Pip Edwards reveals exactly what it takes to build an activewear empire

Here, the entrepreneur shares her ‘secret’ to business success, exactly what she eats in a day and the wellness rituals she swears by. (We’re all ears.)

Photos: Instagram @pip_edwards1

She sits at the helm of a global activewear empire that counts Kylie Jenner, Kayla Istines and Bella Hadid as fans but creating a successful, recognisable brand has been no walk in the park for fashion entrepreneur Pip Edwards.

(Actually, it’s been more of a HIIT class – fast-moving, lots of sweat and quick-fire results.)

The Bondi local co-founded P.E Nation in March 2016 with Claire Tregoning (the pair were co-workers at sass&bide once upon a time), and their first 25-piece collection sold out “hours within launching,” according to news.com.au.

“Now Edwards and Tregoning release four 80-piece collections a year,” which grace the floors of David Jones and Selfridges; webspace at the likes of MyThersea and Stylerunner; and a well-earnt spot in the cupboards of style-setters, bench-pressers and anyone who takes their activewear seriously.

And the secret to her success? There is none. It all comes down to “a very well thought out strategy,” Edwards tells myBody+Soul.

“We have merged great product with a strong visual identity and brand voice. P.E Nation is very recognisable and that is obviously a success in many ways – from customers to retailers to internal staff.

“Social media also played a huge part in the launch of P.E, as it was the platform that allowed us to show who we were and what we were about.

“People bought into the vision and the vibe of the brand before we even showed them the product,” says Edwards, who expanded P.E Nation into a new realm today: menswear.

It’s a milestone she says has been a highlight on the journey so far, though she admits “there have been so many incredible moments” since setting the website live less than two years ago.

“Our collaboration trainers with Reebok, being honoured with prestigious awards, a pop up store in Selfridges in London, our debut MBFWA show and today’s launch of menswear have all been highlights, but the best thing is coming to work each day alongside my best friend and business partner Claire, [where we make] our dreams a reality.”

The pair have certainly carved a niche in a competitive market (according to Morgan Stanley, international activewear sales are expected to generate $US83 billion by 2020) and Edwards has some salient advice for other founders looking to take their start-up or side-hustle to the next level.

“Whatever industry you’re in, you need to do what you love, love what you do and you will always do it well. A start up requires 100 per cent of your focus and time and it’s non-stop… you have to live it, breathe it and believe in what you are doing to push through the obstacles that are sure to present themselves.

“From cash flow to production to structure and processes, start-up businesses are challenging – but we like to look at every challenge as a way to do things better. There are no problems, only solutions,” continues Edwards, who says your “attitude is everything.”

Staying positive for the mum-of-one, though, isn’t as simple as a rising sales graph – it’s a delicate balancing act, and wellness plays a huge part in this vegetarian’s quest to feel good.

“I start every day at FluidForm Pilates. I have always been fit and active but after launching P.E Nation, it became clear that my mind needed a way to switch off, too.

“I am always on and I find it really hard to find calm and quiet because I’m always thinking about what’s next.

“A shoulder injury meant I couldn’t do HIIT workouts anymore but I think it was my body’s way of saying I needed to try something new. I started FluidForm Pilates for recovery but what it actually did was change my perspective when it came to overall health and wellbeing.

“It’s not only transformed my body, but made a huge impact on my mind,” she says, sharing that eating well is another crucial element in her health regime.

“It starts at breakfast with two boiled eggs with tabasco and a skim mocha. I snack on nuts and crackers and lunch is usually a salad from the Clean Treats Factory as it’s next to our office.

“In the afternoon I snack on dips of all kinds – carrots or baby cucumbers dipped in green tahini, hummus or capsicum relish, and dinner is generally tabbouleh, roast veggies (mushrooms, pumpkin, cauliflower, sweet potatoes), guacamole and miso soup.

“I try to be as clean and as close to being vegan as possible (bar the eggs in the morning) for the best results for my body, and eating this way suits my blood type. It gets me the results I want, but it’s hard to maintain sometimes when my social schedule demands more,” she admits, and fits in complementary treatments, “regular B12 shots and sessions in a floatation tank” to keep her energy levels up, and mind rested.

“I’m not the best at meditating and being in a floatation tank is like a forced meditative space.

“I also love using a foam roller for my thighs and back – it’s just an all-round feel good process and easy to do anywhere! I do a lot of active stretches worked into my Pilates routine and I get monthly remedial massages to relax my muscles and realign.

“Walking the dog is also a good calming, active type of recovery,” she says, and we have to admit – it’s our favourite form of LISS, too. Especially when clad in P.E Nation.

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