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Two young ladies in their late 20s want to revolutionize Singapore’s active wear industry

They sell their own designs at low cost.

Running a business in Singapore has not been an easy path, especially for first time entrepreneurs as young as like Jaemi Leong & Elly Phneah. Jaemi, who just turned 29, is an amateur pole dancer and active in joining competitions. Elly, who is turning 28 this year, was a former journalist covering business and technology, and now works in a public relations agency. Jaemi and Elly were joined in the same performance team in a pole dance studio, and got introduced by a mutual friend. They decided to work together in putting up active wear store called NakedWear as they believe their strengths complement. With a strong passion for sports, keeping fit and spotting active wear trends, Jaemi is described as logical, a sharp strategist. Elly, meanwhile, is talented at helping brands build emotional connections with the public, and is also creative and well-connected.

Naked Wear is an online active wear store based in Singapore. It designs and sells sports bras, athletic shorts, leggings and flash tattoos, which can be used for a variety of sports ranging from cardio-related sports such as running, high intensity workouts and cross fit to aerial sports such as pole dancing and acroyoga. Compared to other sports wear labels, designs of NakedWear are inspired by the movement and confidence of a woman.

The idea of setting up a local label that is especially designed for Asian women started out of frustrations of the current market. Jaemi explained that they noticed that many active wear available in Singapore were mainly imported and are expensive. On the flip side, active wear on the lower end of the price range did not have the necessary quality to support women with sports such as the right fitting and cut. “For instance, many sports bras did not come with paddings, which Asian women strongly prefer. This is exactly what Naked Wear stands for. We wanted to provide women the confidence through a range of active wear that would not only give them the right support and fit, but are also affordable and beautifully designed,” she said. She further added that with many locals getting on board the fitness wagon, they wanted to be an active wear that is proud to be a Singapore brand.

“Fitness is increasingly becoming important to Singaporeans as many recognize the benefits of having a work-life balance and the importance of health and wellness. As for women, skinny is no longer considered beautiful. Strong is the new sexy,” said Jaemi.

According to Jaemi, other than mainstream sports such as running and swimming, many are taking on niche sports such as weight lifting, pole dancing, parkour, aerial yoga. Furthermore, the rise of apps like kfit/guavapass all that makes fitness more accessible and affordable to young adults.

“There is a strong demand for fitness wear in Singapore. People are no longer looking for average fitness wear you can wear to the gym, but something versatile for all sports and well-fitted. Women are not just looking for functionality and good fit, but also fashionable/stylish. It also has to be value-for-money (not only affordable but with strong quality material and trendy designs). With the rising cost of living, the demand for value-for money activewear is on the rise,” she said.

For a start, they were a small local brand and nobody knew who they were, or even believed in paying for their products or their quality. They knew they had to stand out among well-established, global fitness labels that cater to the up market segment, as well as many distributors who import various international brands under their overall branding umbrella.

Being an online store, they wanted to provide an avenue for their customers to touch and feel their activewear. However, due to the high rents in Singapore, they could only afford pop-up stores at gyms, dance studios and fitness bazaars. These were long hours under the sun where they had to use their own clothes racks, mannequins and baskets, make their own signs and price tags and also hustle for customers. “Sometimes these pop-up stores would not result in leads or new sales, but it was worth it because from a long-term perspective, we could get our name out there,” said Jaemi.

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Two young ladies in their late 20s want to revolutionize Singapore’s active wear industry

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