Bringing The Magic Of Africa To Activewear

Meet Alies Bol, founder of Frika Activewear. As a migrant from a different culture living in Sydney, Alies found it hard to find products that she could identify with, from skincare to haircare.

Frika Activewear fills that gap with bold, bright colours and African prints that come from different African tribes and countries, making the clothing a true form of expression.

Hi Alies, please tell us a little more about Frika.

Frika Activewear is inspired by bold and bright African prints and is designed with uniqueness for all genders, all age groups, and for both African and non-African descent.

Our range includes sports bras, t-shirts, jackets and hoodies, shorts, tights, tracksuits, and sweatpants. Every garment has gone through thorough product testing and our online shop and social media platforms are firing!

Frika activewear has been featured on ABC, FAIRFIELD CITY MUSEUM & Gallery (Who are you wearing exposition) and SBS. I have participated in the western Sydney Fashion Festival twice for new and emerging fashion designers in Western Sydney and in the Miss Earth Australia Beauty Pageant to share my unique designs on the runway, which was an amazing experience. All were terrific opportunities and exposure for my branding, as I have gained customers.

What was your motivation behind founding Frika?

The idea for Frika Activewear came to existence a few years ago when I found myself wondering why, despite many people of African origin living in Australia, there was not a single shop in the entire Westfield in Sydney that was owned by an African or had products that I could identify with.

Today, activewear brands create wonderful pieces with beautiful colours, styles and designs that transcend just sportswear, becoming athleisure and casual wear that’s now part of personal style.

However, none of them in Australia have any African cultural representation, despite the country having a significant proportion of citizens and residents with African origin.

As a personal trainer who loves fitness and fashion, I decided to change this.

For the last 4 years, I have been through late nights of research, taken part in programs to educate myself, reached out to suppliers and travelled overseas in search of the right factories to design my activewear while working Monday to Friday to support myself and my business idea.

Frika Activewear fills the gap with bold and bright colours and African prints that come from different African tribes and countries and are true forms of expression.

I’m proud to say not only do I now identify with every garment in my range, but every print tells a story. With Frika Activewear, you have quality pieces that have fashion as well as cultural celebration in mind!

What were some of the challenges you’ve faced as a WoC founder starting up?

Finding the right resources and connecting with the right people/community that I could identify with or who understood my vision/idea.

Lack of funding available for WoC.

Not knowing where to get the right help, until this year I was not aware of groups of WoC that I could connect with, so it took me years of going in circles trying to find the right community.

What kept you going during those hard times?

What kept me motivated is my faith, through my faith I learned that nothing is impossible if you believe. I believe in my vision and thought that it took years to be able to see my activewear on runways, I knew that I would achieve my goal. I do not allow fears nor circumstances to block me, however, I see an opportunity through obstacles.

What does a perfect day look like for you?

The perfect day for me is when I do something towards my business, every day is an investment towards my business and that is a perfect day for me.

What is one key piece of advice you would give to aspiring WoC founders?

Do not give up even when things seem not to be moving forward.

Do not be afraid of the challenges. that you will face, they will bring you new experiences and opportunities.

Follow Alies and Frika Activewear on Facebook & Instagram.

Alies was one of 35 WoC founders shortlisted to participate in the very first cohort of the Anyone Can Program.

The WoC Founders Network is incredibly proud to collaborate with The Creative Co-Operative in featuring the amazing stories of WoC Founders in the Anyone Can Program cohorts.

Powered by The Creative Co-Operative, Australia’s first community startup program 100% by and for Bla(c)k Women and Women of Colour, dedicated to getting them not just access to but advancement in the Australian startup ecosystem.

Over 8 weeks, participants engage in a series of workshops, AMA sessions, and events to learn from and collaborate with expert educators providing startup 101 knowledge.

From mental health and ideation to financial foundations and pitching – this program is designed to share the secrets and learnings we wish we had from the beginning.

Expressions of Interest take less than 1 minute to complete and are open now!
OR if you’re an existing founder and want to be amplified via Anyone Can’s Founder Directory, you can enter your details here.
To keep up to date on what Anyone Can is up to, follow them on Instagram here.

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