When an aspiring designer or creative stops to imagine their dream career, they are probably envisioning Pip Edwards’ life in the fashion industry.
Her sterling 15-year career, which includes a PR and design role for Ksubi, Senior Creative and Accessories Designer for sass & bide, and Design Director for powerhouse retailer General Pants, is enough to make any entrepreneur envious. Not to mention the establishment of her own highly anticipated activewear label P.E Nation.
StartUp Creative caught up with Edwards to talk about her rise to the top, her future vision for her own brand, and what it’s like to take the leap of faith to create your own career. After years of defining herself as an influential figure in the fashion world, it was her role within Australian design royalty sass & bide which would see the formation of Edwards’ own label, P.E Nation some years later. Working alongside her future business partner – senior designer Claire Tregoning – the duo realised they shared a mutual understanding for design, as well as a similar aesthetic and eye for detail.
It was over lunch a few years later that the concept of P.E Nation became a reality. The label is very much a representation of everything Pip Edwards, right down to the namesake initials, retro flavour and tomboy style.
‘We were inspired by our own lifestyles. We’re both extremely busy working mums; we love fashion and we’re avid fitness enthusiasts ourselves’ Edwards says.
‘We wanted to create a brand that allowed us to move seamlessly between the daily juggle without sacrificing style or comfort. P.E Nation has been really organic and is for women just like us!’
Creating a brand such as P.E Nation meant creating a style that hard-working women in any vocation could be comfortable in. As Edwards shares with us her own day- to -day itinerary, we can see how P.E is inspired by raising her own son Justice, while still maintaining her impressive creative and professional work ethic.
‘My days start early with morning cuddles with my son,’ she says.
‘Then it’s emails, breakfast, the school run, the coffee run, into the office, meetings, work, meetings, sneaking in a soft sand run or F45 class before picking Justice up from my mum, then dinner, emails and working way into the night.‘
It’s a constant juggle but I love to be busy and I have a great support network. I also make my son a priority and make sure we get quite active together – there is a lot of basketball being played! He is with me every step of the way and is my biggest supporter,’ she says.
Staying fit and exercising regularly is not only a major part of Edwards’ lifestyle but also the fuel to her own professional motivation. ‘I love soft sand running on Bondi Beach or circuit training at F45. My son is also super active so he keeps me on my toes. I think you just have to commit to it and make the time for it,’ she says.
‘It’s very easy to waiver and it’s harder to get back on track, so the trick is just to make sure you do it at least three times a week and you will feel better for it.’
Outside of her active lifestyle, Edwards draws inspiration for P.E’s creative direction from a combination of music, art, and of course – fashion; three pillars that she describes as ‘essential’ to her creative process.
‘I love to get out and about on weekends. From the beach to the country, from the snow to the sun, I love it all. I actually can’t say I have one favourite place in the world …. I love New Zealand for skiing, I love LA for the sunshine, I love London and Paris for the city,’ she says.
As a long-time creative, we asked Edwards what she thought of the rise of Instagram and her tips to standing out to an ever-growing online audience. Like many other modern entrepreneurs, making her mark on the industry has seen a major shift from traditional marketing to trying to conquer the online social realm.
‘Instagram allows brands to get their product into the market without delay and with maximum exposure,’ she explains.
‘Everything is immediate now, so it’s about ensuring you have a strong identity amongst a saturated market and that’s also where integrity plays a key role. I would suggest brands have a strong sense of self and stick to it – you don’t need to change to fit the mould, you’ll attract customers just by being you.’
To find out more about Pip Edwards and her label P.E Nation, see their website and social media channels.