Strong is Beautiful … and Fashionable!

Have you had the chance to visit Distinctively Hers, the boutique on the southwest corner of Eldorado Parkway and the Dallas North Tollway? It has been a labor of love from Dawn Wermuth since Jan. 19, 2007, and the store has become a destination for Frisco residents to fulfill all of their fashion needs. It is a place ladies can go to find great clothing and accessories, have fun with friends in a relaxed atmosphere and visit the store’s adorable mascot, Zoe, a 4-year-old Imperial Shih Tzu.

Mrs. Wermuth is originally from the Madison, Wis., area, where she lived for 28 years. She had a friend who opened a store there and she was inspired to start a similar career of her own. “She was having a lot of fun with it, and I was working in corporate America in human resources,” Mrs. Wermuth shares. Her husband also encouraged her to open the store, as they both enjoyed the idea of owning a business. She took the big leap of faith after her corporate job, during a time when she experienced many changes. One day, she decided the time was right to make her dreams a reality. The couple originally found a location for Distinctively Hers in Little Elm, but later moved the store to Frisco.

Mrs. Wermuth’s husband has worked for Best Buy for the past 24 years, so they have moved several times. They have lived in Frisco now for 10 years. Mrs. Wermuth says, “We have no intention of leaving. We love the warm weather.”

What some may not know about the owner of this friendly neighborhood fashion haven is that she is also a competitive weight lifter! She originally started working with a personal trainer, Kevin Shaw, as a way to stay healthy. She joined 24 Hour Fitness, and Mr. Shaw was assigned as her trainer. They worked out once or twice a week. Looking back about five years, she says, “I was giving him a hard time about not being able to get any women to do competitive weight lifting. A week later, I came back and he asked if I had decided whether or not I would do it. He said he thought I would be good at it.” Mrs. Wermuth was hesitant to participate at first. She did not think she would have the time to dedicate to the sport on top of running her own business. Her trainer explained that she would not need to work out more, just differently, so she jumped on board!

Again, Mrs. Wermuth’s husband thought it was a great idea. “He is the most supportive guy in the world,” she says. After Mrs. Wermuth’s first competition, she asked if she should continue and he said, enthusiastically, “Yes!”

Mrs. Wermuth competes in what is called “Push-Pull,” which is dead lifting and bench pressing. If she wanted to do full power lifting, that would require adding squats. This year, she achieved her personal best! “I dead lifted 303 pounds and benched 148 pounds.” These are impressive numbers for anyone! She admits that a casual observer might find competitions a little boring because it is a long day that covers groups of kids, then women and finally men, all in one day. She was amazed to learn how many high schools have power lifting teams when she got involved.

The competition is intense. Each competitor has three lifts total. They are put into flights and there are rotations within the flight. You have to start with a weight you know you can lift because you cannot go down in weight, only up. Each competitor does one lift while being scrutinized by three judges who are all looking for various technical aspects to make sure each lift is done correctly and safely. “For example, when you are benching you come down, it rests on your chest. It has to be still. When you go to press, you have to go straight up,” Mrs. Wermuth explains. They also look to make sure you do not bounce the weight off your chest because that makes it easier to lift. “When you are benching for competition, there is no momentum. It is just dead weight to lift off your chest,” she adds.

For Mrs. Wermuth, the competition is about personal motivation to keep her doing better. She lifts weights four days a week, for about an hour each session. Depending on her schedule, she likes to work one or two days of cardio into her routine. “There is no favorite cardio, it is a necessary evil,” she jokes. Regardless, she still commits to about 20 minutes on a treadmill, Stairmaster or elliptical machine to mix things up. She adds, “A lot of people think you have to be drenched in sweat for cardio to work and that is really not the case.”

When Mrs. Wermuth first got started in this hobby, she was concerned that she would get too bulky. It is a common concern among women and something that scares many away from the sport completely. Mrs. Wermuth focuses on weight lifting for strength, not bulk, and she is conscious of what she does and how she does it to make sure she gets stronger without bulking up.

Mrs. Wermuth says she is impressed with how many more people are getting into the sport. “People you would not think could lift that much weight go up there and lift incredibly heavy weight. I just saw a story about a 94-year-old woman who took up power lifting at 91 and her goal is to get to dead lifting 200 pounds by the age of 100. That is amazing!” Mrs. Wermuth says she sees a woman at her competitions who is around 80 years old and a couple of men who are in their nineties. “The health benefits are half the reason I keep doing it,” she adds.

Mrs. Wermuth competes in two circuits currently. One is the Natural Athlete Strength Association (NASA) and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). NASA holds a competition twice a year in Dallas and AAU has a Las Vegas event she has participated in for the past five years. Mrs. Wermuth has finished first in each competition she has entered. She admits there are not as many women to compete against, so it is not as hard, but it still requires a lot of work to be ready and prepared on competition day. She is determined to get records in 2016 in her age and weight class. She missed them by just a few pounds in her last competition and she knows she can get them this year.

Besides Zoe, her dog who visits the store every day, Mrs. Wermuth has three more fur babies at home. Because of her love for animals, she participates in various activities to support the Frisco Humane Society. Each year at the store, Zoe has a birthday party and donates 10 percent of the sales for the day to the Humane Society. They invite the Frisco chapter to bring out animals to help find their forever homes. One of her own fur babies was adopted in 2014 from the Frisco Humane Society.

Mrs. Wermuth also supports Frisco Family Services. She and her husband have participated in the Thanksgiving drive and even created a t-shirt that said “Small Town Girl.” For every shirt sold, Distinctively Hers donated $5 to the local charity. They raised close to $500 total! They also help with donations for area schools and stay active and involved in the community.

Distinctively Hers is a relatively casual, moderately-priced store. The store carries a wide selection of clothing, shoes and jewelry to cater to age groups including teenagers to older clients. The couple has plans to open a second location this spring. The advantage to shopping at Distinctively Hers (besides seeing Zoe) is the personal relationships built with clients. The store keeps track of your purchases so they can learn your tastes and help your friends or family gift shop for you. Mrs. Wermuth works hard to build honest relationships with clients to make sure that what they buy looks great on them! Distinctively Hers, Mrs. Wermuth’s pride and joy, is a homegrown boutique built from love and a real understanding that service matters. It is a place where women can go to find value, get on-trend clothing and get to know Mrs. Wermuth. Whether you want to find a great new pair of jeans or you need tips on improving your bench press, Mrs. Wermuth has you covered!

Christi Redfearn is a wife, mom and Aggie in search of that perfect lap time in her weekend race car.