Limeapple creator Debbie Naren dishes on what inspires her brand’s new looks.
Her daughters’ on-the-go lifestyles motivated Debbie Naren to create the activewear line Limeapple for young girls. “There wasn’t a lot in the market and the clothes were fairly boring,” she says. “I wanted to make something a little bit more fun.”
Naren launched the Canada-based brand in 2003 with a simple mission: to produce comfortable, quality, attractive and functional activewear for girls who are always on the move. “They might go skating, then go to a volleyball game, and there’s not a lot of time to change,” Naren says. “You can pack [the clothes] in a bag and they don’t crush or smell.” All Limeapple apparel is pre-shrunk to ensure proper fit, and the supplex fabric allows stretch while keeping the shape. The fabric is anti-bacterial and odor-repelling, and the activewear line is also pilling-resistant.
The brand has expanded over the years to include swim, team and sportswear lines. The latter even features specialty pieces for activities such as gymnastics, dance, skating and cycling. “I haven’t seen another line like our Limeapple sport collection for little girls,” Naren notes.
These young, active girls are the main source of inspiration for Limeapple designs. Naren says she often holds focus groups with girls ages 7 to 14 to get their opinions on ideas for next season’s collection, and these groups can lead to inspiration for new products and designs. “We have a ‘bubble hoodie’ that the girls love. It’s really comfortable, but some of the skaters couldn’t wear it on the ice. So for fall, we added a zip-up jacket with the same fabric,” Naren explains. Girls participating in the focus groups not only influence but are also sometimes part of the design process. Recently, they were even able to color in a swimsuit and the designers used their prints and color palettes in the line’s new collection. “I think in the end, [the focus group] helps the clothing appeal to the right people,” Naren adds.
The design director also notes that she works hard to keep the line’s apparel affordable for moms who have to buy new clothing for their growing children every year. Limeapple T-shirts wholesale for $10 and dresses average around $17. Activewear tops and bottoms start at $12 each and bodysuits, new for the fall collection, cost $15.
If retailers are unsure of what to buy for their stores, Limeapple offers a starter pack for its activewear line, which includes 10 of its top-selling items for $500, almost a 20-percent discount off wholesale prices.
“I just want kids to love our clothes,” Naren says of the brand. “I think everything else just falls into place if the product is great.” —Maria Bouselli