Co-Founder and CEO, Carbon38
Katie Warner Johnson (KWJ) is the co-founder and CEO of Carbon38. In her role, KWJ sets the strategic priorities of the business and leads the company in growing all areas, including marketing, merchandising, private label, technology, product, and analytics.
After graduating from Harvard University in 2007 with a BA in architecture, she deferred a position with Deutsch Bank to continue her first passion, ballet, but after numerous injuries and draining recoveries, she eventually had to retire as a ballerina. In 2008, she entered the world of fitness as an instructor and trainer, working her way to becoming one of the top celebrity trainers in Los Angeles. The idea of Carbon38 struck her after she noticed the level of interest her clients took in the clothing she wore. After an invitation to the Women 2.0 startup weekend in San Francisco, she became interested in making a business out of that very idea, and there Carbon38 was born.
In 2013, KWJ launched our e-commerce site with only 5 fitness brands. Fast forward to today, we now carry over 80 brands and offer a curated selection of top brands, our own branded label, and innovative collaborations with other designers and artists.
In just 5 years, KWJ has grown Carbon38 to a $50 million business, opened stores in both Bridgehampton and the Pacific Palisades, secured $25 million in funding, and hired over 90 employees who share her vision, mission, and values. And she is just getting started.
As KWJ continues to grow Carbon38, she wants to empower women to embrace a new way of dressing – one that combines the DNA of activewear with beautiful ready-to-wear silhouettes, helping to actually improve the way we live our lives. She is also a strong supporter of women within the fashion industry. According to the CFDA, only 14% of women’s global fashion brands are led by women, and KWJ is determined to influence this number. Lead by her vision of a more balanced fashion industry, Carbon38 is committed carrying primarily female-led brands (this accounts for 70% of our current brand selection) and is also committed to acting as an incubator. Supported with our bold creative, we showcase new brands on our global platform, helping them to establish their brand, drive revenue, and grow their customer base.
KWJ has been named a member of Marie Claire’s New Guard, was honored as one of Goldman Sachs Builders and Innovators, and in 2016 was recognized as one of Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women