HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A federal officer with a passion for working out made a business out of fitness equipment and clothing she wanted to wear to the gym.
Yajaida Garcia is a Brownsville native and the creative mind behind Y Fitness, a brand she built in 2019 with the help of her husband.
Mando Ortiz, also a Brownsville native, works for Chase Bank and handles all of the finances for Y Fitness.
Garcia said she was inspired to start the business during a time when health culture and working out for women began to take off on social media. Garcia said she always knew she wanted to start her own business and capitalized on the momentum of the fitness train on Instagram to fulfill her dream.
The duo separates the responsibilities of owning a business based on their work schedules. Garcia works the midnight shift and despite her grueling schedule, she is dedicated to her craft and said she often sacrifices sleep to drive to pop-ups and showcase their brand. Garcia is also in charge of reaching out to manufacturers and designing the products and clothing in a way that she is proud of.
Ortiz, who works a more traditional 9 to 5, said he uses his time off to manage the business finances, pack orders and communicate with customers online. The business is run entirely online.
Y Fitness is based out of the couple’s apartment in Laredo, where they moved to four years ago when Garcia first got the federal position.
The Brownsville natives both come from athletic backgrounds in the Rio Grande Valley with Garcia playing volleyball and soccer growing up at IDEA Frontier and Ortiz playing football and basketball at Pace High School.
Garcia and Ortiz even competed in bodybuilding competitions in 2016 and 2019.
The couple said business began to boom during the pandemic when people started utilizing their at-home gyms to work out. Their first product was a resistance band which grew in popularity quickly given the need for at-home equipment at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Garcia said it makes her proud to see how far the business has come since 2019. Since then, Y Fitness has launched activewear including leggings, shorts and tops. While she said it is fun to branch out to clothing, Garcia admits it has been a learning experience.
She said the first time she created a pair of leggings, she knew that they could be better. She said the process to perfect the style and fit for a variety of sizes took a few months but that she was proud to see how far the product came.
Garcia said she tries on all of her apparel herself and works out in them before approving a design to ensure that her brand’s clothes are wearable and practical for women.
The couple said they find it rewarding when their customers tag them in posts online and show that they are enjoying the products.
“The reward for us is not making money, but making people feel better when they wear our products,” Ortiz said.
Y Fitness has a large clientele base in the Rio Grande Valley and says they feel the love from the locals. Outside of the support the brand receives from the RGV, it also has a clientele base in San Antonio, Laredo, California, Arizona, etc.
“We want everyone to be wearing Y Fitness,” Ortiz said.
While the goal for Garcia and Ortiz is to branch out and reach a larger audience, the two said they look forward to returning to their roots in the Rio Grande Valley and have something big in the works for when they do.