Born from a love of snowboarding, Anakie is an Australian brand of female specific outerwear that is fashionable and technical with unique colours and bright fun prints
Erin studied fashion design at university. For her final year assignment she created an outerwear collection. It wasn’t well received by her teachers, but she kept designing and putting ranges together. Doing seasons in Mammoth and working in a ski shop, she got talking to the buyer. She put a small collection together and showed it to some other buyers and then attended the SIA trade show in Vegas, and started getting small orders from then. Now seven years later, Anakie sells outerwear in the States, Australia , Japan and France.
Anakie was born not just out of a love of snowboarding but also out of necessity, with a lack of style in women’s outerwear. “At the time most of the women’s outerwear was an after-thought of the men’s range” Erin tells me. “It was like, lets just take a good selling men’s jacket, make it smaller and make it in pink. I’d been taught at uni to put together fashion ranges, but coordinating with mix and match pieces which wasn’t around back then. And that’s what Anakie does, if we have a statement print, like a floral with green, pink and purple, we’ll have the matching green, pink and purple pants. It’s just to be really bright and fun.”
Working with a textile designer who Erin learnt to snowboard with, all of the printed fabrics are unique to Anakie, they’re not stock plaids or florals. “We put a lot of time into that because often that’s what sells a garment, the print or the colour, and that gives us a point of difference. If you just want a black cargo pant you can get it from someone else cheaper.”
Anakie isn’t full time for Erin, she also works for a one piece ski wear company in Denver and fashion forecasting agencies doing street and trend reports in Melbourne and other cities. “It helps me with my own trending, looking at colours and styling. The inspiration for our prints comes from a fashion source rather than from what the other ski and snowboard brands are doing, which keeps us a little bit different each season.
Predominantly selling overseas, Erin would like to do more in Australia and expand overseas aswell. “It’s just finding the time to approach new markets. The difficulty is that the Australian market buy at the same time as the international markets and I’m usually going back and forth overseas at that time of year. The shops that it does sell to does pretty well” Erin tells me. “They buy small amounts but they do have pretty good sell through. Online overseas is growing and the online stores in America is huge, with a large customer base.”
Anakie are mostly outerwear. They don’t have a stocked line of accessories, but occasionally will do a beanie or a face mask. They’re doing apres coats, longer coats that aren’t as waterproof, and making some longer vests for next year. Erin is now working on winter ’17, winter ’16 is already done and sold. The timeline is really crazy for Australia, last January we were selling winter 16 which will ship into stores in America in Sept/Oct but Australian stock is held for the following season.
If all that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Erin and Anakie are also involved in Chicks with Stix (CwS). A program that encourages young girls to get involved in skiing and snowboarding, Anakie is one of the main sponsors. Erin has known co-founder Zoe Jaboor for a long time, doing seasons together overseas. Anakie took over as a sponsor of the CwS program a few years ago, supplying prizes and gear for the coaches. Erin also helps with some of the organisation, coordinating and sometimes coaching some of the sessions.
“It is good to coach the sessions to give back because the girls get a lot out of it. All the girls involved in Chicks with Stix have had amazing achievements in skiing or snowboarding and you don’t actually realise how much knowledge you have of the sport, travelling and gear until you take the girls out and sit on a chairlift with them and give them tips.
Outside of working at the resorts, Erin tries to get up to Hotham as often as possible, where she started skiing from the age of two and is a member of a lodge. “I try to go skiing when I’m in America, I usually go somewhere in California/Colorado and combine it with a work trip. It used to be more skiing and just a bit of work, now it’s more work, hardly any skiing, so it gradually keeps going the other way” she tells me laughing.
“It’s great to work in an environment that you love but it’s also important to do some skiing/snowboarding outside of work just for fun and to keep you passionate. I love coaching and helping with events and designing outerwear, but sometimes it’s good on a powder day just to go skiing without any commitments.” I couldn’t agree more Erin.