Building a community of women where uplifting each other was as important as any product they share.
Headquarters: Draper, UT
Erin Bradley, Co-Founder
Jeremiah Bradley, Co-Founder
Products: Fitness Apparel
The spark of Zyia Active was born on a moonlit evening along a snow-dusted hike in the Utah mountains as Erin Bradley climbed alongside other women. From the back of the group, she watched as the women encouraged each other, supporting each other through missteps and stumbles, as they climbed closer and closer to the summit. The intensity of the moment stopped her in her tracks.
“This is what we need,” she thought. “This is what I crave more in my life: women supporting women, uplifting each other and empowering one another.”
A Culture Company
Zyia Active Co-founders Erin and Jeremiah Bradley were no strangers to the direct sales industry, as Jeremiah had held leadership positions in multi-level marketing companies throughout his career. And while he’d encouraged Erin to dream up a new direct sales venture with him, she simply couldn’t see herself “selling” anything. What she could see and feel, especially after that auspicious moonlight hike, was the desire to build something—specifically, a community of women where uplifting each other was as important as any product they might share. Choosing activewear as the focus for the company was a natural fit, as Erin’s passion for staying active and engaged in outdoor adventures is simply part of who she is.
“[After that hike] I really couldn’t get that out of my mind,” she explains. “I kept thinking, how can we start some type of community where we promote just that—where we promote uplifting. And so, we just started doing the ‘what ifs’—like what if we created an activewear company in the direct sales format, and take so many of those emotions and feelings that I felt on that moonlit hike and create a company that encompasses all of that.”
So Zyia Active was born, the name derived from an Arabic word for “light” or “glow.”
The company was founded in 2017 around four pillars or priorities that continue to inspire the Bradleys and their team today: community, activity, uplift and light. To the Zyia team and field, the pillars aren’t just corporate values; they’re guiding forces behind the way they’ve intentionally built the community and culture of the company.
“We’re constantly, on a daily basis, talking about and making sure that those pillars are engrained in every decision and that our Reps understand that they’re what we’re all about,” Erin explains. “They all know that those are the four pillars that we stand by.”
Jeremiah considers Zyia to be more of a culture company than even an activewear and lifestyle brand.
“We have this community where people are constantly uplifting each other,” he says. “Because we put so much emphasis on uplifting and encouraging people and not being negative, what we’ve heard so many times is that if there is a ‘Negative Nellie’ or someone who likes to complain, one of two things typically happens. That person either changes their attitudes or they leave because they just feel uncomfortable. If you’re not in that mind frame, you’re going to feel out of place.”
This kind of intentional, collaborative “vibe” is noticeable even in the Zyia corporate workspace, explains Holly Reed, Vice President, Marketing.
“Instead of investing in a glamorous office space with marble floors and a fountain out front, we work in a functional and flexible space with only a few private offices,” Holly shares. “This open concept environment leads to a lot of collaborating, brainstorming, and ‘pitching in’ between departments. That feeling that the people around you have your back filters into the field as well. We hear again and again the stories from Reps who ‘came for the leggings, but stayed for the community,’ and it’s very gratifying.”
Simple Social Selling
The Zyia Active collection features activewear for women, men and children, in a range of inclusive sizes. Shoppers can place orders online or through a Zyia Rep, once they browse the expansive selection of apparel options for gym, yoga, golf and running, as well as casual and office wear. A new product is released every Wednesday on social media, so the catalog is constantly expanding, making it easy for Reps to instantly share new releases with their customers. With over 130,000 followers on Instagram alone, every new release is guaranteed
a wide audience.
“Every Wednesday, once we post our new releases, it’s seen by millions because we have over 40,000 active Reps who immediately share those same posts,” Jeremiah shares. “So, our Reps have a constant flow of customers purchasing their product. Nearly 75 percent of our revenue comes from actual customers, which means only 25 percent of our total revenue is coming from Reps. The amount of commissions is being paid out to a smaller pool. You’re going to earn a lot more commission as a Rep for Zyia than you would at another company where, 60 percent to 70 percent of your revenue comes from Reps.”
Social media makes sharing Zyia easy, but the team feels that simply wearing the clothes while living an active lifestyle is the quickest way Reps can introduce the line to the people around them.
“We make a great product that most people need, and it sells itself,” states Holly. “People naturally talk about their clothing, especially in the context of activity. If you don’t feel like a natural sales person, but you love working out Zyia’s a great opportunity to explore. Other companies make great products too, but nothing’s easier to talk about than your cute, high-quality leggings.”
Prospective Zyia Reps can enroll with the company for $295 and receive a kit that includes five pieces of clothing, a $100 gift card to select additional apparel and business tools to get started. The kit contents vary week-to-week but generally create a complete outfit. Once enrolled, new Zyia Reps are walked through a training process designed to engage rather than overwhelm.
“When you click ‘join’ on any direct sales website, there’s a tsunami of information just around the corner, poised to drown you,” Holly explains. “That’s why we offer training in many different formats and contexts. We roll out that new information one day at a time for the first five days in a series of emails. The goal is to guide each Rep through short, actionable steps to help them be successful. We host weekly live trainings as well as a support portal with articles, videos, and community features to let Reps help themselves. Additionally, we’re developing a new app that will feature a wide array of bite-size trainings our Reps can complete in the short pockets of time we all have tucked around our days.”
On to the Next Summit
The moonlit hike that sparked Erin’s inspiration to launch Zyia had a clear summit, one that required the women ascending to support and uplift each other with every step. Since that initial climb, Zyia hasn’t stopped climbing, tackling one summit after another.
Like many in the direct sales industry, Zyia faced logistics and shipping issues throughout 2020. But the unexpected demand for activewear from consumers who found themselves suddenly homebound and dressed down created inventory challenges the company wasn’t prepared for.
“[When COVID hit] we had tempered our expectations and decided to order less product, thinking we’d drop in revenue,” Jeremiah shares. “But in April, instead of dropping, we actually more than doubled in revenue. We grew by over 125 percent. Our inventory levels were in a precarious situation where we normally wanted to have three to four months of inventory. And we sold through half of that in one month, and then May exploded even more, so by mid-May, we were pretty much out of all product.”
The Zyia team was again guided by their four pillars and remained transparent with their field community throughout the challenges. Shipments were flown in at higher costs rather than shipped by boat, Reps were flexible and communicated with their customers and the team weathered those wild initial months. In the end, both Reps and customers felt taken care of, and Zyia earned trust that made everything worthwhile.
The next summit on the horizon is the launch of the company’s operations in Australia, expected late this year or early 2022. Australia will join Zyia’s operations in the U.S. and Canada, with more international expansion planned for the future. In the short term, the Bradleys are excited about new product lines and innovations in activewear; but most importantly, they’re focused on maintaining the inspiring culture that’s inspired every next step of the journey.
“With culture being as important as it is to us, that’s probably our number one focus,” Jeremiah says. “What we really hope is that we have the same emphasis on our four pillars, that the same culture is there, and that anyone could walk down the hall, whether it’s our corporate office or an event with our Reps, and that same culture will be present.”