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Robyn Ashdown is the founder of Tomboy Ltd, a specialty fitness retailer for those who believe strong is sexy and fit is the new feminine. Because it is, right? Hell yeah.

Robyn chats to Go Hustle writer Ondela Mlandu about how she turned her passion for fitness into a business.


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What Tomboy Ltd is really about

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do because of your build, height, gender, size, etc. We are all so capable, we just need to remain focused and determined,” says Robyn. Yup – the idea of inclusivity extends way beyond every woman feeling great in her gym kit (though the gear will make you feel like you can conquer the world too!)…

READ MORE: How To Land Your Dream Career In The Fitness Industry

Tomboy Ltd is about building strong relationships with women in all industries. It’s about a community that empowers by creating an ecosystem that supports women in business and their unique needs.

Tomboy Ltd’s focus is to enable all women, qualified or not, no matter their age. Not everyone has been provided with the same opportunities or education, explains Robyn. “In fairness, though, some of the most successful people in the world don’t even have a matric qualification. That’s why we’ve created our community, to help each other, support each other, promote each other and increase the opportunities that are available to us through our own networks,” says Robyn.


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The admin side of the business…

“We are a part of a group of companies that operate under the name Business Brawlers,” says Robyn. “They specialise in helping to build start-ups and SSMEs, from the basics of creating a business plan all the way to identifying risk in your business when it’s up and running.” In fact, there are a number of similar companies out there to help you get started.


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Let’s talk about the brand name… Why Tomboy?

“A woman lifting weights and focusing on building muscle is still stereotyped as butch, a woman who shaves her head is automatically assumed to be of the LGBT community or ill, a woman who wears baggy clothes is assumed unattractive or insecure – our lives and how we live them are still rife with judgment based on preconceived notions of what is and isn’t womanly,” says Robyn.

READ MORE: The Dynamic Duo Who Are Bringing Women Together

“We’re challenging the norm of what’s considered sociably acceptable – hence our name, Tomboy. The actual noun means ‘a girl who enjoys things that people think are more suited to boys’,” says Robyn. Society has always deemed what is and isn’t acceptable for a woman to do – only in the past 30 years has that started to change, but we’re still not 100% there.


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Leadership lessons learnt along the way…

1/ Patience really is a virtue; you definitely need it, even though it’s damn hard. And be kind to yourself, always.

2/ Keep your head held high and don’t let your crown slip. We were born to conquer and have the natural intuition to do so.

A book every woman should read…

“One of my favourites is Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning. It really teaches you to understand the human psyche and emotional capacity,” says Robyn.

Connect with Robyn

You can reach out to me via Instagram @Tomboy_Warrior or via Facebook @RobynLeighAshdown

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