At only two years young, Avyanna Athleisure is gaining traction thanks to wonder woman Joanna Morden and her business partner KQ Quiray. The latter, Joanna, shares that the path to Avyanna Athleisure was not a clearly defined one from the start, having started out as a chemical engineer with a Master’s degree in Business Administration, now working full-time as a project manager in an electric utility. Her passion for fitness (she works out at least five times a week!) naturally led her to creating an activewear line that can also be work on the go.
Joanna also shares that she travels a lot (at least in the pre-pandemic era) and would make it a point to go to a new place every year, citing her top three favorite places in the world as Kyoto, Amsterdam, and El Nido. Get to know this ladypreneur more through our interview feature.
Joanna shares Avyanna Athleisure was birthed during a difficult period in her life
Avyanna Athleisure is a line of easy workout pieces that are wearable even on casual days out
Tell us a bit about your entrepreneurship journey (how it started, etc.)
This might not be the most conventional reason but while I’ve always thought of having my own business, Avyanna started during a difficult phase in my life and I needed to be busy and distracted. To be honest, it wasn’t really about needing the extra income as I have a stable corporate job. It was more of wanting to have something to call my own and prove myself that I can be successful in it.
Have you always been entrepreneurial? How did you grow into your entrepreneurial role?
I’ve always wanted to start a business but I was just too afraid to take the risk. I thought of activewear because I’ve always been passionate about fitness and I’m always motivated to work out whenever I have a new sports bra or tights. Also, there’s really no season for getting fit as people work out all year round. But I knew that it would be hard to grow the business if I were to do it alone, so I partnered with my friend KQ Quiray. Avyanna Athleisure is a two-woman team and while our operations may not be perfect and we’re still learning, we’ve managed to stay afloat and we’re turning two this year.
Favorite book/s that inspired or motivated you in your journey?
a. The $100 Startup
b. Who Says You Can’t? You Do
The founder of the brand has a passion for fitness, working out at least five times a week
On normal work days, Joanna tends to her growing brand while managing her corporate job
What’s your caffeinated beverage of choice?
Share one instant when you felt like giving up and how you got over it.
With Avyanna, I haven’t reached that point yet (and hopefully I won’t). But for the number of times I’ve been disheartened, I just pause, cry my heart out to unload then reevaluate. Of course, prayers always work.
Virtual meetings: yay or nay?
Yay and Nay. Yay because I don’t need to travel or dress up. Nay because of blurred lines between home and work. Virtual meetings can extend even to the weekends since people know that you are just at home.
What does your typical work day look like?
I work onsite 2x a week, typical corporate job from 9 to 6. Three days, I work from home. On days, I work from home, I work out after and attend classes either at Plana Forma or The Movement Studio. Onsite days are my rest days because I’m too exhausted to do anything once I get home.
What does rest look like for you? What do you love doing outside of work?
Rest days are for “Me time” I work out then either go to my derma or to the salon or get my nails done. Sometimes, I meet up with friends for coffee or drinks. I love exploring new restaurants and cafes. I also like to cook and bake.
How do you maintain work-life balance?
I make sure to shut off my work devices during the weekends. I try to log off at 6pm on weekdays and work out after to destress. I take my vacation leaves and travel to reset. The thing with working from home because of the pandemic is that office hours tend to extend unlike before that work’s done once you leave the office so I try my best to still follow my pre-pandemic work hours.
Were there any challenges you faced along the way as a woman in business?
We are a two-woman team, we’re very hands on and that can be very stressful dealing with challenging customers, errors in shipments, dealing with Customs. Of course at the start, we were barely making income and our sales was just enough to cover our credit card charges.
Name three women you look up to that inspire you in business.
a. Rissa Mananquil-Trillo of Happy Skin
b. Aira Medina and Chi Gibbs of Neon Island
c. Melanie Perkins of Canva
Three favorite Instagram accounts you follow (doesn’t have to be business-related)
a. @wetheurban – for motivation and inspiration
b. @beautifuldestinations – takes me to beautiful places around the world
c. @avelovin – she’s my favorite travel vlogger
"There will be setbacks but stay focused and do not be disheartened instead learn from it," shares Joanna.
What’s on your playlist?
My playlist is so diverse depending on my mood. From Honne to Dua Lipa to Up Dharma Down to a random Laboracay EDM playlist.
What one piece of advice would you give any aspiring female business leaders reading this?
If you are aspiring to start your own business, it has to be something that you are really passionate about because it’s not just about making money, you have to enjoy it too. Ask yourself if it’s something that you picture yourself doing everyday for a long period of time and if your answer is yes, then you’re set to take the first step.
Be prepared. Know your market, test your products, take financial risks and manage your time well. This maybe cliché but it really won’t be easy but it’s always worth it. There will be setbacks but stay focused and do not be disheartened instead learn from it. Be patient because success will not come overnight and it might take a while. And while there are still some who believe that men are better leaders, believe that women are just as equally capable. Believe in yourself.
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