All About the Female-Founded Activewear Brand, Onzie
Here at Sweety High, we're strong advocates of keeping our bodies active.
Whether that's going on a 10-minute walk, going to a yoga or pilates class, running on the treadmill or even taking a dance class, we love to stay healthy. Since we're always on the go, we think what we wear plays a big role in not only how successful we are in our workouts or movements, but also in how comfortable we are! We were introduced to Onzie last year at a Tone It Up event, and have since become big fans of the brand. Onzie is a stylish and performance-based activewear brand that produces some super cute clothes.
We wanted to learn even more, so we sat down with the founder and CEO of Onzie, Kimberly Swarth. She answered all of our most pressing questions about their products, materials, manufacturing process and more! For the full interview, keep scrolling.
Sweety High: How long has Onzie been around? What's your story?
Kimberly Swarth: We launched the brand in April 2010 and it has been an incredible journey! I was raised as a yogi and having a "body experience" was always a part of me, specifically a hot yoga practice. Here, you face a mirror for 90 minutes and as you work on yourself, something magical happens. I channeled my love for this practice and the magic that occurs in the room and started Onzie. I was focused on creating a product that enhanced this body experience.
In Onzie's early days, social media did not exist as it does today. But we had these wild experiences getting our product into the hands of yogis around the world. It was grass roots influencer marketing, even though we didn't have a fancy name for it at the time. It was so authentic.
I sold booty shorts and leotards out of bathrooms at studios. I rode my bike down Venice beach boardwalk with handwritten signs, shouting "Yoga Clothing for Sale." We hosted teacher trainings and sold stuff out of a hotel room.
Soon there was a line out of the door for people who wanted to come in contact with this amazing spandex. We were in awe—meeting these incredible yogis from all over the world. Connecting with these powerful women through the clothing was truly dynamic.
SH: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
KS: In 2009/2010 there was a powerful movement starting to happen within the love for body movement. Small studios, with creative workouts started popping up all around us. I was obsessed with the "studio workout" that was emerging around us.
I was particularly inspired by the other small business owners like myself, other women with creative modalities and workouts. I set up a phone and started calling yoga studios across the U.S. and slowly Onzie became the go to brand for studios across the globe. Apparel was not really a focus of workout studios, and so we educated them on how to carry retail, clothing and introduce this magical product into their community.
SH: What's the most popular product on your site?
KS: Our most popular item to date is our signature Leopard Leggings ($74)! We decided to take our best-selling print and incorporate it in various styles including our lounge set, Leotard, Mindful Mask, One Piece Biker Babe, Biker shorts and multiple bras.
SH: Tell us about the fabric(s) you use!
KS: Our fabric and material (Free Flow Fabric Technology) is very intentional. It was built to stand up to the hottest, sweatiest environments. Our prints became a means of "storytelling" and self-expression for the female as she focused on herself in the mirror. Over time our prints have become like an "alter ego" for her, and we continue to ride that journey alongside her, in all of her glory.
We also incorporate healing components into our designs. For example, a floral print that feels feminine and beautiful, an animal print that evokes primal power, a black with mesh silhouette that helps her feel sexy and strong, or a celestial print that reconnects her to the earth and beyond. They truly feel spiritual when put on the body and can pull out something so powerful in each of us.
SH: What activities do people typically do when wearing Onzie?
KS: Hot Yoga, yoga, pilates, dance, working out, running—basically any activity that requires you to move your body!
SH: Any favorite celebs wearing your apparel?
KS: Yes—actress, writer, comedian, writer, director and producer, Mindy Kaling, posted a photo on Instagram of her wearing our cozy Boyfriend Sweatshirt in Emerald Tie-Dye.
SH: What are the must-have pieces every girl needs to own?
KS: Every girl needs a pair of our signature Leopard Leggings ($74)! And our signature one-piece Leotard ($66) which was our first ever silhouette!
SH: What has it been like running a business during COVID?
KS: It has been quite the adjustment! We are a small but mighty crew, so losing the ability to interface on a daily basis has made things tough, but we are powering through and focusing on keeping our community and those around us safe, which inspired our idea of using up-cycled yoga material and creating our Mindful Masks.
SH: Tell us about your sustainability practices!
KS: Onzie is designed and made locally in Los Angeles, CA, which allows us to keep a close eye on our handcrafted quality.
Our eco-friendly prints are created via sublimation printing—a sustainable alternative to traditional print that eliminates toxic chemical processes and results in cleaner water and less energy use. Also, every season we design a capsule collection made from post-consumer recycled plastic water bottles. All materials used in this collection, including packaging, are made from recyclable materials.
Most importantly, we continue to find new ways to reuse and recycle our fabric scraps throughout our manufacturing process. Our Mindful Mask initiative makes use leftover yardage and upcycled fabric from our line, resulting in less waste and amazing performance face masks! We've also created undies and scrunchies as accessories that serve a purpose to reduce as much fabric waste as possible. We use any other scrap material to bundle and tie our patterned cuts that go to our sewers, minimizing the need for additional cardboard boxes or plastic bags. Last year we also took the initiative to use recycled plastic for our garment bags!
SH: Anything else our audience should know?
KS: Onzie is a fun word play. It is pronounced "Own" zie. The tone of the word "own" is to own yourself inside and out, own your practice, own your choices, own your life and—just own it! Originally the brand name was a tribute to our first silhouette—a one piece leotard.
Excited to get your workout on in your new Onzie gear? Look HERE for some workout ideas for when you're stuck in a small space.