Uplifting and empowering girls through fashion

Mum Melissa Neilson (front, middle) with Sisters, from left, Elle, Milana, Eva. 263311_01

By Melissa Meehan

Melissa Neilson knows how important it is to be a part of her daughters lives.

Since lockdown she’s made the decision to make life work for her, instead of working to live.

Stuck at home, the single mum of three realised she wanted to be there for all the important moments.

And used the time to find a way.

She had always been interested in the fashion industry, she’d always loved fitness and often found it hard to find her girls active wear that hit the mark.

“I was always looking for quality products and was spending so much money, being kids they grow so quickly, but they just weren’t hitting the mark,” she said.

“It was dance wear or gym wear and it wasn’t stuff they could wear out and about.”

So with no real fashion experience, Melissa started her own activewear line for girls. And Etoil Active was born.

She wanted to start a brand that embodied everything they believed in within their family unit.

It needed to uplift and empower females and had to celebrate being active, which is important for mental health.

And most of all, it had to show the ebb and flow of life.

“So I sat the girls down and we spoke about how we wanted to be able to donate money to charity through the brand,” she said.

“And my daughter asked if there was something we could do that supports women and young people who had experienced family violence and keeps kids safe.

“So Berry Street came to mind and that’s where we donate and we also sponsor Beyond Dance.”

Once those concepts were in play, Melissa and her daughters started on the designs.

Melissa was a little off the mark, but her girls were sure to pull her into line.

They had a strong vision, they wanted something simple, with colours that went with everything and clothing they could throw a pair of nice sneakers on and wear out.

“It was a long process,” Melissa said.

“I threw all of my money into this idea, which was scary at the time and we made the first order and I said to the girls we are all in.

“But it has been a positive experience.

“If I can teach my daughters anything in life – it’s that we can overcome anything, you can make something from a dream and always stay true to your values.”

Eva, 12, helps manage the social media and Ellie and Milana are hands on too.

Their mum is so proud of them, and attributes her success to them.

“After my separation I have finally found my way, I’m finding my voice some seven years later, and my girls have given me alot of strength along the way.”

Find @etoil_active on instagram