Inspirational Australian Women: Melissa Pain
Now popular worldwide, MoveActive started as a local business selling non-slip grip socks for Aussie Pilates fans. Over more than 10 years, owner Melissa Pain has grown her startup into a platform supplying mats, resistance bands, gloves, bottles, and more! Here at Me by Aleenta, we are all about strong, powerful women, so we reached out to Mel to find out exactly what it was that set her on her journey to success.
1. MoveActive was founded from your involvement in the Pilates industry, and recognising the lack of stylish and unique Pilates attire. Was there a defining moment where you decided to design your first line of grip socks back in 2009?
Actually there was! At the time I was doing around 5 Reformer classes a week at various studios in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, and it was then that I realised that there were no socks in Australia that had anything unique about them, there was generally only one or maybe two colours available, black, and sometimes pink. Surely, they could be more fun? Soon after I went on Maternity leave with my son, and it was during that time that MoveActive was born!
2. What was the inspiration behind your very first line? Has this changed over the years?
The inspiration was to make the Pilates non-slip socks a fun accessory but also stylish. Matching the grip to the sock was the first step, then the patterns began! Our grey sock with yellow spots was our 1st pattern and then the requests from stockist to make more fun patterns started rolling in! Stripes, animal prints, sparkles and more.
3. What is MoveActive’s philosophy?
Our philosophy is simple, ‘To bring some fun, style and individuality to the Pilates studio with top quality non-slip socks and accessories.’
4. MoveActive recently reduced its use of plastic by 90%. How was this process? Do you have any tips for other businesses striving to be more environmentally conscious?
As a business we are always trying to improve in any way we can. We have worked with our factories to cut all the plastic use that we can, firstly we stopped receiving our socks individually wrapped in plastic years ago, but recently as a team we looked over all our products and processes and cut out all plastic (where we can). All our courier bags are now corn starch, packing boxes are recyclable and we have recently updated our sock packaging to recyclable card and cardboard hooks. We have many more products where we tweaked the products to minimise the use of plastics. Now, a critical part of the process of any new product release is to ensure we absolutely minimise the use of plastics in the packaging.
My recommendation for other businesses is to take some time to stand back and look at their business, all the steps from when products arrive through all the processes to when they are sold and look at the products being used. Are there better options for products being used? Can you communicate to your suppliers about changing their packaging etc? Some may be resistant to change, but if we all make our voice heard, then change can continue to happen.
5. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many businesses hard. How did you maintain and grow MoveActive during these tough times? Do you have advice for other business owners?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a testing time for everyone. Our strategy was to help out our community who were also doing it tough, we worked on helping our stockists promote their online platforms and we made an effort to stay connected to everyone as much as we could. Also, like most other businesses we pivoted and launched a whole lot of new products that seemed to fit perfectly in with the new COVID life we all live – working out at home, bringing your own Pilates accessories to the Zoom classes, and now back into the studios.
6. What are some positive changes you have seen in the business world over 2020 and into 2021?
I think in general people are a bit more accepting and forgiving. Everyone from business owners and staff to the consumer are understanding that times have changed, and everyone is doing their best to keep up with the changes. I have also observed that people are putting in far more effort to look after their own physical and mental health, we all now appreciate how tough lockdowns have been how much we need to look after ourselves and check on colleagues. More people are making the time to exercise in their work breaks, get some fresh air and seek out help when they need.
7. What are some things you do for your own self-care as a business owner? Do you still practice and love Pilates?
My husband and I (prior to COVID) have a (not-so) little goal of running the BIG 6 World Marathons – New York, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, London, and Tokyo before our next major milestone birthday. With so much running training, Pilates is always a brilliant addition to the strength training to try and stay injury free and performing at our best. We were due to run the Berlin Marathon in 2020, but maybe it will be 2022?
I also find great benefit in regular podcast walks, 60mins of self-improvement in the fresh air does wonders for the soul. If there are times where the pressures of business, family, COVID and life are building up, I also find meditation helps keep things under control.
8. Do you have a favourite MoveActive product? A go-to grippy sock design?
It is funny how everyone has their own favourite; my all-time favourite would be Nude Cheetah classic low-rise socks. They go with almost any outfit! I also really love some of the more recent designs that have just been released, such as the Tie Dye Collection …. And for those who like to match their socks with their outfit, may also like the opportunity to match with other Pilates or yoga accessories, Matching socks to your band or Pilates mat is just taking it up a notch!
9. Where do you see MoveActive going in the future? Anything exciting in the works?
We are so thankful for our Australian community (and beyond) in supporting us over the last 12 years! We want to continue to supply our community with even more fun non-slip sock designs. We are lucky that our customers love to give us feedback and advice and because of this we seem to be heading in the direction of designing and manufacturing everything Pilates & yoga. We have lots of new product launches coming soon…
10. Anything else you’d like to add?
I would just love to give a big hug to the whole Pilates and fitness industry for getting through the last 18 months of this pandemic, particularly places like here in Melbourne that have been in and out of lockdowns, pivoting so many times to keep their business running, supporting their clients, often for very little financial benefit. It has been a tough ride, but we will be stronger at the end for getting through it. There was no rule book to follow, we did what we could, it is a great industry to be a part of.
Interviewed By Sascha Czuchwicki
Me By Aleenta Content Coordinator & Trainer