Stephanie Nichols | Owner/Founder of Sweat Society
Posted on June 28 2018
Sweat Society is now THREE years old! We are so excited and thankful for all of our friends, family and customers that are part of the Sweat Society family - you have truly made this dream into a reality.
For our June Sweatspiration we wanted to chat to the boss babe that had this little dream, rolled with it, and turned it into Sweat Society. Stephanie Nichols tells us all about how Sweat Society started, how we got here & where it's going! Find out how she maintains balance between being an entrepreneur, holding a full time job in the corporate world, and being a dog momma to Moose & Reggie.
Keep reading to celebrate our birthday - we want to give you a little present for being there along this crazy journey!
Why did you start Sweat Society 3 years ago?
Honestly - I was bored. Bored of the same black, monochrome leggings that were available everywhere. It was so hard to find anything fun within Canada, anything that would allow me to express myself. I noticed a real gap in Canada's activewear selection and started to look into changing that. During my search I started to notice how EASY it was to find responsibly made activewear. It was just out of reach, and therefore, pretty much out of mind. And that is why I started Sweat Society - to bring technical activewear that wasn't made at the expense at someone else's life to Canada, and to start to shed some light on where people's clothing was made.
What did Sweat Society look like in the beginning and how has that changed?
Sweat Society was run solely by me. I had about 7 brands, and was popping-up in yoga studio's around Calgary. Today we have over 20 ethically made brands from around the world, we pop-up all over Alberta, BC, and Saskatchewan in yoga, barre, crossfit, spin studio's.... we stock over 20 studio's full time in Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, and we have an amazing team of 5 that help keep the wheels turning!
"Fast Fashion" is not only jeopardizing people's lives, it's destroying our planet. In this fast fashion era trends are cycling faster then ever. Factories all over the world are crunching to make deadlines, no matter the cost. They're spitting out poor quality products that are either not going to last or be out of style by next Sunday. Resulting in an alarmingly large amount of clothing ending up in our landfills and polluting our oceans. Making a difference starts with the consumer. Shopping sweatshop-free brands, and products that are built to last. This can only happen when the consumer is faced with options, and can make the choice to buy better.
It's important to me to support the brands that take the time to make a difference. Whether its locally making their products, or manufacturing in a W.R.A.P certified factory and Sweat Society provides me with that channel. Clothing manufacturing is a major industry in a lot of overseas countries, and fully pulling out of those countries could be detrimental. We have to choose to support those that are working to make a difference in their own country, and hope that others will follow. (Read more on W.R.A.P here).
How do these beliefs translate to Sweat Society?
While we maintain our focus with functional and on-trend apparel, we are committed to our philosophy of delivering our customers with a top quality product that is dedicated to ethical practices throughout its production process. Human rights are entitlements that every person should be granted, no matter what country they choose to work in. As consumers, we are becoming increasingly aware of our responsibility to be conscious of our purchases and to recognize our influence in making a positive difference for the people who make our clothes. Sweat Society actively seeks out companies that share these same core values to further expand our curated collection of high quality fitness brands that consider both its people and the planet.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a small business owner? Most Challenging?
The most rewarding is watching something you are so passionate about, and put so much hard work into, grow and succeed. But with growth and all the ups, come the downs. Those moments where you wonder what it is all for, where you just want a break. Those downs are the most challenging. But you just have to keep pushing and putting your best foot forward. When you feel like you've hit the bottom, there is no where else to go but straight back up.
Tell us about how you balance staying healthy and active with owning your own business. What is your best advise for other busy women looking to achieve this balance?
Do the best YOU can. You really have to stop looking around at what everything and everyone is telling you to be, and just learn to be happy with where you are right now. Sometimes I make it to the gym, and other days I eat a whole bag of Jelly Babies (my favorite candy) with a side of SmartPop, and I'm ok with that. Whatever my decisions end up being, is always the right one for that moment.
Who inspires you?
Every hardworking woman out there. I deal with SO many boss babes on a daily basis. From the studio's we stock, to the brands we carry. They are 95% women and it is SO motivating and inspiring.
What are your goals this year?
To keep moving forward. I still work a corporate job on top of Sweat Society and sometimes get super wrapped up in the daily tasks, I lose sight of the bigger picture. So I just have to remember to keep my head up and keep moving forward.
[TOP] Leggings: Dharma Bums Bloomsbury // Top: Good hYOUman The Lili - Best Day Ever
[BOTTOM] Leggings: ALO Yoga Techlife Airbrush - Earth // Top: Good hYOUman The Jules - Mind/Matter; Tonic Active Ementa Tank
What's next for Sweat Society?
We've recently expanded our private label collection. We now have over 25 styles for men and women!! We're hoping to expand this to leggings, shorts, and sports bras in the near future.
Also keep your eye out for us if you are in BC! We'll be increasing our presence there in the coming months!
Where can I find Sweat Society products?
You can find them at ~20 locations across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. We have a "store locator" tab on our website that will show you what is closest to you! We are always rotating the stock at these locations, so make sure to check back frequently to see the now rotation of product.
We also do A LOT of pop-ups consisting of one-day pop-ups at studio's and larger weekend events. You can always check out our schedule here to find out where we will be next. Our INSTAGRAM is also a great place to see where our next pop-up will be.