Honest Bee Alumni Starts Fashion Startup, Empowers Women Through Honest Activewear

By
Writers@Aspire
Published
April 15, 2021

Despite having launched just last year, Anya Active is already becoming a force to be reckoned with in the local activewear scene. Beyond providing quality products, their brand philosophy is centred around spreading a bigger and more significant message to women in Singapore: the importance of embracing an active lifestyle holistically. Through their range of products, Anya Active aims to encourage more women to adopt an active lifestyle while embracing and accepting their body at the same time.


As one might expect, the person behind the brand and message is a thriving female entrepreneur. We sat down with founder Melinda and uncovered personal insights on how her experience at Honest Bee has helped in her entrepreneurial journey, the story behind Anya Active, and how they are shaping the future of activewear through the message of body positivity.


Please introduce yourself and your company.

I’m Mel and I started Anya Active in early 2020. It’s been my dream to run my own brand and was finally able to turn it into reality last year. I was working in an overseas tech-startup before starting Anya, but things did not work out due to Covid. But I decided to use this as an opportunity to put everything I’ve learned and start my own business—I guess it was a blessing in disguise.
At Anya Active, we offer quality activewear for women that does not come with a premium price tag. We want to empower women to feel strong and confident in their workout. But beyond having an activewear brand, we also want to encourage more women to adopt an active lifestyle while embracing and accepting their body.
Anya Active Founder shares her journey in building Anya Active Shop
Photo credits: Anya Active Instagram


What were you doing before Anya Active?

I started in management consulting after graduation, then I moved on to tech start-ups.
After 2 years in management consulting, I joined Honest Bee in its early stages and was in charge of the laundry vertical/business in Singapore. Since the team was still very lean back then, I had to wear multiple hats—from marketing to customer service, and even last-mile logistics management. I was only 24 back then, so the learning curve was steep.
I’m extremely grateful as those skills later turned out to be really helpful in helping me manage Anya Active! I was also extremely lucky to have met colleagues who became my friends and mentors. I also met a colleague/friend/mentor who played a HUGE part in starting Anya Active--he was the one who constantly pushed me to start researching & laying the groundwork for Anya, way before I officially launched Anya.


What made you decide to start Anya Active?

I’ve always wanted to have my own business (though I didn’t expect it to be this soon). When I went through a crossroads in my career, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to start.
I started Anya because I personally am a believer in embracing an active lifestyle. Unfortunately, a lot of times, we see women working out and push themselves because they don’t like how they look. Having a long history of struggles with body image, I can totally relate, and I believe many others can, too! As a brand, we want to send a message to more women out there to love and embrace your body first, and we promise the journey gets easier.
Also, we want to send a message that activewear is for everyone--you don’t have to be of a specific size or body type to wear it. As with our fitness journey, we all start somewhere. Let go of that expectation to perform or be a certain size and just keep showing up. Let the endorphins and sense of accomplishment carry you through your fitness journey.
Anya Active Singapore is for everyone--you don’t have to be of a specific size or body type to wear it.
Photo credits: Anya Active Instagram


What has been the highlight of your journey as a founder to date?

Previously, there was a lady who came to our studio to try on our pieces. She looked really happy with what she saw in the mirror and later she said she was very excited to wear it for her workout. It was very simple, yet personally very memorable for me.
Getting to meet women of different walks of life, of different body types, seeing them happy and receiving positive feedback is what makes this journey so rewarding.

What was the toughest challenge you faced on your journey as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Working with suppliers from another country without ever meeting them due to Covid-19 and partners who let you down. Another thing is letting customers down in terms of less-than-satisfactory products or oversight in operations.
At the end of the day, I try not to take things personally and not brood over them for too long. I try to remind myself to always take a step back to look at the bigger picture. It helps reframe my perspectives.


How was your search for a business banking solution in your startup’s early stage?

I was using traditional banks back then and was not exactly looking for a new solution. But when a friend introduced me to Aspire, I got excited. It’s something you didn’t know you needed until you started using it!


What made you decide to use Aspire?

The lower transaction cost and its ease of use. It’s more user-friendly compared to apps from traditional banks, which means a lot especially when you are juggling multiple things all the time.


What’s your favourite feature of Aspire?

Its ease of use and the relatively low transaction fees on their platforms.


What is the best piece of advice you’ve received as a founder?

Always choose to do the right thing and do not compromise on this value, even if it does not immediately benefit you.


What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs or female founders who are starting on their journeys, especially in e-commerce?

Focus on continuous improvement, not perfection. Always remember to take a step back to look at the bigger picture and focus on your long-term impact.


Do you have any special offers for the Aspire community?

Yes, we do! Aspire users can enjoy an exclusive 10% storewide discount by using the code ASPIRE10 at checkout (anyaactive.com)
Anya Active Store


Just like Mel’s story, embarking on a new journey as an entrepreneur will come with its own set of unique challenges. But the benefits and experience can be incredibly rewarding. All you need to do is equip yourself with the necessary tools that will help you run your business more efficiently and seamlessly.

With the Aspire Business Account, you can gain access to a plethora of features that will streamline the way you handle business finances—from smart integrations to cashback on qualified marketing spend. It’s an all in one finance operating platform for growing businesses.

psst...you may also like to read:

Building the Next Generation of Founders with Reactor School
Powering Homes, Empowering Singapore’s Thriving Startup Industry: Ohm Energy’s Story

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