SET Active Founder Lindsey Carter Runs One of the Country's Hottest Activewear Brands, But She Kind of Hates Working Out
Carter confesses there's only one fitness routine she can actually stick to, then shares her favorite morning rituals and daily habits.
If you’ve taken a Pilates or Barry’s Bootcamp class — or even opened Instagram lately — chances are good you’ve seen SET Active’s monochrome workout sets taking over the internet and workout studios across the country.
Lindsey Carter tapped into a background in social media and marketing when she started SET in 2018, which is part of the reason the brand is so popular with Gen Zers and the influencer set. Since launching with workout sets in its signature Sculptflex fabric, SET has since expanded to include basics like sweats, T-shirts and underwear.
Carter was a typical founder, working long days and avoiding breaks until the pandemic and her newborn son Ace came along, both of which forced her to slow down. Below, read how the founder balances running a growing company with becoming a new parent.
Entrepreneur: Do you have a morning routine?
Lindsey Carter: I’m a new mom, so I think I naturally have fallen into a whole new routine in the morning. My son Ace wakes up quite early, so I try and set my alarm for an hour or two ahead of that in order to get emails done and get ready for the day. I then spend time with Ace for an hour or so, then head into the SET office. My favorite part of the day is spending the mornings with him; it puts me in the best mood for the rest of my day and has changed my energy so I’m not solely staring at a screen for the hours before I get to the office.
What’s your favorite business book?
I would be lying to you if I said I read business books, because I don't. I actually don’t think I have picked up one business book my whole life (I probably should get to it)! One of my goals is to make more time to sit down and read. I do have a list of books that have been recommended to me, though, and I am happy to share them!
Favorite business podcast, TV show, movie or influencer?
Whenever I am in a business funk, I listen to The Skinny Confidential podcast or Ed Mylett. I am in the process of starting my own podcast, and I am super excited to chat all things business, mom life and life in general — stay tuned for that. I watch television to unwind, so I keep it fully non-business there. My favorite TV show is honestly anything on Bravo. I could watch Bravo all day long.
SET Active works with a lot of influencers in the fashion space, so I’m interacting with and following a lot of them for work. It’s hard to choose, but my favorite influencer would probably be Alexa Losey. She is the epitome of keeping it real on the ‘gram. She’s raw, funny, honest, and she uses her platform positively. I always enjoy her content and how she speaks on mental health. Mental health is so, so, so important to me as I struggle immensely with it, so to see her post the good, the bad and the ugly on her Instagram is so refreshing to see.
Do you have any daily habits that make you a better leader?
Hands down, the best thing I did for myself this year was Forma Pilates. Forma is a technique taught by Liana Levi, and it truly has changed my life. Ironically, even though SET is a brand rooted in activity, I never was that into working out, let alone trying Pilates, because it’s challenging and a bit intimidating. This method and experience have truly changed the way I think about fitness and how it affects my overall energy and mental health. There are also an amazing group of teachers who have become close friends who really take the time to know your body and your expertise level so you never feel discouraged. It truly is my form of therapy three times a week. I used to hate working out, but Forma really changed my mindset on how important it is to move your body.
In terms of being a better leader in my business, I take 30 minutes a day to reflect on how that day went for the office: How was I as a leader? Is there something I could have done better? I ask myself a series of questions and really reflect, and those 30 minutes daily allow me to think and pivot to be the best leader I can be.
How much sleep do you get?
Sleep is so important to me. My father always jokes with my friends that I never had a curfew growing up because I always put myself to sleep before 10 p.m. every night. I love getting a good night's rest. My son, Ace, goes down around 8 p.m., then I normally do my bedtime routine, and I get in bed around 8:30 p.m. and watch TV until I fall asleep. On the weekends, I am in bed by 10 p.m., and I always wake up at the same time every single morning — 6 or 6:30.
What’s your work setup like?
I personally really dislike working from home. Right now, we are working from our HQ, which is so fun. The best energy is here in the office, and it’s where I feel most productive. We’re especially collaborative, and I feel like it’s where my creativity gets ignited. I also share a private office with my director of operations, Ally, who is my complement in all things SET. It’s nice to bounce strategic business ideas off each other and really plan the future of the brand.
Any favorite productivity hacks?
Write everything down. I am so old school when it comes to this. I have a notepad with me at all times, and I write down anything that is on my mind on that paper. If it’s something I need to get done, I draw a circle around it. If it is something I have completed, I just simply cross it off. My notepad and calendar are what keep me in line the most.
What’s your favorite way to decompress from work?
My absolute favorite way to decompress is to spend time with my newborn son Ace. One look at him, and all of a sudden, every single worry goes away. I have been having some insane “mom guilt” lately, but I remind myself daily that everything I do from this day forward is for him. I want to give him the best life possible. I also absolutely love to get in bed and watch mindless TV with my husband — it’s when I feel the most relaxed.
What’s the best piece of leadership advice you’ve ever been given?
I have heard this quote a few times and it always resonated with me. I think it speaks for itself: “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly." —Jim Rohn