The incline of the fitness world is prominent in Sydney's iconic cultural hub of Bondi Beach, but with unrelenting growth the choice of fitness products can become complicated, overwhelming and expensive.
Katia Santilli and Vera Yan found this through their own frustrations and sought after an alternative, but could not find anything with a focus on quality, affordability and femininity. Having been friends for over 15 years, the two swift minded women shared the same vision for activewear and with their combined dexterity, Nimble was born.
The demand of Nimble Activewear's products have since grown and Mr & Mrs White worked with the Nimble team to help them create their first flagship store on Hall St, Bondi Beach.
In the following interview, Mrs White gains insight into the the genesis of Nimble Activewear, how they got to where they are today and their vision for the future of the label.
An Interview by Mrs White with Katia Santilli and Vera Yan of Nimble Activewear.
What’s the story behind Nimble Activewear? When and how did it all begin?
The idea for Nimble Activewear grew from our own frustrations when shopping for activewear – we found that the choices fell between high end names that cost a small fortune, budget options that didn’t have the features we wanted from workout clothing and high tech brands that lacked a feminine touch. We would be rushing home after every workout to make sure that our favourite pair of tights (which did cost us a small fortune!) would be washed and dry for our workout the next day.
There was a real gap in the market for sophisticated women’s activewear that was not only truly accessible but that also offered the performance qualities that you need while getting your sweat on. It was from this realisation that the idea for Nimble Activewear grew as we set out to create the pieces that we, as consumers, were looking for.
How have your backgrounds (Katia - high end international retail / Vera - Corporate Law and banking) helped you to create your own business in the Activewear market?
We find that our skills are really complementary and allow us to tackle different aspects of the business. We also think differently and challenge each other to approach tasks and problems from a different perspective – we are constantly learning from each other and building on our own skill sets.
Despite having such different backgrounds and skills, we have known each other for over 15 years and share the same vision for Nimble Activewear which is very important in ensuring a harmonious office!
Your products are designed and made in Australia - Did you always know you wanted your products manufactured in Australia? What do you value in Australian made products?
We are passionate about supporting the local industry and have always made it a priority to ensure that, where possible, our products are manufactured in Australia.
For us, being locally made means that we can work closely with our manufacturers every step of the way – we have a great relationship with our makers which really helps when we are developing new products and testing out new technology. We also find that being locally made allows us to react much quicker to trends and feedback to make sure that we’re constantly innovating and offering our customers something new and importantly, what they are looking for.
Let's chat about your first store you have just opened in Bondi. Has retail always been on the cards or was it something the brand journeyed into?
Although to date we have mostly been an online business, bricks & mortar stores have been something that we have always considered – it was just about finding the right time and right space for the brand.
We have always had a really positive reaction at pop-up stores where customers have been able to touch and feel the products so when the space on Hall Street came up, it made a lot of sense to go for it and create a space where customers could really come in and experience what Nimble Activewear is all about!
Your brand is all about health and wellbeing - Did you want your shop to reflect this image?
Absolutely! We definitely wanted our store to reflect our brand and aesthetic but also to fit in well with the surroundings and the Bondi Beach location.
We also hold a range of health & wellness events in the store – from community fitness classes to seminars and book launches – so it was very important that the store was a welcoming space to house those events.
What do you love about the materials you chose for your shop fit-out? How has the response been so far?
We love the timber as it gives the store an earthy yet beachy feel whilst the copper adds a really nice feminine and sophisticated touch. It has been a great combination of materials for us and fits really well with our brand aesthetic.
The response to the fit-out has been fantastic and we are actually getting lots of people coming in wanting to have your details for their own fitouts / homes etc!
What’s next for Nimble Activewear?
We’re expanding our range and bringing out some more leisure pieces as well as a swimwear range later in the year. More stores are definitely on the cards and we’re keeping our eyes peeled for the next space…
Visit the Nimble Store - Shop 1, 49 Hall Street, Bondi Beach NSW 2026
Photography by Joshua White