Active in Style is an activewear retailer. We offer a unique edit of the best fitness fashion labels from around the world and sell them through our online platform as well as our flagship store on the Kings Road in London. Our aim is to provide women with an inspiring, motivating, fun active wardrobe that is stylish, supportive and comfortable and performs for their every workout need.
I did a post-grad in journalism at London College of Fashion and my first job was at The Financial Times on their weekend paper.
From there I moved across various media titles and became editor of industry publication Fashion Monitor. In 2008 I moved to Australia and qualified as a PT before I joined Australian activewear brand Lorna Jane as PR & Communications Manager. It was there that I was given the opportunity to bring Lorna Jane to the UK. So I moved back in 2012 and started importing Lorna Jane and Active in Style was born as a platform to sell it into the UK and European markets.
Once I’d moved back from Australia Active in Style was my day job, I had to make it work as I had no other option.
I worked by myself on the business for the first 2 years before employing two interns. Once I became pregnant with my second child, my husband joined the business. He worked in banking and it was a huge step for him to leave his secure job and come work for a start up retailer!
I love working with him most of the time.
There are obviously days when we disagree on things and it’s hard to get past those but you have to remind yourself it’s just business related and not personal. Mostly though we work well together and have different skill sets and focus on different areas of the business so we try and keep our work loads separate.
It becomes hard when you can’t switch off from work though, evenings, weekends and even holidays are often full of times spent talking about the business.
The Active in Style website launched on a Friday and my daughter was born on the following Monday.
So I was in the hospital checking my phone for orders coming through and then sending my mum and sister to my house to pack them for me!
You soon get used it though and because I’ve have always done it right since the launch it kind of just feels normal. She was a great sleeper and I used to work while she slept; we were running things from my house so it was easier.
My second baby was a different story though as we then had an office and a team and he didn’t sleep!
A crying baby in the office disturbing everyone was tricky. You soon settle into a routine though and you just have to juggle. My main aim though is to either do one of the other – so if I’m at work I don’t have the children there and if I’m at home with them then I try not to check my emails at all as combining the two is stressful and exhausting.
I try and read as much as possible and social media is a great way to see what is happening.
I find that Australia and the US are way ahead of the UK and Europe in terms of activewear so what is popular there is likely to make its way here. It’s also interesting to see fashion trends come through in activewear too. Shapes of jackets and sweaters, as well as colours from the seasonal fashion collections, come through in activewear collections.
Back in 2012 we wondered how we could get the business going when no-one seemed to be that interested in wearing activewear as a lifestyle product.
Now everyone wears it and lives in it. It no longer seems to be a trend but a way of life and a significant part of people’s wardrobe. The availability of new and exciting brands is better and quality is better.
We’ve always been about forming relationships with influencers.
When you have a great working relationship with them then it feels less transactional and they buy into what you’re doing which makes it more genuine looking. We were lucky enough to work with a lot of the bigger influencers right from the beginning. Chessie King, Hazel Wallace, Cat Meffan, Zanna Van Dijk, Carly Rowena, Alice Living, Lottie Murphy were all Active in Style models a few years ago when we started out.
These days we are more inclined to work with girls who have smaller followings 15 – 40k followers as they tend to have more engaged audiences and are able to be more involved with the AiS brand.