Case Study: Senita Athletics
Note: click through Instagram posts to find accompanying stories in each post’s caption.
Senita Athletics was launched in December 2015 by sisters Jenna and Maddie. While their brother has type 1 diabetes (T1D), reaching out to the T1D community was not part of their original business plan. They began their athletic wear company with a focus on creating functional pieces and that’s it. They became known for their pockets; as new moms, they knew they and the women their products were created for always needed pockets.
A few months after Senita’s launch, an active member of their customer community reached out to let them know their pockets were also ideal for the many devices, snacks and more carried by people with T1D.
In November 2018 for National Diabetes Awareness Month, Senita decided to do a special JDRF-blue product set with 10% of proceeds donated to JDRF. It was a nod to their active community members with T1D but with the launch, their T1D-customer base exploded.
“When we put our first Instagram post up launching the campaign, we realized that so much of our community was affected. Type 1 diabetes touches everybody, whether they knew it or not. We ended up reach a whole new audience who felt like they were being heard.”
“From a business standpoint, people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want their money to go toward something with impact. We’re a small business so it’s not our business model to do something every single month, or every single day. But we’ve been able to make JDRF and T1D our thing. We’re not saturating ourselves or pigeon-holding, but we’re passionate about T1D and will continue to be.”
When reflecting on their 2018 campaign, Jenna from Senita says, “we underestimated how much our community wanted to know. We were over-conscious about not shoving the campaign down people’s throats, but we learned that people wanted more – from a visual standpoint, from a story-telling standpoint. Every piece of content we did related to the campaign did really well – it received more comments, likes, and shares than any campaign we’ve done, even brand new product launches. In the future, we want to share more stories.”
Senita has now run their JDRF campaign several times. In 2019, they added products to their JDRF blue line, introducing a special edition tank top and new JDRF blue items including a new patterned legging and sports bra set.
In addition to Instagram posts, their 2019 campaign also included a special Just My Type campaign landing page, and dedicated email to their Senita Sisters customer list on November 1.
While the intentional focus on T1D is during November for National Diabetes Awareness Month, the brand also includes T1D models throughout the year, with devices like continuous glucose monitors (CGM) seen in marketing images, while not being called out in any way. This special, quiet nod lets the T1D community know they’re still being thought of and included, even outside of the dedicated campaign. Their product packaging even features drawings of members of their customer community, one wearing a CGM.
“We put effort toward being inclusive. It can be difficult to find diverse models but that’s the motto of our brand – that fitness is for everybody. It’s all important to us, and T1D inclusion just rides right along with that. Women of all sizes, all ages, all background. It always pays off. Always. It’s very intentional.”
In addition to successful campaigns on behalf of JDRF, Senita has seen an increase in loyal customers because of their T1D campaigns.
“When we started the campaign, we thought it would be small. We quickly found out how global T1D is. Everyone is connected to someone with T1D, everyone cares about someone with T1D, and their buying practices will be affected by it. People with T1D are a very loyal community, fiercely loyal. Any business owner wants to have a loyal customer.”