Ocean City Magazine June 2020 - Meet The Maker

By Lauren Avellino Turton


Whether on the tennis court, on the golf course, out for a run, or working out at your local gym, the Carlin sister want you to LIVE FOR IT!

Candice Kolins (then Carlin) and Kristen Carlin grew up playing tennis in the USTA in national and international events. Candice played both singles and doubles at the number one varsity position for four years at Villanova University, while Kristen competed as captain at Princeton University. Their true passion for the game, and extensive experience on the court, inspired the sisters to design Cruise Control Gear. Their line is geared toward tennis, golf, and all other sports for male and female athletes of all ages, shapes and sizes.

"After I graduated from Villanova, I was inspired by my dad to start my own business. With my love of tennis and clothing, I knew what I wanted to create. To be honest, I got started playing tennis because of the cute outfits," Candice laughed.

In 2007, Candice launched her business, initially starting with a line of athletic socks. As the company quickly took off, she branched out into moisture-wicking apparel with an emphasis on tennis.

"Our clothing is very high quality," Candice explained. "We work with a great creative team in Peru. They help us design and produce it. They have the highest quality fabrics, and are affiliated with top-of-the-line companies such as Lululemon and Under Armor."

While the Cruise Control outfits are highly functional and comfortable for athletes, Candice said the company wants customers to look good and play better.

"We choose nice, vibrant colors. I like to offer a little sunshine and enhance everyone's mood."

The company name was born when Candice was watching her favorite pro, Maria Sharapova's tennis match, and one of the dominating players was described as, "being on cruise control."

Cruise Control's "Live For It" line of tees, a very hot commodity she said, also came about in a similar way.

“I was walking on the Boardwalk one summer night thinking about an inspiring slogan for my brand, to empower athletes to have a drive to play. I spotted the ‘Life Is Good’ and ‘LIVESTRONG’ shirts, and ‘Live For It’ popped into my head,” she recalled.

Not only is their gear available online, but in retail stores, including Stainton's located at 810 Asbury Avenue and Yes She Can at 30 Tuckahoe Road, Marmora. The luxury athletic wear is also sold at pro shops around the country and internationally, including The Ritz-Carlton Naples Golf Resort in Florida, as well as other elite resorts and clubs.

“As managers of tennis pro shops at both Ritz-Carlton Resorts in Naples, we have been very pleased with the way the Cruise Control line has performed,” said Glenn and Connie Kommer. “The design, quality, fit, as well as the prompt customer service, and profitable price point has made Cruise Control a winner in our shops.”

Nathaniel Harrison of the USTA Middle States commented, “We are excited to grow with Cruise Control and their fine line of performance apparel. Candice and Kristen have been longtime supporters of USTA, and are great ambassadors for the sport of tennis and our organization.”

In addition, they’re outfitting college groups too, like Rutgers University’s tennis players, as well as high school tennis teams.

“On behalf of the Vineland High Girls tennis team, we are really excited about purchasing the Cruise Control tennis wear,” said Vineland Varsity Tennis Coach Harry Silverstein.

“Also, we appreciate the affordable price that we were given.” Lawrenceville High School’s Mick Cimorelli praised the company.

“The apparel we ordered from Cruise Control was high quality, delivered promptly, and most importantly, well- received by the girls,” he said. “Their representatives were incredibly friendly, helpful, and committed to making sure I was happy with my order.”

The sisters have also sponsored the Philadelphia Freedoms, a tennis team which competes in the prestigious World Team Tennis competitions held at Villanova and Saint Joe’s University, to name a few.

Candice and Kristen have recruited brand ambassadors to help promote their products.

Katie Miccarelli, a national fitness coach and former collegiate dancer, is a proud ambassador. After moving to New Jersey a few years ago, she met the sisters at a library story time, and all three moms became lifelong friends, as did their young children.

“When I met Candice and Kristen, I was working on my own fitness business, and learning a lot about social media and online marketing. Candice loved my combined passions of fitness and social media knowledge, so she invited me to join the Cruise Control Gear Family,” said Katie.

As the Head of Brand Development, Katie’s role is to promote through social media, email newsletters, and virtual events. Once social distancing lifts, Katie said she plans to brand and market in person at events.

“Promoting Cruise Control Gear is honestly so natural and organic for me because I love the clothing. I have been wearing Cruise Control for almost three years now,” explained Katie. “I have to admit, I workout hard, tend to sweat a lot, and I’ve washed their athletic clothing 100 times over. The color vibrancy and the supportive fit still hold true to the first day I wore them,”

Katie added that she loves the flattering fits, and ultimate mobility for athletic performance.

“These clothes feature 50+ Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF), they are wrinkle-free, so perfect for traveling, and they’re so soft and comfortable. They feature amazing details, including pockets, a built-in shelf bra, and moisture- wicking, antibacterial fabric too. Plus, they’re not just for tennis and golf players. I’ve actually never played tennis in my life. I sport the Cruise Control Gear for running, bike rides, working out, at home, family walks, even playdates, and everyday wear.”

Jessica Carbone, local fitness and nutrition expert, as well as a mother of two boys, is also a proud supporter and Brand Ambassador. Jessica has been wearing and promoting Cruise Control Gear for over eight years, and said she stands behind the clothing 100 percent.

“I truly love the style, comfort, and durability that their clothes have to offer. Their clothes are so versatile, which is perfect for my athletic lifestyle, whether I’m teaching a spin class, out for a run, or hanging with my family around town,” said Jessica. “My favorite go-to outfit is the Sleeveless Performance Tee along with the Crush Skort. When I’m wearing Cruise Control Gear I feel great and I feel confident!”

Not only do the Brand Ambassadors appreciate the products, but the mission behind the company.

“My favorite thing about Cruise Control Gear is that it’s all about family. The tennis sisters grew up playing tennis together, taught first by their dad, and now they all run a company together,” said Katie. “While Candice has so gracefully and naturally stepped into the role of leader, it’s a family affair, and a true passion they all share. The family loves brainstorming together, and thinking of new ways to serve their client base. Their support for each other, and endless appreciation and service to their clients, really set them apart as a company.”