The activewear industry is reportedly worth $270 billion worldwide, and according to a recent study, it’s predicted to grow in Australia by more than 20 per cent in the next three years.
Entrepreneur and Bond University student, Alisha Geary is using her business acumen to capitalise on the growing activewear trend. Bright, colourful leggings dominate the women’s clothing market right now, but Alisha’s fashion label, Faebella is producing them with one huge point of difference.
Inspired by her Indigenous heritage, Alisha’s printed leggings feature the artwork of Indigenous Australians, bringing one of the world’s oldest art forms to life in a unique, contemporary way.
“Activewear is a new trend that has made a huge impact on the fashion industry, and I felt that it was the perfect fit for the colour and energy expressed through Indigenous art,” says Alisha.
“I want to bring Indigenous art to a wider audience so more people can appreciate its cultural history and beauty.”
Alisha pitched her unique clothing label as part of Bond University’s Bond Business Accelerator program and won $5000 to help kick-start her dream into a reality. The incubator program also follows students through all facets of their startup, from mentoring, skills and training to investor introductions to help build the student’s ideas into fully-fledged businesses.
The 21-year-old uses her network of relatives and connections to find Indigenous artists with different stories to tell, but what sets her apart is her sincere passion for the product that she’s producing. With a manufacturing team based in Brisbane, her leggings are entirely locally sourced and produced in Australia. What’s more impressive is that she does all of this while studying Business and Law full-time and reading a minimum of two finance books a week.
Alisha credits her “overachieving friends” for inspiring her to startup her fashion label. “It’s true that who you hang around with ultimately determines who you are as a person because I feel like if I didn’t have entrepreneurial friends, I would never have started in the first place.”
“Startups and entrepreneurship take a lot of bravery because you’re doing it on all your own, you don’t have someone hovering over you 24/7.”
While Alisha has plans to be the next Lorna Jane, she knows it’s not a possibility without first understanding the numbers and financial side of the business.
“Financial literacy is so important because it can ultimately determine whether your business is going to be successful. Startups are so closely linked to the creator that if the creator has no idea, the startup doesn’t stand a chance.”
Her focus is putting the acquirable, transferable skills she learned at Bond into practice with her dreams of taking Faebella global. “The Bond Business Accelerator program has been invaluable. It’s given me all the practical skills I need to help make Faebella a commercial success.”
“My perspective on what I’m able to do in life has broadened. At the start of university, I thought I’d just study and get a good job afterward. I’ve learned that you can go your own way and do well. You can get a lot more fulfilment from that, and I think being an entrepreneur matches perfectly with my personality because I love being creative.”
While Alisha is currently working with mentors from Bond’s Accelerator program to help bring Faebella to market, it’s undeniable that Alisha’s Indigenous background has provided her with a unique platform and story to tell, and choosing to tell it via activewear is a genius move. We wish her every success.