How do you build a brand that has sell-out collections within seconds of launching? Enter Matilda Murray - who alongside partner Don Robertson has seen STAX activewear grow by more than 2000 per cent this year. While it may look like the pair have the world at their feet, it hasn’t been an easy ride. They’ve been blackmailed, experienced failure, and found themselves in debt. But now, those who once rejected them are knocking down their door.
“Redirection is protection and every single thing we’ve gone through has moulded us into the brand we are today,” says Matilda.
It is this adaptability that has seen STAX go from strength to strength. Since its inception five years ago, STAX has become one of the most influential players in the sports luxe scene. With countless activewear labels circulating the market, we asked Matilda what sets STAX apart in becoming a globally acclaimed brand.
“Our biggest guiding value is that we are first and foremost a fashion brand, and then we are fitness,” says Matilda.
“We take inspiration from runways around the world, trends that Australia hasn't quite caught onto yet.”
STAX has started to become known for being ahead of the trend, with people looking toward the brand for what to wear - with New York Fashion Week asking STAX to present at the September show.
“Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions, we couldn’t make it - so that’ll be back on the cards for 2021,” says Matilda.
In the meantime, Matilda says there are huge things on the horizon for STAX. While she can’t reveal too much yet, she did give us a little sneak peek about a cosmetics line that’s on the way along with a fake tan product.
“I always say that business and life is like a pushbike - you learn to ride, then you learn to ride fast, but if you stop pedalling, you’ll fall off,” says Matilda.
When asked about the secret to success, Matilda explains that she doesn’t believe in following any manual. Her fiercely independent mantra is what keeps STAX ahead of the curve.
“Nobody has it figured out - even the most wildly successful business people are still learning,” she says.
“You have to run with what works, quickly change what doesn't and trust your intuition. Nobody knows what's right for your business like you do.”
When it comes to co-owning an international brand, Matilda explains that a typical day is hard to come by. With Sundays being reserved as a day of rest, the remainder of the week is spent managing STAX marketing, planning events, attending photoshoots, designing campaigns, and testing out new samples.
“No two days are the same, but a ‘standard’ Monday for me starts with a 7 am F45 class before heading into the office for our 9 am team meeting.”
“We usually leave the office around 7 pm and I’ll do my social media work in the evenings.”
If STAX wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Matilda also runs a second business as a successful beauty influencer. When asked how she stays on top of everything, Matilda reveals her best-kept secrets for optimising her day.
“I email myself at all hours and treat my inbox as a to-do list then try to work through that daily,” she says. “I also make an effort to prioritise training and self-care. That’s just as important as a work meeting for me.” It’s this balanced approach that helps Matilda stay grounded when juggling a billion commitments and tackling her task list each week.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup, so they say, and if I haven't looked after myself I’m far from my best self - in all aspects.”
Part of Matilda’s charm is her total transparency. With no such thing as a b-side camera roll, nothing is off-limits.
“You’ve seen me wax my nose hairs, shave my face and cry about my boobs - I share it all,” she says. Considering this, we wondered if there’s anything Matilda’s 57K followers don’t know about her…
“I’m severely allergic to bananas, maybe I haven't told social media that? That’s literally the ONLY thing I can think of,” she laughs.
This unapologetic authenticity has garnered Matilda a loyal online following, which led her to create a Facebook group called Matilda’s Girl Gang as a judgment-free space for women to support each other through it all.
“My entire social media presence really is just about creating a safe space for women - from opening up about my struggles, to sharing my wins and tips and tricks.” “I got to a place where I was getting so much support and so many recommendations from my followers that I wanted to create a space where everyone could receive that – and now that space has thousands of girls, all supporting each other.”