Zola Eve is an activewear brand that’s sustainable (as we use recycled materials and minimise waste), ethical (as we produce our garments at fair trade factories) and empowering (as we support women’s empowerment initiatives).
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
I’m a huge advocate of all things wellness and taking control of our physical and mental wellbeing, especially after experiencing corporate burnout in 2018. Yoga helped me during times of extreme stress so I decided to bring my passion for fashion and yoga to life at the end of 2018, by creating an activewear brand that gives back. Giving back was hugely important as I’ve grown up with the saying: “For whom much is given, much is expected”.
Zola Eve means peaceful living and I want to bring peace to women who consume our brand (be it purchasing our apparel/goods or attending our wellness events) and women who create the brand (our makers). The vibrant colours of our current collection are an infusion of my West African heritage and makes a difference to the plain solid colours often found with yoga apparel.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
The pandemic was tough for us, as pre-Covid, around 80% of our revenue was derived from in-person events and exhibitions. Capitalising on our online presence was difficult, as prospective customers were tightening their belts, competing on price was against our fast fashion values and we found it hard to get our voice heard in a competitive sea of big and new, smaller players.
With the guidance of the team at the Inspiration Space, I paused, tried not to panic, and took advantage of this period to revisit our value proposition. During this time, I took the time to evaluate Zola Eve’s mission and purpose and mapped a vision that aligned with our target customers’ values.
What does the company have planned for the future?
I’ve created a CIC, a social enterprise structure, which I intend to deliver Zola Eve’s renewed mission through. I’m planning to partner with charities and factories to upskill marginalised women who’ve been trafficked into the UK. I’ll create a vocational course focussing on seam-stressing and technical fashion skills, then employ them on fair wages, for Zola Eve’s future artisanal collections.
In the near future, I hope to have engaged a cohort of apprentices and opened a flexible physical space, an artisanal studio, where we can showcase our products, our customers can learn about our brand, meet our makers, make purchases and attend wellbeing events.