Sustainability and Female Entrepreneurship: Danielle King's leading the way with her Eco-friendly activewear

Two women in dusty pink athleticwear smiling

We spoke to KIHT Collective's female founder, Danielle King, on what inspired her to start her own sustainable activewear line; The difficulties and challenged she faced; and the future of athleisurewear. 
First things first, we begin all our interview with some quick-fire questions. 

1. What’s one thing you wish you’d known when you started this journey?
Nothing, I don’t think I’d change anything. You’ve just got to trust the process and enjoy the journey. 
2. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Stay curious
3. Is keeping fit and staying active important to you? 
Yes, 100% that’s one of the reasons that I wanted to start KIHT because I believe in health and fitness as a means of living your best life! My favourite types of exercise at the minute are weight lifting and spinning! Both are very different and I’m loving the challenge of them both!
Starting a business is never easy, never mind entering the highly competitive athleisure industry. With big names such as Tala, Gymshark and Lululemon taking up such a big portion of the pie, we asked Danielle what inspired her to start KIHT Collective and what makes her brand different...

I wanted to see change. Being in the fashion industry for a long time I was seeing first hand the damaging effects it was having on both women and the environment. I wanted to see something that inspired and brought women together and had a positive impact. For me, health and fitness was something that has been such a positive force in my life and through KIHT I wanted to share that and inspire a balanced way of living, whilst having a positive impact on the industry. 

The pandemic was incredibly difficult for many businesses, particularly small and new businesses trying to find their feet. Danielle talks about her struggles navigating the pandemic as an SME...
It’s definitely been unexpected! I think the big lessons have been about staying agile and learning to adapt to constantly changing circumstances. It's been a challenge, but the way I see it, if you can navigate this, it only makes you stronger.

KIHT Collective prides itself on it's high quality, refined, capsule collections of products. Whilst the ranges are smaller than high-street alternatives, each item is designed with such care and attention and all the items mix and match perfectly making it easy to throw on for any occasion, rest or play. . We were curious to know what Danielle's favourite piece is. 
Am I allowed to say all of it? I designed the whole range to mix and match as I wanted it to be super wearable, whilst also giving you choice on shapes and styles, like a modern take on a capsule wardrobe. 

With new collections, garment styles, prints and colours constantly in the works, we wanted to know where she gets her inspiration. 
I get my inspiration from everywhere, I love looking at the latest catwalks, street style and love seeing how people wear things day to day and I’m obsessed with how to get you’re wear out of things through styling and dressing things up and down!

KIHT Collective puts sustainability and ethical practice at the forefront of everything it does, but why is this so important to Danielle?
To give a truthful answer to an honest question I’d have to say it’s because I wanted to build something that I was really proud of. I didn’t want to hide anything about the business, I’m an open and honest person and wanted a business that reflected that. I don’t see why people or the planet should suffer for other people. Having spent years in the fashion industry, seeing first hand the factories, it just never sat well with me. 

Being a female entrepreneur can present even more challenges on an already tricky career path, how has being a woman in business affected Danielle?
Great question and it’s definitely a two fold answer. When I first started out I found it very male dominated and a lot of BS. I attended an event of Northern fashion businesses and in a room of 200+ people I could count the women on one hand - and all I got asked all night was ‘so who do you work for then?’. After this I made it my business to find and connect with other female business owners, it has been invaluable as being able to connect with women and inspire and support each other has helped so much! 

We love everything on the website and we can't wait to see what's next. Can you give us any sneak previews into what the future holds for KIHT? 
We’ve got some really big ambitions, for us it’s about working to become ever more sustainable and to continuously contribute to both people and the planet. We’re launching an essentials collection which I’m super excited about. The pieces are all made from organic cotton, recycled polyester and printed with sustainable inks. I also hope that as we start to come out of the pandemic we will be able to host some events and bring our community together offline, to connect, learn and grow together!  

And finally, for all our incredible female readers, what advice would you give to any of them looking to start their own businesses or side hustles? 
They say it takes a village, and I really believe that. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, push and challenge you to be better. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help!
Working on my mindset has been one of the biggest investments I’ve made. In a small business, if you don’t function, the business doesn’t function. One of the most valuable things I’ve learnt is that it’s not about being ‘perfect’ but trying your best.
This mindset shift has helped me so much in those moments when my ‘fears’ of failing creep in. 

Thanks Danielle for your time and we can't wait to see KIHT boom. 

**At Free Soul, your wellbeing is our priority, and although we pride ourselves on our expertise in women's health and wellbeing, it is important to acknowledge the individuality of each person. Features published by Free Soul are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease, or replace the advice of your GP. We always recommend consulting with a healthcare provider if you encounter any health concerns, and we’ll always be here to support you so you’re never alone on your journey.