Sōlo the Staple Is Proof it’s Possible to Launch a Brand in a Time of Crisis


Without small business, we’re nothing. TheLatch— and GoDaddy have teamed up to rally behind local businesses and entrepreneurs during this unprecedented time of change.

We’re speaking to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to better understand how they’re adapting to stay open, how they’re keeping their community safe, and how we can support them now during this time, and beyond. We’re focused on keeping Australia open for business, even if doors are closed. #OpenWeStand

We’re tipping our hat to Alicia Superina, the Adeliade-based mother, entrepreneur, and founder of brand new activewear label, sōlo the staple.

Launched on February 14, 2020, amid a global pandemic and two full years after she first conceptualised the brand, Superina’s showstopping bodysuits stand out for their flattering silhouettes, ingenious and practical design, and supportive performance through a range of exercises.

Bodysuits aside (and there are currently four different silhouettes to choose from), sōlo the staple also has a range of bike shorts, leggings, tanks and new cropped sweaters, all of which are designed to move with your body, with buttery-soft fabrics and fiddle-free features.

Superina’s mission was always to create a functional collection of activewear that flattered every figure while requiring no re-adjustment during her favourite class, KX Pilates.

“I found that I was always pausing mid-class to tuck my singlet into my leggings, and I wasn’t alone in this habit; it seemed everyone in class was always busy readjusting their clothing.

“I had the thought that a bodysuit would solve this frustration and went on the hunt for one to buy. With only a few activewear one-pieces on the market, I quickly realised that none were supportive, flattering or fashionable.

“I dreamed of a functional, stylish, hold-me-in bodysuit that would turn heads — one that I could tuck a tank into on my way in and out of class. This was the thought process that would eventually lead me to creating the ultimate in one-piece activewear: sōlo, the piece you would always wear, the staple.”

But of course, launching a business in the midst of a global crisis does not come without its challenges, as Superina tells us. We sat down with the activewear entrepreneur to find out more about the process of launching a business during a pandemic, and find out how we can show our support.

Katie Skelly: Alicia! Tell me about sōlo the staple and what gets you out of bed in the morning?

Alicia Superina: Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing and whoever I’m with, I always like to present myself nicely. Working out is no exception — my choice of activewear is important to me, and when I look good, I feel good in any situation.

Sōlo excites me every single day. I’m constantly brainstorming new bodysuit designs and pieces to wear with them. I am driven to create something to suit every individual’s taste.

I love the sōlo brand and what I have created. Women deserve to feel confident and look gorgeous when they sweat. I am proud that our customers can wear a bodysuit that fits beautifully and looks amazing — creating a silhouette to flaunt. That is my business; giving women that feeling. That is what gets me out of bed every morning.

“Women deserve to feel confident and look gorgeous when they sweat.”

KS: We love the bodysuits and the way they feel during workouts. Now, obviously you launched during the COVID-19 era. What has this been like for your business?

AS: I was really fortunate that my first collection was delivered only weeks before COVID-19 struck. Launching at the start of the pandemic was incredibly unlucky, and our launch date fell exactly one month before gyms closed around Australia.

Within a very short period of time, I managed to collect enough content for Instagram to get me through until gyms and studios reopen (whenever that will be). As soon as gyms closed, working out at home went into overdrive on Instagram. I took advantage of this new trend to help drive exposure and sales, ensuring I was showcasing sōlo pieces in home workout settings as well.

Postal services have been under an immense amount of pressure since the onset of COVID-19. As we ship our pieces all over the world, we have been plagued with lengthy international shipping delays. This has been very frustrating for me as I want my customers to receive their orders as quickly as possible.

I have made it a personal priority to keep in contact with our international customers as they wait for their deliveries. I love it when I receive an email from my customers telling me how excited they are to see the green sōlo satchel in their mailbox.

KS: That must have been quite stressful. What does all of this mean for you and your business now?  

AS: Online activewear isn’t the worst industry to be in during this time, as people have been wearing activewear more in the past few months than perhaps ever before. The introduction of a completely new style of workout clothing such as our sōlo bodysuits seems to have helped to motivate and inspire people to remain active or to start a new form of exercise. What’s more, when we come to the end of this pandemic, we are all going to need some new pieces to flaunt in the gym or studio!

As sōlo is an online business, I have not had to close physical stores, nor have I had to go through the heartbreak of letting staff go. I count myself very lucky that I haven’t had to face either of these dilemmas. With the volumes that we are selling at the moment, I am still managing to hand pack all the orders myself. This is great, as I want to feel connected to my customers and to have the opportunity to thank returning customers for their second and third orders, which is something that wouldn’t happen if order packing was fulfilled by a third party.

I am keen to hang sōlo in retail stores, although I imagine the potential to break further into the wholesale market will remain on hold for a while longer (which is understandable considering the current retail situation).

KS: It’s great that you’ve been able to limit the ways your business has been affected. Perhaps it’s too soon to tell, but has there been any major financial impacts? 

AS: I guess I’m lucky in one way that sōlo doesn’t really know any different. The business was launched just as COVID-19 was starting to take hold, and we have been stuck there ever since.

I know there are lots of people doing it tough because they have either lost their jobs or had their pay cut. However, while those doing it tough might not be spending money on any non-essentials right now, there are others who are doing a lot of online shopping — so maybe that has helped to offset any loss we may have otherwise experienced.

“The business was launched just as COVID-19 was starting to take hold, and we have been stuck there ever since.”

KS: I know I’ve been doing my fair share of online shopping… Have you put any immediate plans in plans to pivot your business?

AS: As sōlo is sold online, delivery time is important for customers. One area for improvement is our international shipping. I am currently in the process of moving to DHL for our international deliveries as they will be able to deliver faster than our current postal service, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic. I am motivated to always find the best solutions for our customers and to ensure they have the best experience with sōlo.

What’s more, we will continue to evolve by listening to our customers. By providing feedback and by voting with their dollars, customers provide you with clear direction on what styles to create next for your collection. Bodysuits are the heartbeat of sōlo the staple and have been the biggest sellers of the collection, so I wouldn’t be surprised if our signature piece continues to be the star performer of our soon-to-be-released Series 2 collection and beyond.

KS: I’m already excited to see what’s next! Tell me, how can people support your business right now? What can we do to help! 

AS: Engagement with our content on Instagram is a great way to support sōlo. If you purchase our pieces, make sure you tag us so I can reshare you on our stories. I am on the journey with my customers. I personally see the name on the order come through, write them a little thank you note, package up their order in a lovely sōlo tote bag and then send it off to them.

So, when someone tags sōlo the staple in a photo, I get so excited to see who it is. I really love this connection to my customers on a personal level. I can see a burst of confidence in the wearer of a sōlo bodysuit. They know they look amazing in it! That’s how I want them to feel because that’s how I want to feel.

KS: I love that! Now I’m curious: Have your plans for the future changed at all because of the current climate? And do you think the industry will be changed?

AS: I will certainly remain as an online retailer into the future and we are fortunate to have focused on online sales from the very beginning. However, I really want people to enjoy trying on our pieces in a ‘bricks and mortar’ store as well so they can feel how beautiful the fabrics are.

One of the most common responses to our bodysuits is that the fabric is so buttery that the wearer doesn’t want to take it off. You can’t demonstrate that in a photo. For this reason, I would like to see sōlo hanging in retail stores as soon as possible.

As for the industry in general, I believe that home workouts will remain an important part of everyday life for the foreseeable future. Many people have adapted to a home gym setup and now realise how easy it is for them to find the time and space to work out at home.

For this reason, we will continue to feature home workouts on our social media to ensure our customers feel like we are best representing their everyday reality. That said, we — like many of our customers — are hanging out to get back into the studio and to have the chance to flaunt our sōlo silhouette outside the home!

The bottom line is, we will always listen to our customers and will pivot our collection and our service to keep our community inspired, motivated and feeling great while they stay active.

Show your support for sōlo the staple now by browsing the collection or engaging with the brand on Instagram

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