Thursday, May 30th, 2024

How Many Businesses Does It Take To Run A Photoshoot? Let’s Go Behind-The-Scenes And Find Out!

Gone are the days of gym wear being restricted to just the gym floor… we proudly wear our athleisure for both the mundane, everyday errands as well as socially (you’ll never look out of place in a coffee shop). We’re now a generation of ‘conscious consumers’ who want to keep the planet happy with informed, eco-savvy purchases.

Today, gym wear must do so much more than simply be stretchy – we’re looking for fashion, functionality and sustainability all at once AND for a reasonable price.

The Dream: Start-up, Sass & Sustainability

“It started as a bit of fun, printing tongue-in-cheek quotes onto vest tops but I quickly realised I had a real passion for it and could do SO much more. The pound signs kept getting in the way until one day I decided to stop making excuses and just go for it!” – Alison, Founder of Innae.

In September 2019, Alison Longhurst brought to life a decade-long dream of launching her own sportswear brand. As a result Innae was launched.

As a Taekwondo instructor, Alison was keen to pay homage to her martial arts roots – Innae (pronounced IN-NYE-YAH) means ‘perseverance’ in Korean.

Innae endeavours to empower men and women with size-inclusive sportswear, underpinned by an ethos of sustainability and being ethical at all levels of production.

Juggling her business venture with teaching and being a mother to four daughters, Alison is a force to be reckoned with. Speaking of her admiration for her mother, daughter Josie says, “I’m really proud of her, she actually had the idea years ago when we were all little but it’s so good to see she is now finally doing it. Simon, my stepdad, helped her as he’s a designer and it’s been really nice seeing them work together on something they are passionate about and build a business from the ground up.”

The Collaboration: Along Came Gina

Business owners will know that it takes a village and this wonderful coming together of minds came to fruition in just the same way.

Gina Smith is a brand photographer and founder of PhotoGnic, with a signature style that is edgy, colourful and emotive. Eager to connect with and support other local and small businesses, Gina ran a competition with the grand prize of a brand photoshoot, worth £900.

“As part of a marketing drive, which I do twice a year, I like to give back to my local community”, says Gina. “It’s my way of showing new businesses, startups, even existing businesses how brand images can save time and attract their ideal clients.”

Alison seized the opportunity… and won!

With her bright pink hair and a larger-than-life personality, Gina burst through the doors of the quiet coffee shop where Steph (founder of My Sevenoaks Community) was waiting with an unsuspecting Alison to deliver the fabulous news.

The trio got to work planning and it became immediately obvious to Steph that Better Body Group in Sevenoaks ticked all the boxes for this shoot – delivering a really cool, urban vibe to perfectly complement the sassy and sleek nature of the Innae clothing range.

The stars aligned when Steph reached out to Alison Crow (yes, another Alison!), co-owner of Better Body Group, who was thrilled to get involved. Alison went over and above to see the photoshoot through to success – rallying her trainers and getting the space ready.

The Photoshoot: Better Body Group Helps Bring The Brand To Life

On the day of the shoot, the sun was shining in our leafy corner of Kent – hooray!

Gina and Alison L knew exactly what they wanted and got straight to work.

The Innae vision is clear that the brand “supports everyone’s journey to fitness and celebrates the individual. We don’t believe in a type.” It was essential to capture this by selecting models that real people can relate to.

Our models for the day were Josie (Alison’s daughter and footballer for Lewes FC Women) and her boyfriend, Danny, Françoise (self-employed fitness trainer and sports massage therapist), Eric and Torie (both trainers at Better Body Group) and Hayley (long-time friend to all).

The models come from all walks of life, with diverse ethnicities and ages ranging from 20-50+ and different body shapes and sizes. It was brilliant to see them gel so well as a group and they looked fabulous!

Just like the McDonald’s saver campaign – “like getting your money’s worth?” – no area of the gym floor was left untouched. Alison C encouraged the team to make thorough use of ALL the gym’s facilities, from battle ropes and weights to climbing on tyres and throwing jabs in the boxing ring! It was a workout in itself for our models. The purpose of this was simple, to demonstrate the variety of activity and durability of the clothes. Gina tapped into this expertly.

So, how did the clothes measure up?

Following an afternoon in the Innae garms, we asked Eric (personal trainer and keen sportsman) exactly what he thought.

Eric said, “I’m not the tallest but I’m pretty well-shaped in the quads. Normally, I find leggings too long in the leg and too tight. These Innae leggings fit so well – they aren’t too tight for a bloke and have a good range of movement, especially when squatting” – To prove his point, Eric immediately jumped into a deep lunge – “And the top hangs nicely around the shoulders and biceps so when you’re training you look BIG!”

The power of the Sevenoaks business community

“This was a non-profit gig for all involved which is amazing when like-minded people get together to give back to local businesses.” – Gina

We couldn’t agree more! It’s a powerful thing when business owners come together to support each other, especially female-owned businesses who infamously have a much harder time – glass ceiling anyone?

By sharing knowledge and network, businesses have the potential to really grow and evolve and create something positive and dynamic. Quite frankly, without these four businesses willing to support each other, this photoshoot couldn’t have happened.

It costs nothing to show your support – an introduction, leaving a review, sharing a post are just a few gestures that can go a long way.

Hayley, one of the models, knows all about this. Her gutsy spirit has touched everyone here…

“I’m 1 year free of breast cancer, a journey that Steph really supported me through, and I’ve been coming to Better Body Group for years – it’s where I come to recoup. And I LOVE what Alison does at Oaks and the self-defence classes she runs for the kids; I will always support anything she does. As for Innae, I can vouch for the quality – they are squat AND kick proof!”

Like what you’ve heard? Learn more about these businesses

Better Body Group
My Sevenoaks Community


Innae –
Gina Smith –
Better Body Group –
Françoise –
Oaks –
PhotoGnic –

By Ruby Plenderleith

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