Every runner knows that nutrition and hydration are important, whether you’re doing a long distance race or simply out for a jog. But in some parts of the world, people lack these basic necessities for survival. Athletes can help change that by shopping for Janji, running apparel that helps fight the food and water crisis worldwide. A portion of funds from each purchase of Janji (which means “promise” in Malay) is donated to organizations that alleviate these problems.
Now that summer is upon us, one of the must-have items from Janji is the singlet, available for both women and men in two colors. These are fitted, stylized tanks ($28) made from 100% poly mesh with a reflective logo on the back for added visibility. For every singlet purchased, you give a year of drinking water to one person in Tanzania through MSABI’s deep-water well projects to make water safer and more accessible. I caught up with Dave Spandorfer to learn more about his company.
Q: How did the idea for Janji Running apparel come to be?
Mike and I first came up with the idea for Janji on the way to the Division III Track championship meet heading into my senior year in college. We knew so many runners gave back through races, so it made sense to create a running brand that lets runners give back after they crossed the finish line.
As we ate our power bars and drank from our water bottle, we realized that if we could give something as critical to running as nutrition and hydration through something as basic as a pair of shorts, we could help runners make an impact each and every time they went for a run.
Q: What is the biggest challenge of running the business?
We always have so many big ideas at Janji, but at a small company it’s all about focus. So we’ve worked hard to ensure that we’re focused on giving the best experience to the runner and helping make the biggest impact in the countries where we work.
Q: And biggest reward?
Recently I’ve been to Haiti, we’ve had someone go to Peru, and Mike just got back from Kenya. Seeing the impact that runners can make through something as simple as what they wear… that’s what keeps us working so hard on Janji.
Q: What is something readers would be surprised to know about you or your business?
Mike and I both had no experience in business before we launchedJanji. I was a history major and Mike was an urban studies major. What really motivated us was our mission and just figuring out how to make great running apparel that excites runner like ourselves. From there, we were able to talk to smart people and, hopefully, we learned something along the way.