Meet Annica Rantala, CEO At Women’s Activewear Brand: Stronger

Stronger is a Sweden-born, D2C lifestyle brand that specialises in activewear for women globally, combining comfortable, high-quality, and breathable materials with unique aesthetics. Our mission is to make life more active and fun by blurring the lines between workout and relaxation.

Founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 2013, Stronger quickly became a key local competitor to giants like Nike and Adidas, and rapidly grew into one of the best-selling activewear brands in our home market.

Since then, we have expanded to over 100 markets. Stronger launched in the UK in 2018, and it’s currently one of our fastest-growing markets.

We have a fundamental emphasis on our clothes being designed with the women wearing them in mind – not designed for how men will perceive the clothes being worn, as activewear has often traditionally been created. The hand-drawn prints made by our in-house artists are inspired by nature and natural elements, and made to represent our customers’ inner and outer strength; the two lines you see throughout our collections represent the balance between the two.
 
 

 

What’s the story behind the founding of the company?

 
Stronger was founded in 2013, when active lifestyles were becoming increasingly popular and fashionable, and the trend of ‘athleisure’ was also taking off as a result of the fitness boom.

Our founders spotted a gap in the market for a brand creating quality activewear for use both in and out of training. Stronger initially launched as an activewear brand, with all garments made from breathable materials with fits created to be supportive for different body-types, yet versatile enough to be used beyond exercise purposes.
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
As a fully D2C brand with a dedicated online consumer community and without reliance on bricks-and-mortar retail, we were fortunate to be in a position not to be adversely affected by the pandemic.

Since the beginning, long before Covid, a key ingredient to Stronger’s success has been our ability to build online communities and work closely with influencers. Another is our unique process for product development and design, which is driven by customer feedback and market testing, as opposed to industry trends, and is agile enough to be regularly adjusted and updated to reflect customer tastes.

These two things served us well during the pandemic – we kept doing what we’ve always done, by trusting and listening to our customers, and creating the high-quality products that people asked for.

We have continued the growth of our offering and range during the pandemic, responding to the desires of our community. In 2020, we added loungewear, with products designed in soft materials and for ultimate comfort. We also launched our swimwear collection the same year, which has proven to be really popular.
 

What can we hope to see from Stronger in the future?

 
We’ve been on a strong and consistent trajectory, and the future is looking very bright. Our growth has been steady for many years, with our expansion in the last half-decade particularly good. Global sales grew by 1000% between 2018-2021, and our website today receives 15 million global visitors and processes more than 50,000 orders every month.

There is plenty more to come from Stronger. We will keep listening to our customers and delivering the best products we can to inspire healthy lifestyles and empowerment from the inside and out. Our mission is to help women all over the world to strive to find the strongest version of themselves by living an active lifestyle – we’ll continue working hard to do just that.