Lorna Jane founder shares secrets to success as she embarks on opening of first South Island store

Authenticity and passion - that's the secret to what's made Lorna Jane so successful.

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Founder Lorna Jane Clarkson spoke to Breakfast ahead of the opening of the first South Island store. Source: Breakfast

Founder of the brand Lorna Jane Clarkson made her first pair of lycra tights in the 1980s on the floor of her living room, but has since spent the past 30 years building her empire.

Ms Clarkson, an Australian is now in New Zealand to open her first South Island store.

Talking to TVNZ 1's Breakfast this morning, Ms Clarkson spoke about her journey to where she is now.

"I always knew activewear would be huge. I mean, it was my vision - I was a fitness instructor and I was spending all of my days in workout clothes, and I realised it was the perfect clothing to wear in your everyday life.

"So I knew it was going to be big, it was just about convincing other people," she said.

"If I could've imagined Lorna Jane as it is today back then I would've run for the hills, literally, because I didn't have any of the skills that I have now. But that's the great thing about having 30 years to grow and learn and gain knowledge and make mistakes all of those things."

Ms Clarkson said running a global business is easy for her now because she allowed herself to develop along the way.

In Australia, the brand outsells Lululemon, Adidas and Nike activewear combined.

So, when asked what her secret to success was, she said there was "no real secret".

"I think it's about being authentic," Ms Clarkson said, adding that she ignored the pressures of competition - just doing her own thing.

"In any business, not just activewear, I think authenticity is key, but it's also just really hard work. And not hard work that you don't enjoy, I mean, I work really hard but I enjoy it. There's a passion behind our brand.

"I also just think we've built a brand that women just love."

Breakfast host Hayley Holt attested to that statement - saying her butt had never looked better than in a pair of Lorna Jane tights.

Ms Clarkson said there was a long way to go in the industry though, referring to it now as "the stone-age of activewear", with things like the development of new fabrics under way.