Ezra Outdoors: How We Came About
Posted on December 21 2019
Shao and I met when we were 14. We were young teenagers, in the midst of puberty. In the onset of pimples and weight gain, we both sought solace in the same strange thing – calorie counting. In fact, we met because of it.
(Shao -left- and I when we were 16, circa 2013)
[Trigger Warning] I won’t delve into the sordid details, but it would suffice to say that we both suffered from some sort of body dysmorphia and eating difficulties. We both restricted our calories and exercised too much for our own good. Although we were not medically diagnosed, I believe that the amount of self-degradation we put ourselves through to lose weight was not mentally healthy. Most definitely not in growing teenagers.
Eventually, with a lot of encouragement from family and friends, we both have healthy eating habits and an exercise schedule that we commit to (occasionally failing, as most do with work and studies to juggle). We finally understand that it’s all about finding the balance between what we eat and how we want to stay healthy. Over time, we bonded over café dates, yoga classes and shopping instead of how many calories we ate that day.
But when finding activewear that we wanted to wear to our exercise classes – we found a massive gap in the local market. We wanted clothes that would fit right when we were working out – clothes that would accentuate our curves and held them while we were working through a HiiT class or flowing in yoga. We also didn’t understand why local activewear shops would use models from the west that clearly had a different body type from ours. Lastly, we felt that the activewear market didn’t have an offering that was made with sustainable fabric and with a transparent supply chain. This mattered to us.
So we decided to create our own. To be completely honest, it was a bit of a spontaneous decision. We had been mulling over this idea for a while – creating this brand that made women feel like they could conquer the world. When we flew to Guangzhou for a holiday, we decided to check out the factories nearby “just for fun”. We spoke to people online and set up a day to drop by a number of factories to see their processes and their manufacturing line.
Suffice to say, we were really impressed. The companies we visited mostly had a full suite of manufacturing competencies (designing to manufacturing) and they all ran a tight ship. We decided to partner with a bigger SGS certified production house after seeing that they ensured that their factory line was ethical, and the workers were treated right.
When we started our first set, we focused on creating a product that had a unique cut – something that could be worn from studio to street. Something that was slightly more unique in how it could accentuate the curves and not hide them. It was hard finding the balance in creating a showing too much skin and providing sufficient support for activities. We put in a lot of effort trying to find this balance (think samples and fabric shipped back and forth… multiple times) but we believe that it is important to make clothes that we would wear too. It took a while, but we think we got there eventually.
The journey so far has been the most rewarding one that we have taken. It was wonderful seeing our products come to life, seeing a brand slowly take form. We only hope that in the next few years to come, our community will grow larger. We know that our products have much to be desired – be in new colors, adjustments to the sizing or new sustainable fabric.
We even shifted to a new manufacturer in Bali for our future production to ensure our products are made ethically and closer to home (closer to helping local communities!). But this is just the first step – we are slowly creating a brand that can help all women feel like size doesn’t matter. What really matters is stepping out there, taking a chance, just #getMoving. It will all be worth it in the end.
To a better 2020.