For more than 30 years, Lorna has been designing workout clothes, while inspiring women to get active and stay healthy. It was a humble start for Lorna, beginning as a hobby, and eventually becoming not just a business, but a passion.
“I guess like any other businesses, one small decision led to another,” says Lorna. “Once we got the product and the message out there, it created so much interest with likeminded women all over the world that it actually created change.
Women started to think differently about their activewear. They started to think about how it looked, where they could wear it and what wearing it said about how they were living their lives. - Lorna Jane.
Indeed, Lorna’s entrepreneurial spirit is nowhere more evident than in the fact she was the one to coin the term ‘activewear’. Lorna not only revolutionized the field but created it.
Lorna not only revolutionized the field but created it.
The award-winning entrepreneur has gone on to be an inspiration through five published books, offering her secrets to fitness and good health, through exercise and diet.
Today, the retailer has a presence across the world, with 140 stores in Australia, 33 in the US and a showroom number of stockists in Canada, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, UK, France, Singapore, Austria, Malaysia, Mexico, New Caledonia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.
In this interview, Lorna talks about her personal life and her entrepreneurial journey to building one of the most innovative brands in the industry!
What inspired you to start Lorna Jane?
“Honestly, starting an Activewear business and building a brand was not part of my plan. I was just an Aerobics instructor that couldn’t find workout clothes that I actually liked - so I started making my own. Back then (we’re talking mid ‘80’s!) gym clothes weren’t stylish, were generally unflattering and the selection available for women was limited. So, when the women in my classes saw what I was wearing they naturally wanted to place orders for this ‘Activewear’ just like mine!
Activewear was something they had never seen before – workout clothes that they could wear for gym, yoga, AND running. As well as something that they felt comfortable enough to wear in their everyday busy lives. I was creating something that actually got women excited about working out - and this is what inspired me to quit my full-time job and consider developing this category further – little did I know that it was to become a world-wide phenomenon and change the way women dress and prioritize their health and fitness in our world today.”
What does your typical day look like?
“I’m naturally an early riser so I wake around 5:30am. I do about 10 minutes of meditation, before blend up my morning smoothie and then I either do a strength session with my trainer. A yoga class or some stretching at home.
Then it’s out for a morning walk, with my dog Roger and husband Bill. When we get back home, I go through a few emails over breakfast before getting ready to head into work.
My work days vary and can be anything from meetings with my team, working on design or creative concepts, fitting our next collection, researching, shoots, writing or planning. Even though there’s always plenty to do, I try not to over book myself with back to back meetings. I find that leaving a little time between meetings allows for a little spontaneity and a little space for unexpected things that may come up. It also means that I don’t feel rushed to make decisions and it gives me some extra time to play with Roger!
Even if work is hectic, Bill and I try to leave the office at a reasonable time so we can spend some time outside before the sun goes down. We walk Roger and catch up on everything that happened during the day, bounce ideas off each other or discuss any pressing issues. Our afternoon walk is one of my favourite parts of the day, and I can literally feel any tension from my day just slip away.
We’re both starving when we get home, so dinner needs to be quick and easy (usually some veggies with a lean protein) and I never skip on dessert!
After dinner, there can be a few more (international) emails and then I relax with some reading or Netflix. Then, a cup of tea or water with a few drops of lavender oil and off to bed ready to do it all again tomorrow!”
Congratulations on expanding to Canada! What are the main differences you find between the Australian vs. North American market?
“Well the obvious difference is the climate! But other than that I think Australians are very similar to Canadians - we both have a love of the outdoors, are interested in being active and value the importance of health and fitness. We have had Canadian customers shopping our brand online and in Australia for so long now, that we just couldn’t wait to bring Lorna Jane to Canada. We are so excited to be here and are looking forward to developing a deeper connection with our Canadian community.”
What does success mean to you?
"Success is different for everyone. But for most of us, true success is not about material things - It’s about fulfilment and happiness and making a difference."
Do you have any morning routines or evening rituals to help you stay balanced?
"I’m all about my rituals because I truly believe that it’s what you do every day that sets you up for success in business and in life.
My mornings start with a big glass of water, followed by about 10-15 minutes of meditation, a morning workout and then a healthy breakfast.
Evenings tend to vary depending on my commitments at work but I always find time for an afternoon/evening walk with my husband Bill and our dog Roger. This ritual is perfect for Bill and I to talk about our day (away from technology) and start to relax and unwind in preparation for our evening together."