In an exclusive interview with The Bottom Line, (Saturday 28 June at 4:00pm on Channel
Nine) Founder of active wear label Lorna Jane, Lorna Jane Clarkson tells host and CPA
Australia Chief Executive, Alex Malley, how her empire has been far from the perceived
overnight business success.
“There’s been times when I had to borrow money off my mother to pay the payroll. I think
we went a couple of years without paying ourselves. So there have been times in the
history of Lorna Jane when we’ve asked the question, why are we doing this and is it worth
it…there were times when we sold our house and moved into our factory.”
“At the time the dream was so much bigger, it was like no one understood but you know
you are going to build something that’s so amazing.”
Opening the first Lorna Jane store in 1990, Clarkson explains that her business journey
alongside husband and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Clarkson is defined by their long run of
persistence, passion and determination, rather than an single turning point.
“I don’t think there ever was a point like that. I think it was just, I had been doing dental
theory and I’d been making food for a health food store at night and teaching aerobics and I
was finding that my happiness was when I was doing those heath oriented things because I
left more like myself.”
“I do remember that I didn’t see much of Bill because he was working in the store, I was
working at home and vice versa.”
Clarkson highly credits her business relationship with Bill, however she openly admits
having many monumental disagreements about the direction and operations of the
“I think we are the yin and yang of the business. I mean I am the creative but Bill is such an
amazing entrepreneur and he is a big thinker…it is great working together because we get
to love this dream together… I do apologise to the neighbours because when we walk the
dog we do have some screaming matches.”
The Lorna Jane brand is widely recognised as an extension of Clarkson’s personality and
her active living advocacy; known as the ‘Move, Nourish, Believe’ movement.
“I believe that the believe part of it, the positive attitude, is the most important because you
can do anything if you set your mind to it and I’m a living, breathing example of that.”
“I really do believe that when you wear active wear, you’re more active. Test it.”
Clarkson’s empire has transcended into the digital space taking social platforms such as
Facebook and Instagram by storm in efforts to improve the connection and direct
communication with the Lorna Jane consumer.
“I wanted a connection with my customer… social media, when it came across my table, it
was like, wow, what a great way to talk to my customers and get feedback and know that
I’m on the right track when I’m doing things, and who’d have thought it would have become
this huge phenomena.”
Branching outside of her active wear clothing label, Clarkson talks about the success of
‘The Active Room Living’ concept stores opening across Australia and the release her first
cookbook, Nourish, The Fit Woman’s Cookbook which redefines what it means to look
good, feel in shape and enjoying the food you love.
“I am really excited about where Lorna Jane can go and what we can do to inspire people.
We’ve just started a new concept called “The Active Living Room” and that’s a Lorna Jane
store with a studio and a health food café…the response to them has been amazing.”
“The main message behind the book is to stop dieting…I find it really difficult to believe that
you can over eat nutritious food.”
Lorna Jane Clarkson shares her insights with Alex Malley on The Bottom Line – Saturday
28 June at 4:00pm on Channel Nine.
– ENDS –
Lorna Jane Clarkson The Bottom Line is Episode 20 in a 24 episode series.
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