The founder of activewear brand Every Second Counts believes looking good at the gym can be a great motivator for a workout.
Amid the rising demand for stylish activewear, former magazine fashion director Sally Dixon left the world of publishing behind to launch her own label, Every Second Counts, in 2011. As a passionate pilates-goer and marathon-runner, her aim is to create pieces that are high-performance as well as high-fashion. The brand sells through its own website as well as 10 stockists including Matchesfashion.com, The Gym Box and Vita Pilates.
Can you tell me a bit about your background?
I grew up in Hull in East Yorkshire – I’m a northern girl at heart – but I left at 18 to move to London to study a BA in Fashion Promotion and Journalism at the London College of Fashion. After graduation I spent years working in publishing as a fashion director, working on the fashion pages of various different magazines. I was lucky enough to travel the world producing beautiful images for fashion spreads and compiling the style pages.
What sparked your initial interest in fashion?
I was always interested in fashion from my early teens and would avidly collect every single issue of Vogue magazine. I still have them all – they take up a lot of cupboard space, as I’m sure you can imagine!
Did you always want to start your own business?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs so starting my own business was always on my hit list, it just took me a little time to discover what that business would be. I wanted it to be something close to my heart that I would love working on every day.
How did you get into activewear?
I was always massively in to fitness and healthy living – I’ve run two marathons in Venice and Berlin. As much as I loved my job in the fashion world, I wanted to start a business of my own. I knew that digital was the way forward so I decided to combine my creative expertise with my love for fitness and start my own activewear brand.
Why did you launch Every Second Counts?
On my twice-yearly trips to New York fashion week, I would make time to go shopping for fitness gear as there was so much more choice in the USA. The lack of offering in the UK led me to want to start my own fitness-clothing brand. I founded the company in 2011, and after extensive research into clothing production and technical design our first collection was launched in January 2014. We are based in a fabulous creative space within Great Western Studios in West London.
What sets Every Second Counts apart from other activewear labels?
Our aim is to produce high quality, performance pieces with a luxurious feel. The one comment we always get from new customers is how soft our fabrics are and how good they feel against the skin. [Wholesale prices range from £18.75 for a sports bra to £53.75 for a sweatshirt.]
Who is the Every Second Counts customer?
The Every Second Counts woman is both health and style-conscious, time poor (due to work or family commitments, or both) and is looking for stylish and comfortable performance pieces to take her from workout to daily life in a second, whatever her fitness regime.
Why is it important to people that they look stylish while working out?
There’s nothing more confidence-boosting than putting on an outfit and feeling great in it – think of that new LBD you bought that made you feel great on a night out. It’s the same with activewear: if you’re wearing something that looks and feels great on you before you even step in the gym then you’ll feel more inspired to get the most out of your workout.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing is, without doubt, seeing someone wearing the brand and looking and feeling amazing in it.
And the worst?
It’s not really the worst as I love what I do, but I would say is the long hours. Starting your own business requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Every day is totally different for me – there are only two of us in the Every Second Counts office so as I’m sure you can imagine we wear a lot of different hats!
What do you enjoy doing outside of running Every Second Counts?
I am a qualified Pilates instructor so I also teach private clients and group classes throughout the week which is hugely rewarding. Days off are rare for me, but when I do have some time to myself it generally involves fitness of some kind, it’s my way of zoning out! I’m always on the look out for new and fun ways to train and challenge my body.
What’s next for Every Second Counts? Do you have any plans for the year ahead?
We have just launched our menswear range which is really exciting for the brand. We’ve had constant interest from men at our pop-up events wanting to know if we do a menswear range so it was great to finally be able to reveal it.