A row of black and white drink bottles branded with the Fearless logo. Fearless is a Wanaka exercise gear store.
Member Stories

Fearless: Wanaka retailer empowers women to be bold.

By Tammy Kuo.

“We aim to inspire you to be brave, bold and courageous… to light your soul on fire”

In the gorgeous ski and lake town Wanaka, Shelley Barrett created Fearless, a fabulously feminist activewear business.

What drove the feminist ethos of Fearless?

We wanted something that epitomises women. I have teenage girls, and there is so much around us telling us how we should look. So, we want to empower all women to be brave, and feel good as themselves. When I hear people saying “some people shouldn’t wear leggings” I think to myself “It shouldn’t be like that anymore!” There are so many options out there, and I stock brands that stand for inclusivity, for us, and for the next generation.

Young people are better. Teenagers in school are being educated about sustainability, something my generation didn’t have. And I think it’s great that Retail NZ runs annual Sustainability Forums. We need to learn as business owners a lot more about our environment, about recycling.

I cry when boxes arrive and things are wrapped in plastic! I’ve talked to my suppliers to see if they can switch to sustainable materials, so we’ll see where that journey goes.

Tell us about your Fearless journey so far.

It’s been a whirlwind! I had two months to find suppliers and source products, and then did the shop fitout in three days. We got our lease quite quickly on the 1st of December 2020, and then we opened on the 4th of December! It was great to be ready to go for the Christmas season.

As I was a physio by trade before, I didn’t really feel the effects of the closed borders before. But I definitely felt the quietness this winter. 

Fearless started late last year, and I’m still getting used to the highs and lows. But once I’ve done a full year’s cycle, I’ll have a better idea of planning and procurement.

Retail NZ has definitely been a big part of getting Fearless set up. The advice girls are amazing, and the resources like staff employment templates are super helpful. Plus, we are getting regular emails that keep us in the loop of how things are going for retail businesses, on a national scale.

What has been a win in the first six months of Fearless?

The first time I went to the gym, and I saw someone there with a Fearless branded water bottle. Someone had one of our drink bottles at the gym just this morning, actually! Also, our social media channels Facebook and Instagram are doing really well, and our website is gaining momentum.

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"Retail NZ has definitely been a big part of getting Fearless set up. The advice girls are amazing, and the resources like staff employment templates are super helpful".

- Shelley Barrett, Fearless

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"We are getting regular Retail NZ emails that keep us in the loop of how things are going for retail businesses, on a national scale".

- Shelley Barrett, Fearless

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How do you get to know your customers?

By being a part of their wellness journeys. People want to get active, but often don’t know where to start. I love creating conversations around what their favourite activities are currently, and what they might want to get into. I can give newbies advice on where to go – local gyms, pilates & yoga studios, and hiking tracks.

“Exercise is a journey to independence and freedom.

A big thanks to Shelley for creating a fantastic space, we wish you all the best with Fearless!



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