But finding a rashie that I wanted to wear was not as easy as I thought – they were unflattering and unfashionable. Annaliese Allen
I have the type of skin that burns, so I was always pretty good at practicing the Cancer Council’s the Slip! Slop! Slap! message.
A key component of this message is “slip on clothing”, and I thought that wearing any clothing that covered your skin was enough. I started looking into sun protection for my kids because I wanted them to enjoy the sun safely, and that’s when I learned that the average white cotton t-shirt only has a UPF 5.
It was at this point that I considered buying sun protection clothing, or a ‘rashie’ for myself. But finding a rashie that I wanted to wear was not as easy as I thought – they were unflattering and unfashionable. The experience got me thinking; if wearing a rashie is making me feel body and fashion conscious, then other women are probably feeling that way too.
As an already tired (exhausted!) working mum I initially did nothing with my idea, but I couldn’t shake the idea so, only a couple of months later, I took the biggest risk of my life and quit my corporate career to become the CEO, CIO, COO, CFO, CMO and the creative force of Honeybell Waterwear, a boutique sun protection clothing label for women.
My designs are a fashionable alternative to the rash vest. Other than providing a high level of sun protection, in fact, the highest possible rating available, the end result is a long way from the regular surf-branded rashie!
I have to pinch myself sometimes when I respond to the question ‘so, what do you do?’.
The answer used to be ‘I’m an accountant’ and I could see people’s eyes glaze over. Now, having no prior experience in the fashion industry, no experience at being an entrepreneur and no experience running my own business it is still surreal that I am the owner of a successful clothing label for women and e-commerce store owner.
I just started by simply asking questions and researching, learning, connecting and networking – doing everything I could during the kid’s naptimes and after bedtime. I contacted fashion designers, stylists, buyers, agents, pattern makers, manufacturers, fabric houses. I enrolled in marketing classes and design classes and SEO classes and all sorts of classes.
And that’s how it all starts – through researching, learning, connecting.
It is not about needing money or waiting for ‘the right time’. It is about making the time, being persistent, inquisitive and hard work.
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