Q&A with Nicole Chiu-Wang, founder of Treadfast
Posted on March 08 2016
When fashion meets function, it’s a beautiful thing. Gone are the days when grip socks for your favorite Pilates or Barre workout simply look like boring, basic gym or hospital socks. Rather, women who live for these boutique fitness classes are looking to complement their arsenal of designer leggings and athletic wear with accessories that up their style game. That’s why we love the sleek and sexy, knee and thigh high barre sock styles from Treadfast.
We had the chance to chat with the founder of Treadfast fit, Nicole Chiu-Wang recently:
What’s your background, and how did you come to start Treadfast?
I always say that life is like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Book (do you remember those?!?!) – Let’s just say I have chosen the less obvious (perhaps unwritten) adventure almost every time! I’m an attorney by trade, but I became super into fitness once I began competing in pageants. After my pageant days were over, I wanted a new physical challenge and so I became an instructor at The Bar Method. I am always cold (moving to SF didn’t help!) and I was always complaining about spending $80 on Lululemon leg warmers to wear over my grip socks for barre class. I kept saying that somebody should make tall socks with grip….. one day, my husband said “why don’t you?” and the rest is history (more on starting Treadfast here).
Curious what drew you to teaching barre classes?
I grew up dancing and figure skating, so I am drawn to the dance-inspired style of barre classes. In just one hour, your muscles reach total fatigue and you feel it for days after – I’m super busy and it’s just the most effective way to workout.
We saw that you were on the Apprentice. How was that experience and how did it prepare you for your own business?
Great question… that nobody ever asks me! The Apprentice was one of those “once in a lifetime” opportunities and reality TV really is something super specific to our generation/this time in pop culture. While it was a life experience I’ll never forget, it really helped me confirm who I am and all the strength that I have. I am a leader and I’m not afraid to take risks – both are attributes required to start your own company. It prepared me in the sense that it gave me greater faith in myself and all I’m capable of – it was empowering. I proved to myself that I am able to remain strong and be the woman I want to be under pressure. I realize now that my experience also influenced the brand I’ve built in Treadfast – I’m all about women empowering women and rising up together. Being verbally attacked by the women on The Apprentice (before we had even found out we lost the challenge) furthered my passion to help women realize the strength we have when we stand together and that we don’t have to put each other down to make it to the top. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be the only woman at the top.
We love the athleisure and fitwear as streetwear trend. Where do you see fitness fashion headed?
I also run a styling startup in San Francisco, Boon+Gable, so I’ve been seeing how much our clients love the comfort and ease of movement provided by athletic wear but don’t want to look like they are wearing yoga pants all around town. I think athletic wear will continue to develop along the lines of everyday casual, yet pulled together athleisure but also in a direction of more edgy, night out wear. We are seeing this with yoga leggings that have a sheen to them to look almost leather-like and backless tshirts, for example. I’m excited to see athletic wear transforming to be more wearable whether you’re running errands or going out to a bar – women deserve to be comfortable in their clothes and still feel chic!
What’s your favorite way to style your socks (either at or away from the studio?)
I love to wear my socks in boots – either the thigh highs scrunched down or the knee highs. Living in SF, I wear boots all year long and it’s just the easiest thing to throw on a pair of boots to head to class. At home, I wear my Treadfast tall socks with short shorts and our Treadfast oversized pullover – even though I’m married, I don’t want to default to baggy sweats and a promo tee but I also want to stay warm and cozy! Because what man doesn’t love a woman in thigh highs
What’s next for treadfast?
Eventually, we will expand to products beyond our socks and graphic tshirts – but right now, we’re focused on building a Treadfast community – a community of strong women supporting other strong women. We’re engaging with our community on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – which is super fun. I know I’m probably supposed to say that we have plans for world domination or to become the next Lululemon…. and that’s all great stuff…. but I’ve realized that it’s less about comparing yourself to others and more about being true to yourself – the same goes for my company. Treadfast is about women and for women, so our focus will always be on the women we support.