You have to end to begin.
Our new collection has been a year in the making, yet much longer in my mind. To be candid, I started Olympia Activewear in 2012 as a project, something to occupy my mind during a tumultuous period in my 20's. Activewear was a byproduct of that time, I was hooked on the endorphins that gave me release from the hard stuff. Yet I couldn't find anything I wanted to wear, no neutral color palettes or minimal aesthetic. So without experience or know-how, I set out to learn by doing. We failed at first when I tried to manufacture in the USA, it was too expensive for our start up budget. The course took me overseas, to another island that felt akin to my Maui home, Bali. I'm grateful to Bali for being a place of many possibilities, and so much spiritual beauty.
I remember my very first sales meeting with my very first samples. Myself and a bag of spandex sitting in a dark corner of a Los Angeles hotel lobby, opposite a handful of super stylish buyers. I had nothing to lose as I faked knowing about 'open to buys, ship windows, and SKUs.' They loved the line - wanted everything I had in stock. The activewear industry was in the initial stages of its boom. Athleisure was not even a term yet. Instagram was barely a business tool, and definitely not a shopping platform. Oh how things have changed.
In my 30s I have started to appreciate uniform dressing. I am finally able to understand what works for my body, my new body, I should say.
The above is not to say we've made it. In fact, it's far from that. This past year was a trying time in the retail business. Maybe for others as well? The industry feels to be shifting, retailers I never thought would go under are bellying up. We are here, but it feels like the ground isn't solid. It's unnerving and at the same time powerful. What will we look like in a year, I often wonder? I decided to let go of activewear, seeing it as a fully saturated industry with only so many places you can go design-wise. In my 30's I have started to appreciate uniform dressing. I am finally able to understand what works for my body, my new body I should say. I had my son in 2018 and suddenly the leggings and sports bras dropped out of rotation. Instead I needed high waisted jeans to help flatter my new, softened belly and button front blouses for nursing on demand. Easy to wear dresses in feminine prints and relaxed silhouettes. I wanted to feel put together and pretty in something I threw on, even if I hadn't had the time to shower that day. Thus a new concept formed; a more authentic notion of a brand. I'm excited to offer women this new collection. We are using entirely natural fibers, linen, silk crepe, organic cottons and a really beautifully classic chambray. It's everything I want to wear.
The work has always been hard, and the learning curve steep, but it has always been worth it. When you create every aspect of something, it ends up (for me) being deeply personal.
The work has always been hard, and the learning curve steep, but it has always been worth it. When you create every aspect of something, it ends up (for me) being deeply personal. I feel the same nerves now as I did back in 2013 when our first website went live. So with a big exhale, I leave you our new collection of ready-to-wear. This is an end and a new beginning and I am thankful for it all.