When Linda Ludwig became a regular runner after having three daughters and completed multiple marathons, she wanted to celebrate with a little reward. As runners, she says, “we’re always proud of what we do, and we want something to show that.”
She was looking around race expos and says, “I couldn’t find what I was looking for.” When she didn’t see any running-themed jewelry, Linda decided to make her own 26.2 to hang around her neck.
From the metal and stamping tools she bought at a Michael’s craft store, this teacher from Marquette, Michigan, tapped into a potential side business. In 2014, LL Always was born. “You do say yes sometimes before you know what you’re doing,” Linda admits.
She put together an Etsy store, and before she could even come up with a full business plan, she had an order. Peggy from North Carolina wanted a 13.1 necklace. Since that quick start, her family (including three teenage daughters) has joined in on the fun. Her husband, Matt, helps with everything from stringing beads to going to craft shows.
In fact, she’s part of the inspiration for the white flower and was one of the original 13 flowers who ran together and inspired the beginning of Fellow Flowers. For the Motigo app, Linda recorded a motivational message for the Dreamer runners detailing her five rules of “doing it scared.”
She says, “That does not mean do it stupid.” Linda explains how much preparation and commitment it takes to quiet your doubts. She also acknowledges that it’s gotten easier for her as she’s lived by this philosophy.
When her family bought an RV, they wanted to see the country before the kids graduated. Since she and her husband are teachers, they’d go on a month-long summer drive and saw 42 states over eight trips. “You don’t regret the things you’ve tried,” she says. “I don’t want regrets.”
If you’re nervous about something, Linda’s advice is to explore why. She says, “You have to look into it.” That helps her move forward.
She also thinks about the impact and results of what she does—like the adventure of the jewelry business and the cherished time with her family. But it’s the response from women who love her pieces that keeps her motivated.
“My jewelry makes me people cry,” she says. “It fills my soul.”
Check out Linda’s jewelry at llalways.com and look for her designs nationally in Fleet Feet stores.
Written by Nicki Miller / Follow her at @nickiontherun