Touch The Toes

Ms Eliza Inoue is one of three founders of home-grown multi-label store Touch The Toes, which stocks yoga attire sourced from sustainable brands.
Ms Eliza Inoue is one of three founders of home-grown multi-label store Touch The Toes, which stocks yoga attire sourced from sustainable brands. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The eco-friendly tag helps yoga wear company Touch The Toes keep its customers, says co-founder Eliza Inoue, 30. Close to half of the home-grown multi-label store's customers are returning shoppers.

Ms Inoue, a Singapore permanent resident who has been living here since she was eight, says people are initially attracted to Touch The Toes' vibrant designs and wide variety of yoga wear.

"But after they realise our apparel is eco-friendly... that is the key reason they keep coming back," she says. "Customers feel good when they do good for the environment.

"It's a positive feeling knowing you're making an impact... Plus, if the designs are nice, why not keep supporting the brand?"

The store, which sells yoga attire from 21 labels worldwide, opened in Arab Street in 2011 with a space that was about 600 sq ft. It recently moved to a unit in Haji Lane that is about twice as large.

It saw a 350 per cent jump in sales from 2012 to last year.

The brand was founded by Ms Inoue, a Japanese-Brazilian who works at the company full-time; Japanese-Burmese Kelly Hotta; and Singaporean Tan Wuen Lin. Ms Hotta and Ms Tan have full-time jobs.

All three founders are yoga practitioners and personally curate the items, ranging from yoga wear such as leggings and tank tops to accessories such as mats and towels.

The labels the store carries are made from organic cotton, bamboo blends and recycled materials - all sustainably produced.

Ms Inoue, who is engaged to a creative director at a Singapore furniture company, says: "We also check that the brands we bring in know the working conditions of the factories that produce their clothes and have socially responsible practices."

Prices of yoga bottoms, such as shorts and leggings, range from $60 to $150 each. And prices of tops, including sports bras and tank tops, range from $35 to $110.

The former advertising designer predicts more growth "as more shoppers learn about eco-friendly fashion" and realise that their choices have an impact on the earth and the welfare of workers.

"Our purchases can come from good sources that actually help nature and also provide fair trade... And sustainable clothing can be more stylish than regular brands. It's no longer just a hippie thing."

Melissa Heng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2016, with the headline 'Touch The Toes'. Print Edition | Subscribe