Anna Malovka is the main front lady behind eco basics range O2wear and we were gracious to steal five minutes of her precious time. Read on through to discover why bamboo fibre is a wonder to wear on skin and see what other customers view as their favourite piece.
How did O2wear come to be? What motivated you to start your own business?
In 2010 I came to the realisation that starting my own business was something I really wanted to do and was where I saw my future heading. However the what, where, how and why took quite some time to work out! During this time I was living and studying in Shanghai and the incredible entrepreneurial spirit of the place really influenced me. I was keen to work on a range of women’s basics; simple fitted layering pieces that wouldn’t itch, suffocate or make you sweat like a lot of the synthetic tops seem to do. It was in China while researching manufacturers that I came across bamboo fibre, probably because they have so much of it! When I learnt about the benefits of the fibre and felt how soft and gentle it was to wear, I knew this had to be the basis for my range.
Can you tell us a little about the design process and what it entails?
The design is very much inspired by my personal preferences!
There are several things I look for in a basic layering top which I wanted to incorporate. A stretchy, fitted style was important so they could be layered. This was also a factor in choosing bamboo fabric, because of its light-weight smooth fibres it doesn’t add bulk when layered under other tops. I also like plenty of length in the body so they can be tucked in. The scoop neck is a personal preference of mine as I think it works well if you want a hidden under layer, however I’ve just added a new crew neck in the long sleeve because I’ve had a quite a few requests for this. Once I’ve finalised a design I have samples made up that I then wear and wash to make sure the quality is up to scratch. Consistency across the range is also important to me, if you love your medium ¾ sleeve black top then you should be able to purchase the same size in any of the other styles or colours and get the same fit.
What piece do you see yourself reaching for again and again…
Well my camisoles are probably my most worn items; it’s rare for me to leave the house without one on! But I have to say my long sleeve scoop is probably my favourite piece. I wear this a lot during winter and I always feel warmer and cosier in it!
For those a bit confused about the benefits of bamboo in clothing, can you enlighten us?
I read quite a bit about the benefits of bamboo clothing when I was researching different fibres to use in the range. Bamboo grows prolifically in China with very little need for water or pesticides, making it more eco-friendly than many other crops. Of course it must also have benefits as a fabric and when I first felt a bamboo top I was amazed and just how soft, smooth and light-weight it was. This was particularly important for a basics range which is designed to be worn as a base layer, in direct contact with skin. Bamboo fibre is also extremely breathable and moisture-wicking, while still providing a comfortable insulating layer that is gentle on sensitive skin – try it for yourself!
What is the best seller and favourite colour? (Pink is our first pick)
Best sellers vary from month to month with the seasons, but come winter, without a doubt it’s the long sleeve scoop in black and full length leggings.
What type of person do you see wearing your designs?
O2wear is designed for women of any age and lifestyle. They are great layering pieces for the office, the camis and tanks can be layered under work wear for those overly air-conditioned work places. A long sleeve top and leggings can also be used to transform a summer dress into winter wear. Equally though, they are soft and comfy for lounging around the house on the weekend. I also have a number of customers that wear them for yoga and even as sleep wear!
What has been your proudest moment so far?
I think it’s the little things, like repeat customers. Just the other day I had an order from a new customer for a long sleeve top, and 2 weeks later she came back to order another four. That always makes me smile!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A warehouse and staff! It’s still a small operation at this stage, but I like being able to put a personal touch on each of my orders and I don’t want to lose that as the business grows. I’m currently 8 months pregnant with our first child so I also see a lot of balancing and juggling the business and family in the near future, but that was one of the other great appeals about starting my own business, knowing that down the track I would be able to have a career and be around for my family!
We thank Anna very much for her time and wish her all the best for her new addition. For more information on O2wear, visit http://www.o2wear.com