In 2014, best friends and Premium members Vera Yan, 31, and Katia Santilli, 32, created Nimble Activewear as a feminine, stylish and affordable alternative to the expensive, bland workout clothing on the market. Fast forward to now and the brand turns over $5 million annually, has a growing team and two award-winning bricks and mortar stores, but it’s their commitment to sustainability that we wanted to talk to them about today.
The Bondi-born brand has saved over 550,000 plastic bottles from going into landfill (and our oceans) over the last year through its core COMPRESSLITE range that’s been created with fabric made using post-consumer use recycled plastic bottles.
Six recycled plastic bottles are used in each pair of COMPRESSLITE leggings and two recycled plastic bottles are used in every sports bra.
“We’re really committed to finding ways to lessen our environmental impact and as such, we’ve also turned our focus to our packaging and are rolling out compostable bags with our online orders as of July to further reduce our eco footprint,” says Katia.
We sat down with Vera and Katia to talk about their commitment to being an environmentally friendly brand ahead of World Ocean Day (June 8).
Why is sustainability so important to you?
KATIA: Being part of the apparel industry, one of the largest polluters in the world, we wanted to make sure our business was making considered decisions in the manufacturing process of our garments. For us, it’s about reducing the impact that our business has on the environment and minimising waste where we can.
Our COMPRESSLITE range is made using recycled plastic bottles and by June this year, the fabrics made from this range will have saved 550,000 bottles from ending up in our landfills or oceans.
Most people associate sustainability and Nimble with the use of recycled plastic bottles in our clothing but for us, the concept of sustainability is across our whole business and everyday practices and company values. By having this framework we have made choices such as choosing to revenue fund our growth and this also ensures that we partner with suppliers and other businesses who believe in this mission.
Will you look to include more sustainable fabrics in the rest of your activewear product line?
KATIA: Yes, absolutely – we are constantly working with our fabric mills and production team to develop and source fabrics that are made from recycled elements where we can.
We have shorts made from a recycled PET (i.e. made from recycled bottles) coming out later this year and are also working on bringing out tops made using recycled fabrics too.
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We’re also conscious of the amount of packaging that is used in the apparel industry – we have been testing a number of different options and are proud to say that all products launching from July onwards this year will be packaged in compostable bags.
Climate change is such a key topic, what do you envision happening to brands who don’t have an ecological eye on the future?
VERA: In today’s environment, we – as consumers – are increasingly aware and interested in the broader impact that brands and companies are having on our society. The expectations placed on companies are also changing generationally and we are seeing customers demanding more transparency and information than ever before.
We’re certainly seeing a trend of brands being more open about taking a position on social and environment issues – as consumers shift, the brands that don’t keep up with this risk losing relevance and the ability to maintain an emotional connection with their customers.
A brand made by women for women
Positive environmental impact aside, Nimble Activewear is also committed to empowering women in need around the globe.
Nimble Activewear has raised over $35,000 for charities that support women in Australia and all around the world. Through its partnership with i=Change, one dollar from every online purchase supports women escaping domestic violence through Women’s Community Shelters, educates young women in East Africa through Akilah Institute, and provides much-needed essentials to Syrian refugees through CARE Australia.
“We’re proud to be a brand made by women for women that’s committed to making a positive change to our environment and to the lives of those in need,” says Vera.