This Australian Activewear Brand Almost Didn’t Exist

Katie Fowler
by Katie Fowler

Three years ago, best friends Vera Yan and Katia Santilli leapt into the unknown and launched the Bondi Beach–based Nimble Activewearnot knowing what the future would hold. Both Yan and Santilli were working in corporate industries and yearned for something greater. So, after moving to Bondi at the same time, the duo fell in love with the health and wellness movement that goes hand-in-hand with the beachside location, and started talking about launching a business together. And if it wasn’t for their moments bonding over their favourite gym classes, Nimble Activewear would never have existed. 

Fast-forward to today and the pair continue to celebrate success after success, now boasting more than 37,000 Instagram followers, celebrity clients, and even showcasing their latest collection at Fashion Week Australia. We caught up with the dynamic duo to talk all things startups, challenges, and of course, health and wellness.

Scroll on to read our inspiring interview with the young founders.

MYDOMAINE AUSTRALIA: What are some of the things people don’t realise about starting your own company?

VERA YAN: How under-resourced you can be—especially if you’re used to a big company with loads of services—and how important it can be to find the right staff who thrive in a startup environment.

KATIA SANTILLI: It’s certainly not glamorous. You really do need to get your hands dirty and be prepared to be a jack-of-all-trades.

MD: What is your number one piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs?

VY: Go and seek out mentors in the industry. Listen to the advice of others and don’t be too tunnel visioned. Also be prepared to pivot and change your idea based on market feedback.

KS: Stick with it—perseverance is key. Be prepared for the hard work, stick with it through the lows and make sure that you celebrate your wins.


A post shared by Nimble Activewear (@nimbleactivewear) on

MD: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve each had with starting your own business?

VY: Learning to switch off every now and then, and prioritising my to-do list effectively. And cash flow.

MD: Did you both always know you wanted to get into health and activewear?

VY & KS: No, not at all. We had both been very health-conscious growing up but had never intended to pursue careers in the industry. We were actually both on very different career paths in different cities and fell into the industry after we both moved to Sydney—we would constantly be catching up over our favourite gym classes and really fell in love with the healthy lifestyle.

MD: How important is staying active to you both?

VY: Incredibly important. Especially in this day and age where we are all so chained to our desks, computers, and phones, it is so important to set aside that time to get out there and move your body. Not just for the physical but also for the mental benefits.

KS: It’s always been a big part of my life—I use it as a time to really switch off and connect with myself, which is so important to achieving balance.

MD: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

VY: I am loving the motto, “Done is better than perfect”—it’s not so much advice, but this is a very relevant statement to any budding entrepreneur who is trying to juggle many hats.

KS: Always look to the future. Make sure that you have an idea of where you want to be in the next six months, 12 months, and three years so that you can continue to innovate rather than just be reactionary.  

MD: What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?

VY: That you will always regret what you didn’t do rather than what you did.

KS: Be persistent—nothing worth having comes easy.

MD: How do you start your mornings?

VY & KS: We both love to start our day with exercise—our days can become very hectic so it is great to set aside the time each morning to get our bodies moving and prepare for the day ahead.

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