Like most small business owners, Tina hasn’t always worked in the industry she’s in now, but a desire to get back to her passion for creativity and fashion, and combine it with her love for the ocean, lead her to take a break from accounting and follow her dreams...
What gave you the idea to start Aqua Bay Swim Co?
I had always struggled to find swimwear (and clothes!) that fit my fuller bust and body. I strongly believe this shouldn’t be the case for any woman, so I decided to do what no one else seemed to be doing, and designed a swimwear line specifically cut for all the average-sized women with a fuller bust out there.
Did you always want to work in the fashion industry?
I worked in fashion retail while I was at university and sometimes envisioned owning my own store - I’ve always been passionate about the fashion industry. I decided to finish my business degree and become a CPA, but fast forward a few years and fashion found me again when I was looking to switch careers to something more creative. From there Aqua Bay Swim Co was born!
What has been your favourite part of the ABSC journey so far?
Every time I see or hear a customers’ reaction to putting on one of my swimsuits - their joy when they realise it fits properly and they feel really good in it. That for me confirms that what I’m doing has a purpose, and it’s the best feeling in the world.
Starting your own business is tough - who or what is your inspiration?
So many people inspire me; from other boss babes, to influencers who use their platforms to help get smaller brands get noticed, and the many other female role models out there. I’m so lucky to work alongside so many strong female entrepreneurs - I believe there is room for all of us, and the harder we work to raise each other up, the stronger we will all be for it.
Sustainability is a hot topic in fashion right now - how important is it for you to create beautiful swimwear without the carbon footprint?
Being an environmentally responsible brand is key for me, and having less of a carbon footprint is just one of the many things we try to do along the way. We are proud to use fabric made from recycled materials for our swimwear, which helps to keep unwanted waste from our oceans - something I’m really passionate about, having grown up by the ocean. We all live on this earth, so we all have to do our bit to take care of it!
What does body positivity mean to you?
Accepting every part of your body as something that makes you, uniquely you. It’s about truly loving the body you were given, loving it while it changes at all stages of your life, and (trying not to!) feel pressure to change it to meet arbitrary standards set by the world around us.
How has life changed for you since starting ABSC?
Work doesn’t feel like ‘work’ anymore, and I get to help women feel amazing in their swimwear (no easy task!), so things are pretty different to when I was a CPA! I feel very lucky that I get to do things that make me and other women happy, and that I have been able to realise my dream of designing swimwear that I love to wear, and feel good while doing so.