Featured on KOS Magazine
As we step deeper into summer, many of us are beginning to hear the tired rhetoric of having a ‘beach body’ and seeing the same old ‘lose weight fast’ advertisements. For many, fitness groups and activewear have never been a place where they have felt like their body was represented or accepted.
Tahui Active is an online clothing brand hoping to change the way we perceive fitness and make every woman feel comfortable in her body and her fitness goals. Founder Ani Tumai-Crawford chats to KOS for day nine of the 12 Days of Givemas.
Q: Since we discovered your company, we’ve fallen in love with your messaging and your store! What is your passion and drive behind Tahui Active?
The inspiration that really flourished the idea of Tahui was the women in my family, in particular, my mother. I grew up watching her struggle to find clothing and I watched as she held a piece of clothing she liked and then put it back on the shelf realizing they did not stock her size. I couldn’t bear to imagine the amount of beautiful women who would be experiencing the same.
I wanted to create an activewear brand that embodies and advocates for body positivity, size inclusiveness, diversity and self-love. I chose activewear because feeling strong and powerful is my passion.
Q: Have you always been interested in the fashion industry? Was there something that sparked your love for clothing and fitness wear in particular?
Definitely not, I never had an interest in the fashion industry. However, I have always had an interest in health and fitness. I did PE in school, played netball my entire life and various school sports.
When I finished high school, I joined the gym and that is really when my love for activewear started. I only had one quality pair of leggings and when I went to search for more I realized there really weren't any inclusive sizes available, they all stopped at L-XL!
This is when I was reminded of the memories of my mother unable to find clothing in her size. Activewear made me feel strong and was a distraction from the scary thoughts of entering a gym.
I couldn’t get over the fact that plus sizes weren’t available and it made me think of all the strong, plus size women in my life who were restricted from accessing activewear.
I want to be able to provide quality, comfortable and inclusive activewear that doesn’t damage your wallet but also allows us to continue our growth and our message.
Q: Tahui is designed for powerful, strong and independent women. Is there a particular strong woman who inspires you the most?
My grandma, Tahui. She is a powerful, strong and independent woman who is the light of my life. I named this brand after her as she represents everything Tahui stands for. I also wanted to have a legacy dedicated to her.
Q: How do you want people to feel when they wear your clothing?
Amazing, confident, strong and supported. Purchasing activewear is scary and entering a gym in activewear can be even scarier! I want each and every woman to feel like they are wearing a brand that is all about them, supportive of them, advocates and loves them no matter their size or shape.
Q: How do you feel about the powerful community and culture you have created with Tahui Active?
Our Tahui tribe( as we like to call them) are the most amazing, beautiful and supportive people. We are truly shocked every day at the amazing people who love and support Tahui. These are people just like me; mothers and women who have trouble accepting themselves.
A lot of the positive feedback we have received stems from the amount of representation we show on our Instagram and our website.
Walk us through your creative process and space. Do you have any favourite materials to work with? What part of designing activewear do you like the most?
Firstly, I create a mood board of what I would like our upcoming collections to look like. I create a vibe, choose colourways, describe rough designs of where I want pockets, logo placements, etc. and I send it to our designer.
Once we finalise the designs, we review sampling swatches and colour pantone swatches. Then, we send our tech packs to our manufacturers and start the sampling process. My favourite part of the entire process is receiving our first lot of samples!
It is so exciting to see your designs in your hands in real life and then to wear and trial them. Sometimes they’re perfect from the very start and other times a lot of amendments are needed – both just as exciting as each other.
We have worked with a few fabrics that we love but we have recently introduced a new fabric made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. We want to decrease our environmental impact on the world and this will be a huge step in that direction for us.
Q: Since creating Tahui Active back in 2019, how have you seen your label change over the last year?
The growth from our first launch in October 2019 to now has been overwhelmingly amazing! As any other small business, we have ups and downs; days of no orders and then days where I’m barely able to take a breath.
In February I started to post our journey on Tik Tok, the behind the scenes of our business and started to document my pregnancy journey and from there our Tahui tribe grew, and the love and support of our brand and message blossomed.
Up until March 2020, I worked full time an hour away and then would arrive home at 7pm to start work all over again. In late March, due to COVID I was unfortunately put on maternity leave early.
This was somewhat a blessing in disguise as I was able to put 100% of my effort into Tahui before the baby arrived. After the beautiful arrival of my daughter in May, it has been non-stop go-go-go.
We dropped our winter hoodies that were a success, we just released a restock that has kept us busy, we’re about to move into a new warehouse and we will be releasing two new collections in the next three months. I’ve seen my confidence grow, and I have watched customers fall in love with their bodies and our products.
Q: What would you say your greatest creative achievement thus far is and what’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt?
I would say my greatest creative achievement thus far would be our leopard and butterfly print booty bands – I was so happy to see that they sold out in two days!
The biggest lesson I have learnt this year is to slow down before I crash. Work is exciting to me and the message and passion of the brand really motivates me to keep going.
However, sometimes going too fast can lead to nowhere. I want to balance being a mother and a business owner, and the only way of achieving that is to slow down.
Q: What are your upcoming plans for the future of Tahui and where/when can readers find out more?
To normalise size inclusivity, advocate for body positivity and self-love. We want to bring forward even more representation of different body types, ethnicities, and ages to continue our goal of normalising size inclusivity across the fashion industry