HipS-sister

Mompreneur’s smart designs make hands-free functionally chic

Posted on December 8, 2018

“The thing I believe is that entrepreneurs are born that way,” says Sonia Kanner. But the argument could also be made that Kanner, a former special education teacher turned stay-at-home-mom, was nudged into entrepreneurial pursuits when life took an unexpected turn. “I found myself divorced and needed to go back into the workforce,” remembers Kanner, who was reluctant to return to her career in education, which would limit the time she could spend with her kids. “I thought, ‘I can create a business.’ I’ve always been kind of an entrepreneur ever since I was a little girl, so it just came very naturally for me.”

HipS-sister

Sonia Kanner in HipS-sister’s “Del Mar” leggings

Whether born or made, there’s no question that Kanner has found success blazing her own entrepreneurial trail as owner and founder of HipS-sister, a sleek, multi-purpose wearable storage waistband. “I was frustrated because my friends and I have access to all the best activewear on the market, yet we were still holding our phones and our keys when we’d go for hikes or walks,” says Kanner. After seemingly limitless searching (a Google search even included “sexy fanny packs”), Kanner took matters into her own hands. She cut off the top of a pair of yoga pants to fashion her own around-the-waist pack prototype, posted it on Facebook, and, she says, “everybody went crazy.”

That initial concept became HipS-Sister in 2012, featuring Kanner’s snug waistband-style pack. The step-in design has no clips or buckles, which makes it as ideal for secure travel as it is for local hikes. It holds items like phones and keys so users stay hands-free, and its sleek, flush-to-the-body design keeps everything close without bulk. “It has been tested,” says Kanner. “I have women who’ve run marathons in it — the thing doesn’t move.” A new, California-made legging line launched earlier this year marries the initial band concept with high-quality leggings in playful designs that include the waistband’s key storage features, including pockets large enough to even hold a water bottle.

Kanner’s satisfaction with her success so far is twofold. First, “It’s a solution for people and it serves a function, and I love making people’s lives easier,” she says. The other side is a bit more personal. “What drives me the most is being an example for my kids, because I have literally seen them have more confidence and believe that they can do things because they’ve watched me do it. So, that drives me as much as, if not more than, me doing it to prove something to myself.”

Ultimately, Kanner hopes to inspire other would-be creators and business owners, too. “Try to find out what is unique to you and what is your gift, and get out there,” she urges. “Who knows? You may be inspiring people who you don’t even know you’re inspiring.” In addition to the company’s website, the HipS-sister brand can be found locally at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, Bliss101, Urban Girl Accessories, Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, and even SeaWorld. hipssister.com   Deanna Murphy

Photo by Bob Stefanko