Developing 'Locker Lifestyle'
GVSU tennis player Katarina Samardzija turns sports into business
Sometimes all you need is just a simple idea. You may have once bragged to your friends that you had that infamous “million dollar idea,” but because of other time commitments, lack of passion and dedication to the project, that idea never became a reality.
However, some of us are more dedicated than others. And in the case of Grand Valley State women's tennis player Katarina Samardzija, she committed to go all the way with her idea.
Samardzija launched her own business called "Locker Lifestyle" this past year. Her product is a fitness multi-use accessory that can be worn around the wrist or arm or used as a headband. The purpose is to let people bring the bare minimum to the gym instead of carrying all their belongings.
Samardzija explained that she created the product after an incident that happened while she was going to the GVSU Recreation Center with some of her tennis teammates.
“All we needed was our ID and key, but we ended up bringing extra wallets, cash and things we did not need,” Samardzija said.
After looking online to solve her problem, she realized that she could create the solution instead of looking for it.
The junior has already won multiple pitching events. Samardzija earned a $7,500 grant from the MWest Challenge back in April and cashed in an extra $5,000 at the 5x5 Night contest more recently.
This is only the beginning for Samardzija. Her goal is to multiply her sales by 10 and to be accepted on the TV show “Shark Tank” this year.
Meanwhile, tennis remains one of Samardzija’s priorities. She plans on pursuing her college career all the way through. This past season, the young entrepreneur won nine out of her 11 individual matches, while winning seven out of her 12 matches in doubles.
Head coach John Black thinks there is more to come with Samardzija both on and off the court.
“Kat works extremely hard and is very coachable,” Black said. “She is constantly trying to improve.”
However, she is much more thrilled about winning in her business than on the court.
“I cannot explain the feeling of winning a pitch competition,” Samardzija said. “It is so much more thrilling to win that over a tennis tournament because I have given up more and (worked) so much harder at propelling my business mentally and physically than I do in tennis.”
Black is confident in Samardzija’s potential as she grows as an athlete and professional.
“I feel that Kat will succeed at whatever she puts her mind to," he said. "She is very driven and works extremely hard both on the courts, in the classroom and at her business.”