How did Jiva get its start?
JIVA was started in November 2013 in the kitchen of their apartment. Nikki had enrolled in her Yoga Teacher Training in Jupiter after having left her job in NYC as a product developer. Nikki was on a tight budget and needless to say, buying expensive yoga pants was not in that budget! She bought a sewing machine, fabric, and got to work on creating leggings for herself. After finishing the first few pairs and wearing them to the yoga studio, women and girls were asking her where she got her pants – they HAD to have them. Aha Moment! JIVA was born right then and there. With her background in Graphic Design, she created a logo, Instagram and website – on the first night of the launch, the website had over 1800 unique visitors. You can bet there were lots of hours spent sewing leggings those first couple weeks! Not long after realizing the buzz was there, she brought in her sister Remi & taught her how to sew leggings as well. Eventually finding manufacturing in Miami, FL and hitting the ground running. Quickly the wholesale division took off and over the past 2.5 years have grown to 200+ retailers carrying JIVA.
With all of the activewear options out there, what makes Jiva different?
JIVA addresses multiple problems within the activewear industry from issues as simple as the need to change immediately after working out to bigger issues such as sun protection while living actively outdoors. All of the active products have UPF 40+ Sun Protection in addition to sweat-wicking, quick dry and anti-microbial technologies in the fabric. The activewear is completely dry within 10 minutes of finishing a sweat inducing workout or surf session. JIVA takes these real life issues and solves them in fashion forward, on trend designs.
What is the best thing about being an activewear designer?
Oh, this is a tough one! So many things. First and foremost it is so important for us to be a source of inspiration to other young entrepreneurs on a path to creating a life they love within their career and outside of the office. The fact that we have been able to find a sense of freedom within our business and be at such a high creative level is the ultimate. Researching, brainstorming, drawing, creating, sampling, production and then to finally seeing a smiling face in this creation of yours with a glow of confidence beaming out of them is a feeling unlike any other.
How do you select your materials and find inspiration for your designs?
We find inspiration through so many different avenues when it comes to product development and material specifically. One thing we do is run our product ideas through a filter of our values as a business and make sure this product is something we are A. in alignment with and B. would actually fit the lifestyle of our core buyer. We live a very active lifestyle as individuals outside of being designers, so we draw tons of inspiration when it comes to functionality and fabric just from the normal struggles you would face during a workout, a yoga class, a run. It is important for us to connect with our customers and hear from them exactly what they are looking for – and then again, we take that information and run it through a few filters of our values as a business and make sure it fits our buyers lifestyle well enough to go into sampling.
What’s in store for Jiva in the future?
Our vision moving forward is always to stay ahead of the game in an ever-evolving industry. The athleisure market proves itself to be moving at a fast pace, so staying active and in the field as always key for us. This allows us to be continually inspired by the woman and men around us and how they are moving through life on and off the mat. We are always looking to solve a problem or void within the active or athleisure market. Introducing the newest technical fabrics, hottest exclusive prints and progressive design elements are always on the table. Remi and I are constantly researching, testing and creating new designs and from that evolves these must-have products.
*Check out other legging brands with a similar fabric feel: