Not a brand, but ‘a movement’

Wednesday 28 April 2021 | Written by Alana Musselle | Published in Local, National


Not a brand, but ‘a movement’
Creators of MOVEfit, Tajiya Sahay and Shannon Dixon giving high five to each other, with other models. GORDAN HOSKING/21042702

Two local fitness fanatics have launched the Cook Islands’ first activewear brand to encourage people to invest in their fitness and create more healthy lifestyles for themselves.

“To cater to people of all sizes, ages and shapes,” is the motive behind Tajiya Sahay and Shannon Dixon’s new activewear brand ‘MOVEfit.’

Established just this past December as the first locally registered activewear brand in the Cook Islands, MOVEfit has already gained immense popularity on Rarotonga and in many of the outer islands, they say. Much of its popularity is due to their large variety of sizes and the comfort of the clothing.

The activewear brand was inspired by Sahay and Dixon’s fitness class ‘Move with Me’. The philosophy behind their fitness classes is that you do not have to do a heavy workout or play an intense sport, as long as you are moving your body.

It’s a message that’s been carried over to their activewear business. “This is a brand for the people. Every move and decision we make regarding the business is based on the people and what will make them happy and comfortable,” said Sahay.

When encouraging people to come to their classes and begin their fitness journeys, she said one of their biggest challenges was that people did not have access to activewear designed for their body types.

MOVEfit activewear caters to bodies of every size, shape, age and fitness level so that people can be comfortable and therefore confident while exercising. “Comfortability is key – there should be something for every body type, it’s only fair,” said Sahay.

“It’s been awesome to see people who are not usually able to access activewear that caters to them walking into our classes with this new glow and spark that’s been lit up within them,” said Dixon.

Sahay added: “Seeing everything we stand for coming to life through the reactions of people is so rewarding because it shows us our vision is working.”

MOVEfit has already been distributed to Mangaia, Atiu, Aitutaki, Mitiaro, Mauke, Manihiki, and Palmerston.

The excitement from people who finally have access to this wide variety of sizing has meant that more people in the Cook Islands can now invest in their fitness journeys and create more healthy lifestyles for themselves, say Sahay and Dixon.

The proprietors have gained international interest from countries such as New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

But Cook Islanders and other residents remain their priority at this time, especially when access to clothing remains more limited than ever due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they said.

“We do not want to ever shift away from the reason we first started this business,” said Sahay. All that they do reinforces the philosophy of their movement, with a business agenda having very little to do with it, she said. “This is not a brand, but a movement really.”

Sahay, who was crowned Miss Cook Islands and Miss World Oceania in 2019, expressed much gratitude to the platform that the Miss World organisation has given her “to expand this new business and gain exposure so that this movement may be able to grow”.

“This business is definitely an extension of my beauty with a purpose which is to encourage healthy lifestyles. Miss Cook Islands and Miss World really showed me how to extend my movement in beauty with a purpose, and that it won’t end when I pass my crown on,” Sahay said.

For the moment Sahay and Dixon are focused on continuing to provide for all the people of the Cook Islands in their fitness journeys, and they hope to create a ‘domino effect’ in which their philosophy may continue to grow and impact more of the world.