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Hybrid weightlifting belt leads to thriving new business | Made in SA

A woman took her knowledge of fitness and fashion to create a new small business.

SAN ANTONIO — There's prep work before Stephanie Giacalone puts in the work at the gym -- strapping in her shoes, locking in her weights and putting on her lifting belt.

But for this former gymnast turned professional weightlifter with a back injury, it takes focus, precision, and for Giacalone, that belt to make the lift.

"Being a weightlifter with a back injury has always been a really difficult thing," Brooklyn Lifting Co., owner, Stephanie Giacalone said. 

During the pandemic, when she was locked away in her home gym, Giacalone realized the belt she relied on so heavily wasn't always making the cut.

"I was wondering why these belts weren't working. Which is why I ripped one open one day, and next thing you know, they were all made the same with cheap materials," Giacalone said. 

Giacalone, jumping into action, taking her knowledge of fitness and schooling in fashion to get to work behind her sewing machine. Measuring and cutting each piece of leather and fabric before sewing her "hybrid belt" together.

"Mine are different because mine are built to last. I would love if people came back for more belts, but if a belt lasts a lifetime, I'm also really proud of that," Giacalone said. 

Giacalone is now two years into running her belt business, Brooklyn Lifting Co. Its name is a reflection of her home and the place that shaped her most.

"Brooklyn in my adult years just… it's the reason who I am today. It gave me that grit, that grind," Giacalone said. "That's also where I became a personal trainer, became more creative and started working at my first CrossFit gym. So that city Brooklyn saved me and helped me build this business."

Her belts are giving her a new identity. Its customization by herself and BMB Stich Factory, helping her customers to show off theirs.

"I've had athletes, from beginner all the way to athletes who have gone to the CrossFit games, that have worn these belts," Giacalone said. "It just shows who they are as a person because they are always showing their fitness, but now they get to show a little something else about themselves."

Inspiring this weightlifter and business owner with every belt made.

"It feels like everything is coming together, and for a purpose at this point. So, I feel like I am going to try to make this as big as I can and even bigger than it already is," she said.

Visit Brooklyn Lifting Co. to learn more about her belts and other custom lifting accessories.  

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