The Real dk.
What kickstarted your interest in the activewear industry?
This is something that fell into place for me along the way. I’ve always been passionate about design.
Throughout my childhood, my head was always full of design ideas; from fashion, housing and even industrial design! I was fortunate enough to follow my passion through different courses, with studies in both design
and creative arts. I suppose it was the creative arts side that helped lead into activewear, especially after
This really translates through to one of my favourite facets of activewear design - it’s almost like problem solving! I work with the shape of the body, and I really take the time to think about how people move and feel in their clothing, and what I can do to make that a better and more positive experience for them.
That’s what I believe is missing in the fitness industry; a focus on choosing internal wellbeing and self-love, rather than trying to look a certain way or adhere to a certain fitness regime. It doesn’t always bring you joy.
dk active products are conceived, produced, and delivered right here in Brisbane. Why is it so important for you that dk active products be ethically and Australian made?
My father is a builder, so I’ve always had an understanding of the hard work that goes into each and every component of a completed piece of work, down to every last nut and bolt. To deliver the very best, you must be in control of every component. To carry out my truest passion of creating, with integrity, I have to ensure it’s not just words, but that every stage along the way carries those same ethics.
So, when I began designing activewear, I visited a lot of manufacturers and fabric suppliers internationally, because it is so important to me to know how things are made and where they come from. I never wanted one of my creations to come to fruition at the expense of someone who is exploited. It’s simply not fair, and I saw a hell of a lot of it in my travels.
I also wasn’t happy with the standards that I found overseas, so from both an ethical and a business standpoint, the only option that remained for me was to start doing it on my own, right here in Australia! That’s when the real journey began. I found an amazing patternmaker, built a great Aussie team, and here we are today.
dk active supports Australian jobs, which again is not the easy path. And it’s not only the great team we have on the machines, but also the opportunities that we offer to students and interns, technicians and a whole myriad of great people we train, and who carry the same ethos of dk active.
What difficulties did you face while getting dk active off the ground?
When starting a business there’s an absolute myriad of obstructions in your way, and it’s certainly a lot harder than it looks! But I suppose the main difficulty I encountered with the launch of my brand was to find my voice and stick to it. When you have so many people offering their input and differing opinions, it can really confuse your thought process and decision making.
I had a turning point when I came in one weekend while the office was empty, and I looked around at what I had built and realised that it was my own. My dream, my passion, my brand. I remembered that I was strong, capable, and that I had to stay true to my vision.
What words of wisdom do you have for other women aspiring to establish their own business?
Know exactly who and what your brand is before you begin. It’s so important for your brand to have a strong identity so that you don’t lose focus.
I also can’t emphasize enough how important it is to do your research! Be thorough and investigate all the different factors that will contribute to the overall success of your business, because they are all just as important as the other. Meet as many people as you can, ask as many questions as you can - and don’t feel silly about it. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, as long as you are learning along the way.
And like any business, be prepared to put in an unbelievable amount of sheer hard work and long hours!
How important is an active lifestyle to your sense of wellbeing?
Hugely important! For me, an active lifestyle is all about my mental wellbeing. Like I said above, there’s a huge amount of work to get through in launching and nurturing a brand, so my go-to move to clear my head is a run, or to walk my dog Otis. I feel refreshed from being outdoors, and I come back completely refocused.
If I’ve been spending too much time at my desk, I head straight for my yoga mat. Even a quick twenty-minute practice at the end of the day helps me unwind and relieve a bit of tension from my shoulders.
It’s important to be kind to your body, and to love yourself enough to look after it.
What words of wisdom do you have for women just getting started with their own healthy living regimes?
Again, it’s about being true to you. Try out different types of exercise until you find something that you like. It shouldn’t feel like a chore - you should genuinely want to do it! Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t like a certain workout, or it’s not within your capabilities. Try something new, and it will all fall into place.
If your workout makes you happy, your life will naturally become more active, and this is more sustainable and realistic for everyday life.