BRIAVIA is a Female-Owned Sustainable Activewear Brand to Check Out

For women, by women

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Meet Brianna Wu, founder of AAPI women-owned and operated BRIAVIA. Based in Los Angeles, the brand (which was originally started as a hobby), has since turned into a passionate driven business. As the daughter of immigrants, Wu has a strong pride in the diverse cultures, people, and places that make the world what it is, along with a unique story about her journey in the world of activewear. At the age of eighteen, Brianna moved to Los Angeles and founded BRIAVIA shortly after. Heavily involved in every step of the development process, her tiny LA apartment used to double as a warehouse and she would process, pack, and ship every order herself, refusing to sacrifice quality materials or the planet in the process.

By only using the highest quality fabrics to ensure the longevity of its designs, planting a tree with every order purchased, being committed to size inclusivity, and manufacturing over 50% of its pieces in the USA, BRIAVIA cements itself as a brand and founder to look out for and to support. 

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ONE37pm: Hi Brianna! It’s so great to connect with you! Can we start by introducing yourself to our ONE37pm audience?

Brianna: Hello and thank you! My name is Brianna and I am the founder and designer of BRIAVIA. If you’re looking for a more minimalistic approach to fashion that focuses on quality over quantity, then my brand is for you!

ONE37pm: Let’s talk about BRIAVA. What inspired you to create this line?

Brianna: I’ve always been interested in working in the clothing industry. My high school retail experience taught me the importance of organization, my time as a stylist showed me how a good outfit correlated to a boost of confidence, and my work as an influencer taught me how fulfilling it was to inspire and connect with an audience. Later on, working as a model, I learned that teamwork makes the dream work. Creating BRIAVIA allowed me to combine everything I've learned and loved in life all into one job; I was motivated by a desire to fill a gap in the market for quality clothing that also reflected my personal style and aesthetic!

ONE37pm: Now I understand BRIAVIA started initially as a hobby, but now it is a full-fledged business. Can you talk about that journey?

Brianna: I honestly never intended on BRIAVIA becoming my full-time job. It began as a side hustle for three years, and I reinvested my personal earnings before turning it full-time. My first collection cost $3,000, which I funded mainly by selling existing clothes in my closet on a resale app. I started small selling out of my room, then convinced my roommates to let me use our garage, and now finally have an office in downtown LA.

My friends who helped me pack in the garage days are now in my LA studio working full time. I believe that having a strong team has resulted in success since the environment is so fun and feels like family. I never gave up on my vision, even when it took a few years to fully materialize. My drive came from the belief that my team and I could better our lives by continuing to work toward this brand. We kept pushing forward until it became a reality!

ONE37pm: What were some of the obstacles or hurdles that you faced along the way?

Brianna: BRIAVIA was created through a process of trial and error and A LOT of patience. Initially, it was a multifunctional clothing brand, with pieces that could be worn in multiple ways by reversing them, adjusting straps, and wearing them upside down. However, this approach was expensive due to the double amount of fabric required, confused pattern makers, and was difficult to teach customers how to wear them. Thus, I had to pivot and began creating a more straightforward approach. I focused on quality materials, flattering cuts, and solving common solutions to make you look and feel your best.

As a young woman entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, there are unconscious biases that make it harder to gain the trust and respect of investors, (which may have been a blessing in disguise because right now I own 100% of BRIAVIA haha). I’ve had to deal with discrimination and harassment when trying to network, which put me at a disadvantage to have mentorship, learning new skills, and making connections. At the end of the day, women usually have to work harder to prove themselves and overcome stereotypes, and prejudices about their capabilities.

I still face challenges today. For example, I promote my brand as being AAPI owned, but as hate crimes against Asian Americans increased during the recent pandemic, there are still rude internet trolls in my comments, DMs, and emails. Despite these obstacles, my goal is to use my experiences and story to inspire more minority women to become entrepreneurs and leaders.

ONE37pm: What kinds of clothing pieces do you currently offer? Also, the line is sustainable, correct?

Brianna: We are most famously known for our super comfortable quality athleisure and loungewear! We offer tanks, tees, dresses, bodysuits, pants, and all your everyday essentials. Our pieces value comfort, and simplicity, and are thoughtfully designed to flatter your unique features. We want to help people build a minimalist wardrobe and strive for a more sustainable approach to fashion.

My ultimate goal has always been to create a brand that encourages conscious consumption. BRIAVIA is a sustainable efforts brand. The excess waste produced by fast fashion has been a major concern for me, and I aim to make clothing that can be worn for years. In addition to our "GO GREEN" initiative, where we plant a tree for every purchase made, I sell samples and gently used returns at a discounted price on a third-party reselling app. I am planning to create a dedicated section for this effort on my website this year.

I am also educating my customers by providing monthly reports on how they contribute to environmental conservation. I believe since my business has an audience, why not educate my customers and provide them with resources or options to learn more? This business is not just about creating clothes, it's about building a brand that challenges the fast-fashion ecosystem and empowers people to make conscious decisions when shopping. 

ONE37pm: What is your favorite part of what you do?

Brianna: Seeing a customer's confidence grow while wearing my clothing is the ultimate validation as a designer. Clothing plays a big role in how we present ourselves to the world, and when you see a customer feeling good about something you've created, it means that you've been able to tap into their personal style and experience the best version of themselves. To me, clothing is not just a practical necessity, but a form of self-expression and can greatly affect anyone regardless of age or gender. While I love creating something that looks good, my favorite part is helping people feel good! 

ONE37pm: What can we expect from BRIAVA in the future?

Brianna: We're introducing new sets, dresses, and bodysuits made from premium knit fabrics with a focus on chunky textures. In addition to new styles, we also want to strengthen our connection with our customers. We're grateful for the support we've received and want to properly compensate those who’ve helped spread the word, so we're launching a brand ambassador and affiliate marketing program. Last December, we had our first successful pop-up event in partnership with Spotify and we're planning to host more in the future to allow customers to shop in person.

For an even more personal shopping experience, we're opening our downtown LA showroom (by appointment only) where you can take cute content in our aesthetically pleasing showroom and try on clothes. Lastly, we are talking with a few local fitness studios to collaborate on an event to promote wellness!

Make sure to keep with all things Brianna and Briavia on Instagram.

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