Liberty Active is an activewear label designed for affordability and with a style that could take you from the gym to the streets without having to sacrifice on fashion sense. Read on for our interview with Becca and Ming, the founders of Liberty Active below:
What was the turning point where you both went from being just friends/co-workers that worked out together to going “let’s start an activewear label”?
Becca & Ming: Prior to starting Liberty Active, the both of us already had plans to start something together but no idea ever stuck or convinced us enough. As we worked out together often, we were constantly expressing our frustration of not being able to find affordable, stylish activewear in the market. We’d get so discouraged by the price tags of the big brands and as for the smaller brands, the fit just wasn’t right for our Asian bodies. One day, I said to Becca that this could be the ‘it’ idea we’ve been looking for. Her reply: “Yes! I was just thinking the same thing!” We both saw a gap in the market and wanted to be the ones to fill it. It started off by sending a survey to a few friends and friends of friends. The positive responses we received then pushed us towards doing the groundwork to bring Liberty Active to life.
What does it require to start a business from zero as women entrepreneurs?
Becca & Ming: Putting obvious responses like capital aside, we’d say tenacity is key. Neither of us had any experience in manufacturing so our learning curve was steep. It involved a lot of research, trial and error and a multitude of setbacks along the way. Passion led us to start Liberty Active, but it’s tenacity that’s keeping us going.
In the last few months, there’s been an explosion of high-end activewear that aims to take you from work to the gym to dinner. What do you think has spurred this resurgence?
Becca: I think this is probably due to women taking on more active, busy roles in their career and at the same time, there has also been an increased awareness in fitness. This then makes sense to create activewear that is practical and functional, without compromising on style. It also exudes a sense of empowerment and confidence as we push to become more progressive – “Whether or not I wear leggings to a meeting should not be the deciding factor of whether you take me seriously or not.”
Ming: I think it has a lot to do with more and more women developing that go-getter, #girlboss spirit and that’s great! Whether we’re working women, students or homemakers, we are active and constantly on-the-go. We value efficiency and comfort and that’s reflected in how we dress, but in no way does that mean that we forgo style!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of Liberty Active and getting new customers?
Becca: I would say social media has been a great driver for us, we’ve heard of new customers discovering us through the Explore section on Instagram. The Workout series that we host each month also emphasises our advocacy of “fun fitness” and enables us to build a community around that belief. These events also give an opportunity to connect with our potential customers and for them to touch and feel our pieces.
Ming: Word of mouth is also important for us- there’s nothing quite like hearing it from a girlfriend you trust! We love our little community of #LAgirls and often look for ways to bring everyone together for fun workouts, as Becca mentioned. They often bring their friends, and then their friends bring their friends. The circle just grows from there and hopefully, it’ll keep growing!
What are the things that are totally different than you imagined?
Becca: It would be the genuine support we’ve received so far – how our customers are willingly spreading the word to their friends. We even had one of our #LAgirls go out of her way to arrange a photoshoot in our pieces and do a write up on us for social media to share with her followers. The people we have worked with have been so supportive as well! It’s nice to know that the fitness community are willing to lend a helping hand to each other.
Ming: The manufacturing process. I’ve always expected bumps along the way but there are some situations that have just left me dumbfounded. For example, when we receive samples that just don’t make sense and look nothing like the sketches we provided. Looking back on it, we laugh. But it wasn’t so funny when we were in that moment!
What are the most common roadblocks that stop people from achieving their dreams?
Becca & Ming: Fear. Fear comes in so many forms but all of them can be paralysing. There will always be a hundred “what ifs” but as cliché as it sounds, if you don’t try, you’ll never know.
If you could lunch with any successful woman, who would it be?
Becca: Definitely Michelle Obama! I think she’s a complete package — intelligent, graceful, humble, successful and kind. For a woman of her stature, she has been a great role model to both girls and women around the world and has kept it real despite it all. They say behind every great man, there’s a great woman and Michelle Obama is the epitome of that — would love to learn a thing or two about her secrets.
Ming: I’m going to cheat a little here and name 2- Katrina Scott & Karena Dawn who make up the Tone It Up duo. They started out as Youtube fitness instructors but have managed to build a huge community of women who support one another in their fitness journeys. I’m sure they’d have so much experiences to share, plus, they look like a lot of fun!
Can you tell us about any habits you have/things you do, which set up success every day?
Becca: I very much believe in the importance of being active. No matter how hectic my schedule can be, I set aside time for a form of activeness in the day. It doesn’t have to be a full on ass-kicking workout session. Something as simple a 20-minute walk would suffice. This allows me to reflect on what has been done during the day, or the day before and any improvements I need to work on to get me closer to my goals. It also helps me to practise focus — something which I feel we struggle with due to all the everyday noise and distractions we are faced with.
Ming: I make a to-do list before I go about my tasks for the day. That way I have a clear overview of what needs to get done and can prioritise accordingly. Oh, and a cup of hot green tea always works.
If you could write a note to your younger self, what would you say in only three words?
Becca: Believe In You
Ming: Yes, YOU can.
Bonus question – If you could describe your personality(ies) to a line from a song, what would it be and why?
Becca: “..know yourself, know your worth” – 0 to 100 by Drake. This line and song speaks to me as it resembles resilience and persistence, both of which have moulded me into the person I am today. By being self aware, I am able to embrace these two values dearly and if I face any obstacles along the way, I stand strong knowing it’s all part of the journey.
Ming: “You can be amazing, you can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug.” – Brave by Sara Bareilles. To me, it speaks about the power we hold whether we realise it or not; power in our words, thoughts and actions.