We’re shining a light on local small business owners to help make this holiday season merry and bright.
(Long Island, N.Y.) The very first time I got a ‘wow’ wearing gym clothes was this past summer when I sauntered in the kitchen feeling rather confident in my new gym outfit. My husband actually did a double-take. Wow-worthy, flattering workout wear? Yep, and it’s called Apifeni. This new clothing company is truly different-you just feel slimmer and thinner, longer and curvier.and dare I say hot?!?!
Their proprietary ShapeTech Waist technology supports the core and provides incredible coverage – women wearing our clothes can bend over, lunge, sit cross legged and take inversions like headstand without having to worry for even a second about the bottom showing or their tummy popping out of their pants. “I designed Apifeni because I was unsatisfied by everything else available – low rise pants are simply not a great fit for most women’s’ bodies,” says Danielle Dobin, creator and chief executive officer of Apifeni. “They slip down, they create a bulge around the waist and if you bend over, whether to exercise or to pick up your child, it’s likely that half your bottom or at least your thong/underwear will show.”
If you’re looking for a last-second gift, or better yet, something to buy yourself to get you motivated to hit the gym (and turn heads!) in 2012, then read on. I caught up with Danielle to chat about how her bright idea took shape.
What made you decide to start your own fitness clothing line?
After I had children, I found existing activewear to be unflattering and not at all functional. Low rise yoga pants simply exacerbated any issues around my core and I disliked being unable to bend over – whether at the gym or simply to pick up my child – without exposing too much from behind! I began to notice women all around me constantly hitching up their pants in cardio class, while running errands, at the market and especially in yoga/barre/zumba classes. I was inspired to create a collection of active wear that would encourage women to feel self-confident, not self-conscious and Apifeni (pronounced “epiphany”) was born!
In a nutshell, Apifeni blends high-performance activewear with compressive shapewear resulting in the most flattering, comfortable & supportive activewear available.
How did your friends and family react when you told them about your idea?
They were shocked! I had spent my professional life as a corporate lawyer at one NYC’s largest law firms and then in real estate investment and development so creating a global activewear brand was hardly a natural “next move” for me! However, once everyone tried our original prototypes they became complete “apifanatics” – our biggest fans. My sister, who is a very successful business woman along with my mom, truly mentored me through this entire process. My incredible girlfriends in LA, NYC, Westport & Washington have been our best brand ambassadors.
What was the most challenging part of starting your own company?
It wasn’t starting a company that was difficult as much as creating a line of clothing that so equally balances aesthetics and function. I wanted to create a line that bridged the gaps between traditional activewear, innerwear/shapewear and stylish sportswear…it was critical that we source the perfect fabrics to really make our line work. I took various trips abroad, worked with multiple pattern-makers and developed a strong relationship with the management of our factory – we actually sew all of our garments in the USA!
The entire idea behind our line is to embrace the modern woman’s lifestyle…so that our customer need only change her shoes, not her clothes, and confidently wear the same Apifeni outfit throughout her day. Our clothes are designed to transition from drop-off to the gym or a yoga/pilates/zumba/barre class to lunch to cocktails and beyond. I’ll frequently pair our leggings with a ruffle tank for yoga and then slip on a pair of boots & a flow cardigan and transition to lunch or dinner out. We like to say that our Vinyasa Capri is equally perfect for Pilates and preschool drop-off!
Your clothes make a great gift for any gal–moms, aunts, wives, friends-even yourself! How can we buy it?
Apifeni is not available through traditional retail stores. Instead, we sell online through www.apifeni.com and through a talented network of Apifeni Style Directors nationwide. Our Style Directors show our collection at in-home trunk shows in communities across the United States, from Boulder to Boca Raton.
Next week, I will actually be in Long Island for a trunk show in Hewlett with our brand new Nassau County Style Director! We also offer free shipping off of our website and gift certificates are available on our site and through our Style Director. An Apifeni gift certificate is the perfect stocking stuffer!
Entrepreneurial women who are into fashion & fitness can explore the idea of joining our sales team on our website as well.
You and I first spoke early this past summer when Apifeni was just launching. Did you ever expect to grow so quickly? What’s been the best part?
Our growth has truly been explosive! Our clothes have been embraced by top editors – Allure, SELF, Shape, the Washington Post and countless fitness & mommy bloggers- who are raving about it – even Oprah – there’s a feature in January’s O Magazine! We’ve been on local news stations across the country and we’ve sent orders to just about every state and to buyers as far away as Singapore! New Style Directors are joining us every day and we are excited to grow our team even further. It’s been an exceptionally wonderful experience to be the force behind so much economic activity and so many new jobs – from helping promote manufacturing here in the US to empowering all of our Style Directors to run their own fashion businesses.
We are 100% woman owned and we donate a portion of proceeds from every sale to Women for Women International, an incredible organization which empowers and supports women survivors of war all over the world. We even purchase offsets so that all of our shipments to customers are carbon neutral. Unlike most other activewear brands which are either public companies or owned by private equity funds, Apifeni is 100% woman owned and I like to think that it shows with regard to our company values and the way that we run our business.