When Pilates instructor Anissa Germain helped fashion designer Gabrielle Davies, a lack of balance led to a beautiful friendship and a budding business empire.

In the Autumn of 2010, I began taking Pilates classes in Tunbridge Wells with Anissa after becoming concerned that I was losing my balance. I have done many exercise classes over the years, but this was the only one that made me feel happy, motivated, and I didn’t dread going to. I’m proud to say, 7 years later, I am still attending two classes a week, and still enjoying every one.

Throughout the 7 years, I have trained with Anissa she has noticeably developed as an instructor. Anissa personalised exercises for me to meet my specific goals, improve my balance and my lifestyle. Through the classes and social events, Anissa became aware that I earned my living designing clothes for high street stores. Anissa told me she wanted to develop her own brand and set up Bora Studio in the centre of Tunbridge Wells. She had found the perfect building, and decided that, among other things, she wanted to launch a Pilates clothing range also under the Bora brand. I was excited when Anissa approached me to help produce the Bora Pilates clothing collection and felt with our combined knowledge it would be a great success.

I have over twenty years’ experience designing and producing ladies wear for many of the big high street stores including: Top shop, Zara, Next, and John Lewis.

This project is an exciting new venture, but having worked on several similar throughout my career, I know firsthand how hard it is to successfully create a new brand. However, I am looking forward to the challenge and very optimistic about Bora’s future. It was fortunate that Anissa and I had similar ideas and goals for the brand. Although, after a few (many) glasses of Prosecco our imaginations ran a tad wild, and the small, realistic, capsule range that we could easily manage had exploded into a 100-piece collection being shown on the catwalks of Paris, Milan, and New York. Although very unrealistic, at this stage it was nice to aim high, and we certainly were doing that.

Reluctantly, we came back to reality and realised the hard work ahead of us. To make this dream a reality we had to first source our fabric and decide the colours for our first collection. The small quantities posed numerous problems because suppliers have minimum requirements on fabrics, and manufacturers are reluctant to run small productions. I went to several fabric suppliers in the North of England that, unfortunately, could only supply large quantities. Anissa and I agreed that the collection needed to be small enough for us to introduce new shapes and prints on a regular basis. The large quantities on offer clearly were not going to help us achieve that goal. After a lot of phoning, e-mailing, calling in favours, and at one point begging, I hit the jackpot and found a lovely company who would supply me with the quantities needed. The fabric quality was excellent and they would produce our prints exclusively.

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