themselves.
Tell us about your location.
We are located in downtown Americus, Georgia. We have a roomy space, that is welcoming to both customers and visitors. When you walk in you are greeted and can immediately browse our merchandise. Just beyond our sewing machines and cutting tables, fabrics and patterns show evidence of heart felt labor, preparing new merchandise.
Tell us a bit about your customers.
Our customers are primarily ladies that love to keep themselves fit and fashionable. Athleisure has taken on a whole new definition with ladies attending wellness classes throughout the day and then returning to other daily responsibilities and activities. From running on the treadmill to running errands, yoga to the salon or back to the work place. Our customers are very diverse. We fit all shapes and sizes.
Share the history of your company.
Elena Carné is the owner and the heart of Tepuy Activewear, a sportswear brand handcrafting legging, tank tops, and other sportswear in Americus, GA. She is an energetic and vibrant presence much like the clothing she passionately designs.
Although formally registered in 2015, its roots can be traced back to mid-nineties when at the age of 15 Elena saw a need and quickly jumped on the opportunity. Growing up in a beach town in Venezuela, girls her age wanted to sport a different bathing suit every weekend. She knew her parents could not afford to buy that many garments, so she did not even ask. Instead, she decided to make them herself. She made her first design in her bedroom using her mother’s sewing machine. She was proud of the result. As she began wearing her own creations, her friend’s requests began, then the friends of her friends. It didn’t take long until she was getting orders from people unrelated to her. A couple of years later she had become known in the town for her bathing suit designs. After high school, she moved to another city for college. She had amassed a decent clientele, so she decided to open a small sewing shop to continue production sell them in boutique in her new city.
At 21 she had an established business, and with the help of a microloan, she bought more machines and was meeting the new demands and successfully growing her business. Unfortunately, as she was experiencing success in her entrepreneurial life, the political atmosphere in Venezuela had a grim outlook as an autocrat leader was in power and there was unrest on the streets. Everything around her seemed to crumble after her boyfriend and future husband decided to run for office for the opposition party. Elena and her new husband had to flee her home, her family and the business she had worked so hard to create to avoid persecution. Elena refused to look back and think of everything she left behind, it was too painful, she only wanted to look at the new opportunities that laid ahead. Uprooted to Miami, the next 12 years she worked various jobs, became a mother of three beautiful girls, obtained degrees in Fashion Design at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and a Business degree at Miami Dade College. She graduated with highest Honors holding a very distinctive award: Magna Cum Laude in Fashion Design. She also won the “Best Digital Portfolio and Best Sportswear Collection Award”. She then made a connection that introduced her to Americus, Ga, a town about 150 miles south of Atlanta where she would move and formally establish Tepuy Activewear in 2015. Elena was delighted that the community welcomed her and her family with open arms. In 2016, she was named Favorite Emerging Designer at Atlanta Apparel and Tepuy was awarded Sumter County Small Business of the Year. Even more recently, she was one of 13 finalists at the Belk’s Southern Designer Competition in 2017, being the very first finalist to present an activewear line.
Elena firmly believes that you must always be consistent with what you are doing and find the joy in it. Be proud of yourself and your work. Through determination, setting goals, God given talents and personal faith, Elena is fulfilling her dreams as the designer of “Tepuy Activewear”.
How are you involved with your customers and community?
We support our customers and they support us by having the ability to personalize and customize our products. We are often invited to attend fund raisers, 5ks, and community causes. Our community is very considerate in allowing us to set up at events to bring community awareness to what we are doing and to encourage support of locally manufactured items. We often give a percentage back to schools, charities and causes that purchase from us. This is one way we can mutually support our friends and neighbors.
Tell us about your employees.
We have only a few at this moment but we get a lot accomplished. We work as a team. Our different backgrounds create the perfect combination of harmonious diversity. We have the same ultimate goals and are willing to help one another in every way to make them a reality. My business partner doesn’t sew, but she helps with everything else. We laugh and enjoy working together. Our focus is our faith in God’s plan and direction for Tepuy. We know that because we seek Him first He will guide us. So, we are a faithful, adventurous, creative, very hard-working unit ready to please our next customer!
What makes you excited to work here?
So many things. This past year we had the opportunity to travel with a fitness convention to several wonderful cities. The friends we made and support from fitness enthusiasts was very inspiring. We picked up many clients from sea to shining sea, as well as, partnered with other business enthusiasts. By meeting and spending time with other business owners, everyone shares and benefits from each other’s experiences.
And then there’s the design process…who doesn’t want to be a designer!?
What do you like about your community and location?
Our community offers the best of both worlds. We are a small town with a beautiful agriculture heritage as well as new, fresh retailers, manufacturers, fabulous restaurants and our own haunted historical hotel. The people appreciate one another, come together when there is a need and don’t think twice when it comes to loving thy neighbor. We are blessed to be able to live and raise our family in this safe, supportive city on a hill known as Americus.
How do you embody Authentic Georgia?
Though I may not personally be rooted in Georgia, my heart and talents will forever be! I love the people and opportunities offered here. Our activewear line designed and manufactured in Georgia defines many aspects of our surroundings. My business partner is a lifelong Georgia resident and contributes the conservative side while my Latin heritage embellishes style from the coast to the beautiful natural fields of wild flowers that decorate this beautiful state.
What makes Georgia so special and unique?
The southern grace that radiates from the people. We are considerate of one another. Manners are still in style and stylish. We love our country, we love our Savior and we love our moms. There’s laughter, dancing, so much great food, local breweries and always a trail to follow.
Living in Georgia, you can visit a canyon, hike a mountain, play in a waterfall and sit on the beach without crossing the state line. We manufacture cars, clothes, glass, furniture and lots of celebrities, make our own coffee, wines and spirits. We grow pecans, peanuts, peaches, corn, pumpkins and even olives for olive oil.
Georgia is not only a place to live but a place that lives within you.