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Cherri Perkins

Cherri Perkins has been a certified personal trainer in Dallas, Texas, for the past three years, and over that time, she’s learned much about what motivates her clients – and what doesn’t.

One particular mark in the latter column surprised her; part of many women’s reluctance to visit the gym was the simple fact they felt uncomfortable wearing workout attire in public.

Perkins’ clients were aware of her background as a fashion design graduate of Texas Tech University, and they began asking her to craft garments that didn’t showcase their flaws; something appropriate for exercise that wouldn’t cling so tightly or would flatter a problem area.

“I thought, ‘Maybe if I make something for them that they’ll feel confident in, they’ll want to go work out more,’” Perkins says.

And thus, Built In Beauty was born.

The idea for the fledgling “athleisure” line began forming in January 2016, but Perkins says it was a year later before she finally sat down and committed herself to making it a reality.

An Artesia High School graduate and the daughter of Clif and Selah Perkins, owners of La Fonda Restaurant, business is in Perkins’ blood.

“I’ve always wanted to be a designer, ever since I was around 6, but after I graduated from Texas Tech, I took a couple of internships and didn’t really like it,” she says. “I wanted to work for myself. My parents owned a business, and I’d just always felt like I should, too.”

Perkins wasn’t able to find her niche in the Dallas fashion community and opted to pursue personal training.

“I’ve always loved fitness and working out, so I went that way,” she says.

It turned out to be the correct direction, as her career as a CPT has now opened the door for her fashion design aspirations, as well.

She began working on her designs in July, and by October, her inaugural line of tops was ready for distribution, all created with the goal of providing women garments appropriate for working out that are equally appropriate for comfortable, everyday wear – hence the term “athleisure.”

“The whole idea is to empower women and make them feel more comfortable,” says Perkins. “A lot of women are scared to go into the gym, they don’t like the way they look, but if they’re wearing something that makes them feel confident, they’ll be motivated to go out and better themselves.

“Women these days also wear workout clothes anywhere, so I wanted to make something that would bring in both demographics – people who want workout clothes for the gym and people who like to wear workout clothes just because they’re comfortable.”

BuiltInBeauty.com launched Oct. 13 with a selection of three tops, and Perkins is currently working on a line of leggings that will be released at the end of January. In addition to her online store, Perkins’ designs will also be available locally at K&K Boutique, 325 W. Main St., beginning Jan. 15.

The hometown designer says she’ll continue to add to her collection but that releases will remain small in order to allow her to add new inventory throughout the year and keep her offerings fresh.

She encourages women to peruse her line, either online or at K&K, and, should they find something they like, wear it with confidence.

“These clothes are meant to make you feel good about yourself,” says Perkins. “I want to help women create a positive mentality and find the beauty within themselves.”