Who is the Real Leslie Jordan?


Endurance races are some of the toughest in the world and it takes an adventurous and determined individual to attempt them; someone willing to continue on despite hardships and unforeseeable challenges to rise up victorious. Leslie Jordan, the woman behind the prominent marathon and event Apparel Company, has overcome many obstacles to make her women-owned business the enduring success it is today. Despite changing markets, aggressive competition and fighting her own past battles with cancer, Leslie has managed to triumph and keep her innovative edge while staying a step ahead.

Leslie, what is your secret to a good brand?

“Talk to a lot of people, research, analyze, test fabrics and patterns. After years of selling merchandise and listening to feedback, I have an instinct for developing product potentials that make a favorable impact. And, it may sound like a cliché but excellent service is still our top priority. The employees here at LJI see themselves as the Customer’s Advocate… ‘What can we do to make their experience better, while providing custom products that wow their participants?’”

Leslie Jordan says that she was one of the first to introduce dri-release® shirts to the running community. “That hit an important niche, long before it was a staple in retail stores and impacted the entire industry in a significant way. In fact, being one of the first to promote new fabrics and styles before they are popularized is an ongoing advantage for us.” To date, Leslie Jordan Apparel carries an impressive selection of tech and athletic lifestyle shirts, outerwear and accessories. “We are continually developing new shirts and outerwear – with an emphasis on retail quality” says the Company Founder. “I’m thrilled with the lines we’ve developed and proud to put my name on every item we produce.” Leslie has been putting her name on clothing since 1986 and the testimonials go a long way to confirming her Company’s ongoing ability to be first to market for upcoming trends.

How do you keep the momentum going?

According to Leslie, an important venue for the Company has been sponsoring and partnering with organizations like Running USA. “Conferences like theirs offer an ideal platform to connect with our Customers; share our ideas and hear their opinions. I was honored at becoming an inductee into the Running USA Hall of Champions in 2006, and am thankful for the continuing relationship we have with them.” Leslie is an active voice in the community and was named one of the top fifty most influential people in running; according to Runner’s World magazine (2015 Edition).

Exhibiting at a number of events nationwide, attendees are still surprised to discover that there is a real person behind the Leslie Jordan brand. Leslie is always delighted to hear those comments and introduce herself. She loves to be present at tradeshows and conferences to talk with her Customers and meet someone new. “It’s my high!” Leslie is a natural at connecting with people.

Leslie also continues to keep her team focused on priorities such as exceptional service and inspiring designs to benefit their customers. “I love what I do and see those we provide deliverables for as part of the LJI family; which means their success and feedback are important to us.” She is the foundation of the business’s success, but recognizes the value in her employees and factories. “Good relationships are essential and that is why I invest in my employees and am thankful to have a veteran staff of people who care about what they do, and see how that extends out to our Customers. Likewise, the same applies to our trade relationships; resulting in factories who go that extra mile - or 26.2 for us!”

What is something most people may not know about Leslie Jordan Apparel?

Leslie answers, “That everything is designed, made and tested at our Corporate Headquarters before being launched and produced at our factory. We literally are a mimic of our larger partner factories, going through a detailed process to ensure the highest quality results. For example, after a concept is approved, our pattern makers will sew up the new garment in multiple fabrics; fit test the prototypes; then make up patterns and send with the tested samples to the factory. These important steps at the beginning have proven to be an efficient way to introduce products, with winning results. We don’t have a lot of fluff, but focus instead on investing in things that will benefit our Customers.”

In fact, those who visit Leslie Jordan, Inc. are impressed at how much happens on a daily basis, including a fully staffed art department for creating original designs on apparel & accessories; talented pattern makers & apparel designers engaged in upcoming projects and making sure current orders meet LJI quality standards and specifications; a production team working nightly to follow order status and address any concerns immediately - as well as researching unique requested products; a real time logistics staff to track and re-route shipments as needed for on-time delivery; a large warehouse for stocking blank LJI brand clothing for quick turns; a large showroom; and last but not least, a savvy sales team.

What is your personal life like?

“I walk everywhere and adore my four cats. They are regular visitors to the office; referred to as the office tranquilizers!” Most people who meet Leslie will hear an amusing cat story - or see family photos. She is also a self-proclaimed Foodie’, so her recent move with her husband Ray into Portland’s Pearl District is the perfect hub to seek out inspired culinary delights. Leslie also loves any kind of fashion - whether active or every day attire. Those who meet her will notice her fun and eye-catching outfits; from flashy leggings to dangling earrings and in matching colors! Leslie states, “The Pearl District is a great place to window shop and explore all trends - especially activewear; knowing the diversity of athletic companies that have a footprint in the area.”

What is your next project?

According to Leslie, “We’re currently working on a new women’s silhouette line and excited to introduce styles that combine performance and fashion. In fact, we have already prototyped and received some great customer feedback; one who enthusiastically commented, “I LOVE it! I can run in it and still go to the store; it’s top of the line. Quality is as nice as Lululemon. Love the stitching, neckline and sweep.”

Leslie finishes the conversation with, “At LJI we continuously work to develop cutting-edge merchandise that exceeds our Customers’ expectations! We also enjoy those unique requests. Sometimes it’s a fun novelty item such as a Santa suit or tutu, and other requests are more intricately patterned, like a bag, headwear or jacket. Stay tuned to see what’s next!”

That concludes our insight into Leslie Jordan the Company - and the woman herself. So who is the real Leslie Jordan? She’s an innovator and industry leader, running her endurance race with determination and style.

For more information email ljsales@lesliejordan.com
or visit us at: www.lesliejordan.com
or call us at: 800-935-3343