After designing sportswear for several international and niche brands, we found a gap between the product development process and local sentiment. With that in mind, we set out to create a made-in-UAE activewear brand catering to the climate, culture and body types of women in the MENASA region.
After vetting all potential production partners across the UAE, as well as sourcing local and regional textile manufacturers given there are no local mills, we created a supply chain that enabled us to create high quality sportswear with unique fabrics, prints and finishing. We spent months documenting the real world needs of women in the region leading up to product development, and recorded feedback post-production and in order to inform the business model. By releasing small collections in limited quantities, we tested the response to fabrics, cuts, colors and patterns. With each product release, we optimized the design to cater to the market need. After two years of operation, we rebranded from Elevaete to QNTM to provide a broader appeal.
Aside from training in gyms and studios alongside our community, we hosted, partnered in and collaborated on events across the fitness and wellness community such as the Dubai Women’s Run. We created event concepts like the “Stretch & Talk” series that encouraged women from all backgrounds and beliefs to share, self-educate and, of course, move. We partnered with key influencers in the local and regional market to model and represent the brand, collaborated with boutique gyms and wellness brands to increase reach, and spoke at Retail Middle East on how ‘Passion Drives Success’. In order to raise the platform for all women, we worked with a range of women to represent the brand from different ethnicities, with different body types, and at different fitness levels.
Being the first at the time to create made-in-UAE activewear, we were covered by several notable media platforms such as Harper’s Bazaar, What’s On, Popsugar, Women’s Health Middle East, Sports 360, and so on. Our stockists ranged from large retailers such as Sun & Sand Sports, to boutique luxury concessions such as Emirates Palace Spa. This helped position the brand as a niche, local-first concept and by 2017 we began discussions with Swarovski to create pieces in collaboration. The pieces went to market in 2020.