Pilates, both reformer and mat, might be all the rage in the fitness world right now — but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, it’s popularity is thanks to pioneers in the Pilates game like Melissa Pain, founder of MoveActive, who helped push it to the mainstream.

The brand, now 13 years since its inception, was founded by Pain’s desire to create “stylish, comfortable and functional grip socks for the modern Pilates and Yoga enthusiast.”

“I wanted to make pilates and yoga non-slip socks a fun accessory but also stylish. Since 2009 we’ve constantly evolved our ranges in the pursuit of perfecting our design to ensure we stay ahead of trends,” says Pain. “Fast forward 13 years and MoveActive is now the leading pilates and yoga accessories brand in Australia, with more than 2,000 stockists globally and rapidly expanding.”

While MoveActive specialises in all kinds of Pilates equipment, from grip socks in a range of fun and colourful prints to Pilates rings and mats, the brand has evolved to be so much more than that — becoming a space that inspires its community to move.

As part of Her Black Book’s ‘The List’, a celebration of our Top 40 brands as chosen by you, we spoke with Pain about the MoveActive journey.

“Prior to 2009 and before MoveActive was born, I was doing around five Pilates reformer classes a week at various studios in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. It was then that I realised there were no socks in Australia that had anything unique about them; there was generally only one or maybe two colours available - black, and sometimes pink. I also noticed the socks available weren’t designed with movement and functionality in mind - there was a lack of high quality, comfortable and stylish socks available for my classes and I knew I couldn’t be the only person thinking surely they could be more fun?”

“A mistake I made early on was trusting that other people, like suppliers, would deliver the quality that an owner would expect - I had to reject so many products in the initial start-up phase of MoveActive. I quickly learnt to check and recheck the quality of a job, and never to accept the ‘close enough is good enough’ philosophy. Now our suppliers know not to send anything but the quality that I have always expected.”

“One thing I’ve always tried to do is listen to customer feedback. Over the years this has helped us improve and create products that our customers want/need. As soon as our first patterned grip socks hit the market, our customers were continually throwing out suggestions of more patterns that they wanted.”

“At MoveActive we have always believed in giving back to the communities we are passionate about and fortunate enough to support. We have partnered with I=Change to donate $1 from every online order to one of three impactful charities the customer selects at checkout. For every donation, the entire donation reaches the charity - no deductions or fees are applied. We are 100% transparent with our donations, and so far, have raised more than $43,000 for extraordinary development projects around the globe.”