Home Life Series

Celebrating motherhood, friendships, and role models with Nimble Activewear co-founder Vera Yan

Today on the blog, we celebrate motherhood, friendships, and role models in all their shapes and forms. Join us as we had the pleasure of spending the morning with our dear friend and boss mum Vera Yan, co-founder & co-CEO of Nimble Activewear.

Vera’s exceptional knowledge about parenting comes not only from being a superstar mother to her two children, but also from her dedication to assisting countless women in confidently navigating the journey of motherhood, business, self care AND movement, every day. 

This Mother's Day, Vera shares her inspiring story behind the founding of Nimble, the power of female friendships, and a few pearls of wisdom on motherhood and business success.

Hi Vera, thank you for welcoming us into your family home, we're thrilled to be here! Tell us a little bit about yourself and who lives here with you.

Thrilled to have you guys! I’m Vera - co-founder & co-CEO of Nimble Activewear. I live here with my husband Joe, my son Arthur (3 years old) and our little lady Georgia (6 months). 

We love living near the beach and were on the hunt for something bigger once Arthur arrived when we walked past this house one evening. Our friends mentioned that they had seen a note in the window saying that the owner would be interested in selling so we wrote a letter with a little more about us and dropped it into the letterbox! Luckily for us, the timing all worked out and the owner was ready for his next chapter after 30 years and raising his 6 kids in the house!

You and best friend Katia founded Nimble Activewear in 2014 which continues to grow from strength to strength. Could you tell us more about how Nimble evolved from a passion project to a renowned global brand?

It’s definitely been a journey. We started the brand from a shared love of movement - we were 2 (naive!) girls, living together in Bondi at the time and saw an opportunity to create activewear that combined performance and feminine style. 

The first couple of years saw us testing the concept and opening our first retail store - that store allowed us to connect with our customers first hand to really learn what they wanted from us. We were both juggling other jobs but made sure to work the shop floor every single Saturday - that was an amazing experience to chat to customers first hand to better understand them and make sure that, as a brand, we were listening to & servicing them. It was also at this time that we started hosting classes and other businesses in the store - this was the beginning of the strong community element of the brand. 

Today, the continues to have a strong focus on bringing women together to move IRL as well as conscious practices. We’re pretty stoked to be doubling down on our sold-out community events into FY25 and will also be releasing our first ever Annual Impact Report this year!

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What’s one thing that has surprised you the most about owning and running a business?

The persistence, determination and constant personal growth that it takes! 

Much like parenting, we’ve come to learn that there are many different stages & seasons of business life. Each stage presents you with new challenges that need different skills that we need to learn to navigate. 

Katia and I have been so fortunate to have each other through it all and we’ve always made it a priority to seek out mentors who can help us navigate through each phase. Much like parenting, we went through the baby stage with the business, then the toddler stage…and now as we enter that teenager stage, there’s a whole new set of challenges and opportunities for the brand!

On top of being a superstar entrepreneur, you’re also a mum of two. What does a day in your life look like and how do you like to incorporate movement into your busy schedule?

Movement is a non-negotiable for me as I know that when I make the time to move my body, I have a much clearer head, am more productive and generally am more pleasant to be around :) 

Planning our exercise in has become part & parcel of planning our weekly routine and Joe and I make sure to schedule alternative exercise mornings into our calendar so that we both get a turn! 

I also find that pre-booking into a class or organising to do something with a friend is the best way to hold myself accountable to making sure I actually do it - particularly as we head into winter and those mornings get super dark & chilly!

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Can you share any female role models and how they’ve helped shape who you are today?

My mum! She’s an ex-gymnast and was pivotal in encouraging my love of movement from an early age. She also takes a very balanced approach to wellness & nutrition, rooted in Chinese medicine principles which is something that I’ve noticed that I’ve very much adopted myself and even more so since having a family of my own! 

Katia - being best friends since we were 14, we’ve very much grown up together and therefore shaped each other in the process! I have so much respect for how resilient and determined she is - we have learnt over the years that we have very complementary skills and have continued to build a relationship where there is always space for open and honest dialogue. A lot of the ‘courageous conversations’ and feedback that she’s given me over the years has helped me show up as a better leader and mother :)