Allie Duff created Pure Balanxed at the age of 25, with no background in fashion or design. She had the idea of launching this brand after struggling with an eating disorder herself, and today, the entire brand’s philosophy is about building confidence and making women feel comfortable both in their clothes and their own skin. We chatted with Allie about her vision of the fashion industry and how important it is for us to support each other in 2020 in our latest #WomenInspiringWomen.
What inspired you for to start your own business?
I always dreamed of having my own business, I was actually inspired by a personal trainer of mine when I was 15 and then went tunnel vision into owning my own fitness studio. |Ten years later at the age of 25 it turned into Pure Balanxed, a fashion brand. I love the aspect of taking an idea and turning a dream into a reality. That’s what Pure Balanxed is to me. I actually don’t have any background in fashion or design, I was an athlete and didn’t step out of that world until 2018 when I started Pure Balanxed. The whole concept was developed through my personal illnesses, I found a gap in the market for women’s clothing brands and took my life experiences from my healing journey to bring it all to life.
What differentiates your brand from the rest?
Clothing is a very saturated market, that’s a given, but I think there are gaps when it comes to ethnically Canadian made fashion brands. Pure Balanxed is built on a foundation of community, I never make any decisions without the #purebalanxedcommunity top of mind. I truly believe that the clothing we wear has the power to transform how we feel, when people wear Pure Balanxed I want them to feel confident, supported and strong. There are many aspects about our brand and clothing that guide that; from our fabrics, designs and our signature affirmation tags. Our affirmation tags are sewn onto each of our pieces and offer messages of support and strength to the wearers. They truly set us apart and have built such a strong foundation for our community, I hear daily from our customers how important they are to their journey and to me that is so powerful.
Do you have a life motto?
I don’t have a specific quote or mantra that I follow but what I do work on, and will forever live my life around, is living a life worth living. I lived in darkness for too long, I struggled to take care of myself mentally and physically and constantly pulled myself down. So now not only do I work hard everyday to stay healthy, I also work on being present in the moment as well as creating a future and life I enjoy and feel inspired by. Life is so short and only we have the power to choose how we get to spend our days.
Tell us about the reality of your industry?
I am still learning all about the fashion industry. When I started Pure Balanxed, I had no idea what it was like, nor what I was doing, I spent the majority of the first year making multiple mistakes, googling everything and learning as I went. With that being said, I quickly learned that there is so much that goes on behind the scenes that as a consumer, you will never know about. From the reality of fast fashion; the amount of waste that is accumulated through clothing being overproduced, the fabrics that are hurting our planet, the unfairly paid workers and working conditions, the lack of diversity and size inclusivity represented across the board.
I learned quickly what I didn’t want to do when it came to running a fashion brand, owning a business and growing a brand. I also realized that the way I approach my brand is not the same as others. I lead with community in mind; I focus on every detail and that gets represented through our designs. I also care tremendously about who makes our clothing. I want to know everything to ensure that every stage from the idea to the physical product is intentional. I think there is a skewed version of starting a clothing brand. There are certain ways to have a fast paced clothing brand and it’s easy to get sucked into fast fashion. That never appealed to me, I am so proud of being locally produced.
What’s the one product that’s always in your purse?
Sunglasses, I can’t go anywhere without them literally can’t do anything without them! Now, since it is 2020 and we are living in a pandemic I always have a couple Pure Balanxed masks and hand sanitizer with me.
What is a fact about you that would surprise others?
I am extremely introverted and quite shy at times. For as long as I can remember I was always the shy and quiet one. I kept everything to myself and was way scared to speak up. I think people tend to be surprised about this as I am quite open about my struggles online but when it comes to real life I am internally freaking out.
What changes concerning women would you like to see in 2020?
In my perfect world women would be treated equally, no matter look, size, race and profession all women would have the same chance to do whatever they dream of. Women would bring each other up instead of trying to compete and bring others down. I think that if 2020 has taught me anything it’s to always be kind. With everything we have all gone through this year we all need to lead with kindness and treat each other equally. This especially is a problem in the fashion industry and something that as a business owner and the leader of Pure Balanxed I am always challenging myself on, I never want any women coming to our brand feeling excluded. When women truly lift each other up and celebrate each other, collaborate and unite as a whole there is so much beauty that can unfold. I just envision such a shift in our world when that happens.
What advice would you like to give to today’s women?
To be yourself. We live in a world where everywhere we look we are marketed to be like someone else, we are sold this “perfect” image of what a woman should look like. But, when we learn to accept and love who we truly are as our version of ourselves we let so much unfold. There is such a free feeling when you step into your own power and let go of any expectations others have set on you, it’s something every woman deserves to feel.