Janji is a Boston, MA based running brand that aims to create great looking and extremely functional running apparel that not only becomes their customers’ favourite, but also has a positive impact on the world. The name is the Malaysian word meaning ‘promise’ and was chosen because the founders set up their business to expand access to safe drinking water around the world.
Each collection is based on designs unique to each location where the brand wants to support clean water initiatives. This means that Janji running apparel has a unique look. We find out more from co-founder Mike Burnstein.
LtW: Where is the brand based?
Janji: Boston, MA. USA
LtW: Can you give us a short history of the brand.
Janji: My college teammate, Dave and I started Janji back in 2012 after we graduated. We loved running and felt like what was out there was a little lackluster, so we recruited a few friends and set out to start a company that used the sport we love to make amazing running apparel as well as address clean water issues around the world.
LtW: What is your personal relationship with running now and how has running played a part in your life, going all the way back to your childhood?
Janji: Running has been huge for me. It definitely kept me closer to the straight and narrow starting in high school and developed into a full blown love affair from there. I loved the camaraderie of having teammates and I adore competing so the combination that cross country enables nailed it for me. Today I’m more casual, I enjoy trail running and hope to one day get back into the marathon game. Everyone once in a while I like to challenge myself with a big, challenging adventure. Last summer I did the Pemi Loop in, which is a tough 30 mile mountainy loop in New Hampshire.
LtW: What were the key motives for you creating a running brand?
Janji: Runners are amazing one of a kind community, and I didn’t see a brand that matched the bold style or the philanthropic generosity that my favorite runners embodied.
LtW: What have been the biggest challenges for you building your brand?
Janji: It’s certainly tough going against the big players without close to the same resources in terms of budget, R&D, etc. Everyone on the Janji team has to sort of cover 3 or 4 areas that would each be separate jobs at a bigger brand.
LtW: What do you consider to have been your biggest successes?
Janji: I think making it 8 years into the business is big. I don’t know the average but I have to think that’s longer than the average company lifespan. We’ve also been able to contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars towards amazing organizations focused on clean water, so that is something we’re super proud of.
LtW: Whether inside or outside of running, who do you admire and why?
Janji: I love REI Coop’s, Rapha, Jordan Brand, United by Blue, Aire Libre, Ciele Athletics and Outershell.
LtW: What do you hope that people will think, when they consider your brand?
Janji: I hope they see us and think adventurous, authentic, fun while also giving a damn about the world and of course that we make amazing quality one of a kind apparel.
LtW: If your brand was a runner, what type of personality would they have
Janji: We like to think of our runner as somebody who doesn’t necessarily race competitively but likes to challenge themselves with adventurous running feats, like running Rim2Rim2Rim in the Grand Canyon. They are definitely somebody concerned about the world, but at the same time optimistic about humanity.
LtW: What is different about your brand from other running brands?
Janji: Our designs are very unique – each season we collaborate with different artists around the world to make each collection totally unique from the rest. For example right now we have the Philippines Collection and the prints were all designed by Manila Based illustrator named Rax. Next season will be totally different again. We’re not necessarily following the same trend reports that a lot of brands stay in line with.
LtW: What plans do you have coming up for your brand?
Janji: The [Covid-19] pandemic has certainly changed our plans, especially surrounding in-person experiences but we are excited to continue to focus on building our community online. We have a new collection coming out in the Fall and we usually travel to that region to shoot on location, but this season I’m excited to collaborate with local runners and photographers to shoot the line remotely. We’ll send the gear halfway across the world using Fedex and find photographers using Instagram. It’s amazing how technology can connect people.
LtW: Is there anything else we should know about Janji?
Janji: If you want to get involved with the brand the best way is through our Janji Collective Membership program – you basically donate $50 towards our clean water partner and then earn a ton of perks: discounts, first access to new gear and maybe best of all you join an amazing community.
Find out more about Janji on their website. And you can follow the brand on Instagram @runjanji