Co-founders of Nimble Activewear, Katia Santilli and Vera Yan, took the biggest risk of their lives to start their business.
At first glance, Katia and Vera look like two ordinary besties who hang out on the reg over a morning yoga class and coffee catch up. But hold that thought – while they’re both lovers of a power sweat sesh and a good morning coffee (make that a strong soy flat white), these two humble girls are the masterminds behind the trendy clothing brand, Nimble Activewear.
Since its launch back in 2013, Katia and Vera have been slaying the fitness world by gracing the workout wardrobes of fitness enthusiasts all over the world with activewear that is as stunning as it is functional and affordable.
Five years on and the business now pulls in a whopping $4 million in revenue annually, where the two opened their flagship store in February 2016 in Bondi Beach, which may we add, is the most aesthetically-pleasing store to walk into.
Yes, the powerhouse women are absolute #goals of the business world, but they started their business on the side without any outside investment, while still juggling their full-time jobs, proving their success is only a result of all the hard work, commitment and sacrifices they’ve made.
“Being a self-funded business, cash flow and effectively funding our growth is one of the biggest issues we’ve faced – on the flip side, one of the positives of this is that it always keeps us on our toes and ensures that both we and our team are innovating and constantly challenging the status quo and how things are done,” Vera tells mybodyandsoul.com.au.
And things haven’t always being smooth sailing, with Katia even explaining they had some early manufacturing issues where “one of the legs on [their] leggings was shorter than the other.”
While problems like this might make others feel hesitant about starting their own business, Katia and Vera simply see it as a learning experience.
“We are both pretty stubborn and determined – even though there have been many tough moments, ‘not making it’ has never really been an option. There have certainly been moments when we have felt like we were in over our heads, but we see each of these as being part of the learning process and it’s when we are pushed that we really grow,” Katia says.
So what’s their key advice for budding entrepreneurs? Two words: Be prepared.
“Go and seek out mentors in the industry. Listen to the advice of others and don’t be too tunnel visioned – be prepared to pivot and change your idea based on market feedback,” explains Vera.
But starting a business doesn’t mean saying goodbye to your social life, and family and friends.
“We make a conscious effort to balance our time between the business, socialising and also time to ourselves. It can get hard at times to pull ourselves away from work, and although it can be very consuming, we have found that taking time out to refresh and reset is incredibly important to ensuring that we are at our best,” the power entrepreneurs say.
Nimble advice from nimble BFF’s.
Game of Thrones workout by Bodyism’s James Duigan.