This year, Blyss Running is celebrating five years in the run apparel business. Founded in October 2015 by Alyson Neel, Blyss Running has an underground following of women runners, from beginners to ultrarunners.

Although Neel’s background is in fashion and merchandising, her passion for running began in her early 40s and she quickly progressed to long-distance runs and marathons. Unable to find running apparel that suited her needs, she created her own label.

In 2015, she manufactured her first designs and started selling her collection of skirts, crops and shorts at running expos in the U.S. Determined to produce her collections domestically, she partnered with a manufacturer based in Pennsylvania.

This year, Neel has dealt with the challenges facing many small business owners as a result of COVID-19 – canceled events, manufacturers pivoting to produce PPE and customers who are tightening their budgets. But the outdoor and fitness industries have been resilient as Americans head outside for recreation and relief. And Blyss Running has found other ways to successfully connect with its running community through email marketing and on social media platforms.

Reflecting on the challenges this year and being a small business owner, Neel said, “It’s awesome to have so many runners who love the clothes and have stuck with us during this challenging year. I’m excited for races to come back and to see the Blyss Running community in person again!”