We love an active lifestyle here on the GC. And I mean, who wouldn’t?! We live with the hinterland in our backyard and the beaches out the front. So, ample space to get the heart rate up, or at the very least look good trying! But one thing we aren’t fans of is the notorious sweating that comes with being active. Well ladies, that could be a thing of the past with a Gold Coast-born activewear brand, Idea Athletic. Let us introduce you to Alana Clarkson, the Founder, and your new saviour to your sweaty qualms.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
We moved to the GC at the end of 2018. I had always lived in Sydney which is where I am from. We came up to Burleigh for a short holiday in 2018 and then decided after that trip that we were going to make the move. I think we came home arranged everything and moved up in the space of 6 weeks. It was a fast turnaround but we knew it was the right choice for our family.
What do you love the most about the Gold Coast?
I love how it is such a healthy and outdoors-focused lifestyle. The weather is fabulous all year round and it encourages you to be outside whether it be at the beach, riding a bike, or doing some other form of exercise. A healthy lifestyle is one of the biggest draw cards for me.
Tell us a bit about you.
I live in Palm Beach nice and close to the beach with my husband, our two beautiful girls and our two dogs. We are very fortunate that we can pop down to the beach for a swim anytime and in the summer on the weekends you’ll usually find us at the beach for the morning and in the pool for the afternoon. I love to exercise and any chance I can get I’ll be doing something active whether it be walking with friends or reformer pilates. I love to move my body every day, it keeps me feeling centred and calm. On the professional front, I have spent over 20yrs working in financial services and now co-run an executive search recruitment firm with my hubby which we’ve had for the last 9 years. Our business covers the Asia Pacific region so we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to be based wherever we like so we’ve chosen the GC. I’m pretty happy with that choice!
Explain to us how Idea Athletic came about.
Idea Athletic came about through me trying to buy a particular type of activewear that focused on crotch and bust sweat minimisation directly and not being able to find it. When I couldn’t find what I wanted to buy I created it! I felt that many women didn’t wear certain activewear colours out of fear of sweat marks blotting up their crotch, butt and bust and I wanted to change that so women (myself included) could wear all the colours with confidence. Further to this, I was also a fitness instructor on weekends (my passion job) for over a decade and during that time had many a conversation about sweat in those areas and how it had bothered women, so I’d actually done 10yrs of market research already without even realising it.
What was the process behind coming up with / discovering and sourcing this innovative fabric?
The process took me 2.5yrs of trial and error. I could see so clearly what it was that I wanted to create and how it would work but it really took time to get it there. A lot of sampling different types of fabrics and designs to see what would work best and a lot of time on a treadmill for me aswell really putting them to the sweat test. It was a long process and one that involved a lot of research and patience to get it to where I wanted it to be. The finished result is one that I am very proud of and one that solved my own personal issue which is how it all started in the first place.
How is your range different to other brands?
invisiSweat is our key point of difference. Our Australian Innovation Patented invisiSweat is what makes all Idea Athletic garments unique. It is strategic panels throughout the crotch, inner thigh and bottom region and all through the bust which is lined with our invisiSweat fabric which is a specialty thickness bamboo based fabric. As the name suggests its invisible to the outside world and not bulky to wear. This invisiSweat technology is what stops the sweat from blotting up your activewear so you can go from a high-intensity session and straight to brunch without the concern of sweat marks in places you don’t want them to be seen.
What makes running a business on the Gold Coast so great?
The people. We have so many talented individuals on the Coast and if it hadn’t been for starting Idea Athletic, I may never have had the opportunity with work with them, so I’m very fortunate.
What is your favourite form of exercise?
I love all movement. Anything and everything I will try. But in a normal week I usually mix it up between cardio and weights and reformer pilates. It’s a good varied mix and it works for me.
What does a typical day in the life of you look like?
My day usually starts early and I get up and we organise the kids breakfast, school lunches, homework and get them off on their way for the day. I’ll usually answer emails as well during this time. I’ll then do 1hr of exercise and then shower and work at my desk until school pick-up time. After that it’s after-school activities and I’ll get myself to a pilates reformer class if I can whilst the girls are at an activity. After that it’s home, dinner and I’ll do some more work, then some family time before the kids are off to bed, and then not long afterward I’ll watch some tv and get to bed myself. We have a lot happening each day but it’s a good balance and one that works for our family unit.
Tell us the best piece of advice someone has ever given you and why you consider it the best?
“There is always another way.” I think of this one-liner both professionally and personally so much. In life, we are always facing different challenges and events and for me when a situation may feel like there is no workaround I always think to myself “there is always another way” and it allows me to think outside the box to find a solution, whatever it may be.
What can we expect from Idea Athletic in the next year?
Being a new business it’s an exciting time for us as we continue on our path of growth and building our brand awareness further. We have some new styles we are working on as well which I can’t wait to release in the coming months. And of course, you’ll be hearing a lot more from us about sweat and how awesome and healthy it is.
What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: Dune Cafe, Palm Beach
Coffee spot: Third Base Coffee, Palm Beach
Restaurant: Restaurant Labart, Burleigh
Bar or pub for a drink: I can’t ever go past Palm Beach Surf Club for a drink with an amazing view. I also love local small-bar Suga as they have great service and awesome cocktails.
How do you choose to spend your days off?
With my family always. I just can’t get enough of my little girls, they bring so much joy to my life. Also catching up with friends for lunch or dinner is always something I love to do.
They are the local ladies who created cult activewear label Paris & I with the view of offering cute, Aussie-made workout clothes for women of all shapes and sizes. Love that for us.
We sat down for a chat with Sammi and Paris about why they decided to embark on such a journey and why their pieces are different from the rest (and you should get some ASAP).
How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
Paris: I have always lived on the Gold Coast, I was born at Pindara!
Sammi: I have lived on the Gold Coast since 2013.
What do you love most about living here?
Oh, there’s so much! But beautiful beaches, amazing weather and most importantly, a great community.
Tell us about your activewear label Paris & I?
We started Paris & I in 2018 on the Gold Coast. Our goal was and still is, to create activewear right here in Australia that leaves women feeling confident and empowered. Our brand isn’t just for women into fitness; it’s for women of all shapes and sizes. We didn’t want to follow the trend of manufacturing offshore as this jeopardises quality and the Australian economy. Manufacturing locally in Queensland also means that we can be hands-on, working closely with our manufacturer ensuring high quality and ethical practices. Paris & I is our baby, it’s 100% run by us – we do EVERYTHING. Connecting with our girls and our community is so rewarding. It’s honestly the best part. We still love to write personalised cards with every single order, which is then packed here on the Gold Coast with eco-friendly packaging. Paris & I has been seen on Chontel Duncan, Davina Rankin, Jade Mead and many more Australian female icons.
How did it come about?
Activewear is all we wear, but we could never find perfect activewear! We spent so much money and we were NEVER happy, so in 2017 we started researching and designing what we would produce… from there, Paris & I was born. In such a competitive market, we wanted to stand out. We felt the market was lacking in so many aspects and that’s why the brand instantly took off. We kept Paris & I a secret for a whole year ????. It also took us 1 year to perfect our first design ‘The High Waist Scrunch Leggings’.
What are your personal favourite pieces from the collection?
Sammi: Everyday Shorts and The Luxe Jacket
Paris: The Luxe Jacket and Scrunch Leggings
Are your pieces designed for specific purposes?
Yes, we design and create activewear that makes all women and us feel good! It’s not just for gym girls, we wanted to create pieces that are for everyday women. It’s also Aussie-made.
How are your designs unique?
Australian made, no thick ugly seams and suitable for all body types. We are super personal with our customers, we like to connect with them and by doing this, we have gained some amazing lifelong friendships. We also just launched our Spring Collection, made up of three colours: Vanilla Bean, Electric Blue & Sage Green! We wanted this Spring collection to have some versatility (Sage & Vanilla) and always love to include something bright, bold & fun (Electric Blue). When going through the colour process, we love to choose colours that can be worn for fashion and fitness. What makes this collection unique is our marketing. To align with our goal of making women feel confident, we have decided to keep all images real and raw – no filters, no photoshop. We shoot with real women of all sizes and we’re so excited to continue sharing real content with our community.
What’s the fabric like?
Super soft, stretchy, squat proof, breathable and flattering. It contours and shapes in all the right places whilst still offering great support! We use fabrics suited to all females no matter what shape, size or stage of pregnancy.
What are your plans for Paris & I for the rest of 2020?
To bring out some fun colours (we can’t wait to share them!) and we have some exciting new designs in the works – stay tuned 🙂
Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Coffee spot: No Name Lane
Cafe for breakfast: Daark Chirn Park
Restaurant for dinner: Omeros Bros, Wok Temptation in Southport and Grill’d
How does your weekend usually look: We usually work on Paris & I over the weekend but in our spare time, we will go for a nice beach walk or catch up with some friends over dinner. Funnily enough, we are dating brothers! It’s cool when just the four of us get to hang out and chill over the weekend.
If you haven’t already realised Mother’s Day is fast approaching – which means you better start thinking about how you are going to treat the number one lady in your life. The special day aside, we personally think that you should celebrate mum every day. Not only does she care and cook for you, she often has a long list of other responsibilities herself. Some mums even run a business too! And that is exactly what mum of two, fitness influencer and founder of James Cosmetics, Emily Skye does. No doubt you have seen Emily on Instagram as she has over a whopping 2.5 MILLION followers. Emily squeezed answering a few questions for Inside Gold Coast into her hectic work schedule. Read on to get to know Emily both personally and professionally!
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
8 years now!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a mother of two beautiful kids, Mia and Izaac, and I also own two businesses, Emily Skye FIT, my fitness app, and James Cosmetics, my beauty company. Through my FIT app I’ve been able to reach and connect with millions of women around the world who are working together as a community to strive for a healthier, happier lifestyle. James Cosmetics are beauty products I truly swear by and use myself! I’ve always had a huge interest in the beauty industry and wanted to share products that I love with everyone! I also have an amazing community of women through my Facebook and Instagram pages who inspire me everyday!
How did both James Cosmetics and the Emily Skye Fit app come about?
I started Emily Skye FIT after a very hard time in my life where I struggled a lot with my body image and an unhealthy lifestyle. I was in a very bad place mentally and physically and wanted to make a change. I made healthy changes in my life and started eating healthy and exercising and it completely changed my life! I wanted to share that feeling with other women and made it my mission to share knowledge I had learned along the way with other women so they can make positive changes just like I did! Over the years, FIT has become such an amazing platform where we are just one big community, constantly encouraging each other and helping each other each day! The app has definitely evolved as well as I have, as a mother I really wanted to include a pregnancy program and post pregnancy, and these have had such a great response!
James Cosmetics is my beauty company and something I am so passionate about! I’ve always been interested in beauty and skincare, I even became a qualified beautician 15 years ago! The products we release with James Cosmetics are genuinely just products that I use and want to incorporate into my routine! We started with just our 24K Gold & Collagen Crystal Eye Mask, and it still remains as one of our best selling products!
Tell us what your proudest entrepreneurial moment is?
A couple of things would definitely be being named Forbes #3 influencer in the world, and featuring on the cover of Women’s Health Magazine in more than 20 countries! They are both definitely pinch me things that I’m very proud of!
As a very busy woman, how do you manage your time to really strike that work/life balance?
I’ve found the best thing you can do is plan ahead and have lots of structure. I was never really any good at structure before having kids, I was quite spontaneous and didn’t like planning anything too far in advance. I’ve had to change that since becoming a mother and having businesses. It’s all about prioritising and having a to do list to get through and sticking to it! I’m still learning of course, but having a routine has much a huge difference to my everyday life and my mental health.
What do you love the most about being a mum?
Being a mum is just amazing in itself. Having these little humans that you and the person you love the most in the world created together and they’re like a mini you but with their own personalities. It’s so cool seeing kids grow up and evolve and watch their personalities come out! I love being able to have an impact on someone the way I can with my kids, teaching them what I’ve learned through life and being a role model to them.
How are you planning on spending this Mother’s Day?
I’m looking forward to just spending time with the kids and being grateful for them and being proud of myself as well for what I’ve done and what my body has done! I’ll also definitely be showing appreciation to my own mother as well for the amazing job she did raising my sister and I on her own!
How do you choose to spend your weekends?
Either outside with the kids playing in the pool or going for a walk along the beach with the kids with a nice coffee. I love spending time outdoors, especially living in a place with such amazing weather!
Keeping yourself fit and healthy has become big business here on the Gold Coast, but you may feel overwhelmed in amongst the swarm of gym-junkies and tricky looking equipment at the chain gyms. There’s something different about entering a smaller studio with regular friendly faces. Being a fitness — and espresso martini — focussed bunch of folks here on the Gold Coast, we have a smorgasbord of fantastic personal studios where you can work up a sweat and get those endorphins flowing. Slip into some lycra and grab your water bottle; here is our take on the intimate studios you need to visit to live your best active life.
When you enter this Robina-based studio, the intention is set from the beginning: this is your sanctuary and a chance to nurture your body. Thirty-five classes run across the week, and a modest weekly membership fee means making up for all that tequila on the weekend is not only easy but affordable. Once signed up, you can enjoy a selection of reformer and mat pilates, plus yin and flow yoga sessions which give you the chance to completely mix and match the way you break a sweat!
Where: Suite 3, Level 1 Easy T Centre, Robina
Free Living Studio
So much more than just fitness, you’ll find a mindful movement community devoted to health, wellness, yoga, and more at this Palm Beach-based studio. The understanding here is recognising that physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing is all closely connected and each as important as the other. Classes are methodically split under the four pillars of Strength, Burn, Sculpt, and Restore; with a comprehensive schedule of classes and handy membership options, there’s no easier way to get/keep in top physical (and mental) shape.
Where: Shop 1, 32 Brooke Avenue, Palm Beach
Located with a leafy outlook on a backstreet of Burleigh Heads, Xtend Barre is the perfect studio if you regularly find yourself around one of the Gold Coast’s most happening suburbs. Workouts have been curated around combining the science of pilates with the dynamics of aerobic dance to thoroughly tone the body and revive the mind. And with the friendliest bunch of instructors you’ve ever come across, it’s little wonder this life-changing workout has been a smash hit with the locals.
Where: 3 Park Avenue, Burleigh Heads
By their admission, this ultra-chic studio doesn’t do normal. Located upstairs above the rather epic BSKT café, Hustl is an inspiring minimalistic space with an incredible view over Nobby Beach. What a place to undertake a morning class as the sun rises! Their program cleverly fuses advanced pilates with resistance-based cardio to bring you a workout like no other spread out across two slightly different classes. Suitability is geared towards everyone, fitness fanatic or not. And if you join as a member, you’ll also have access to their sister studio in Byron Bay. (For when the borders open back up!)
Where: 4 Lavarack Drive, Mermaid Beach
Pilates + Co
Starting your fitness journey, or maintaining it, has never been easier than with the team at Pilates + Co. There is a wide selection of classes — with a maximum size of 14 participants — multiple week challenges, and private sessions in place for you to smash your goals and a uber approachable team to make it all happen. Their original location in Burleigh Heads is now joined by a newly opened space in Bundall, and should you find it hard to make it to either of these, they also have a state-of-the-art home workout platform with exclusive videos allowing you to work out on your terms.
Where: Unit 5, 75 West Burleigh Road & Units 8-10, 25 Upton Street, Bundall
Do you love to dance like nobody is watching, but also love the high and good feelings you get from a high-intensity workout? Kbod is touted as Australia’s first dance-based fitness centre and is run by an ex-professional dancer of 24 years. Getting in great shape doesn’t have to be boring — Kbod is the studio where you can achieve a dancer’s physique and have a whole lot of fun along the way. Because the best sort of fitness is the fun type!
Where: Unit 4, 40 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads
Words by Alex Mitcheson.