The birth of Suntribe Swimwear: From beach fantasy to reality

 

I’m not going to start off with how much I love holidays, because who doesn’t? But what I will start off with, is my reputation..

I’ve always been known by numerous friends and colleagues as the girl that should have been born somewhere like California or Sydney. I certainly don’t refute that, it would have been my dream. But in all seriousness, I’ve always been a city girl, loving the buzz and vibrancy of urban living. Despite this, I constantly dreamt of warmer climes, making sure I allocated as much of my holiday allowance to beautiful beach destinations as I could. I spent hours pouring over travel websites planning my next trip away and buying up as many bikinis as I could find. So, it was no surprise when I left my job back in January that the first thing I wanted to do was plan a trip.

After several months of UK winter; miserable, grey and cold, I was craving somewhere warm and colourful, not to mention rejuvenating. A few years back I discovered one of my now- favourite hobbies, surfing. I’m not all that good at it, but there’s something about being in the sea, there’s a sense of escapism that I’m yet to find in anything else. After a little research I decided my destination was Sri Lanka, where I knew I could get everything I needed from this trip. Before I’d gone, I’d spent quite lot of time thinking about the idea of a swimwear business, being inspired by the beautiful different Aussie brands that were constantly bombarding me on Instagram and years of struggling to find decent swimwear here in the UK. I wasn’t however entirely sure how it would take form and to be honest I thought it more of a pipe dream than something I could actually do for real.

And so a month later I found myself in a beautiful foreign country. Having left my boyfriend and cat at home (yes I did feel little bad about this) I embraced my new temporary home at the Soul and Surf retreat on the South coast. It was an absolute idyll, set back in stunning jungle landscape. I was greeted with my week's itinerary, kicking off with a 6am yoga class! Now, if anyone knows me, they know I’m not a morning person, so this did alarm me slightly. Despite the unusually early starts, what I found that week was a wealth of new-found confidence and clarity of mind. The uniquely magic balance they’ve achieved there, focussing on wellness just as much as enjoying surfing and yoga meant I was able to find a quiet moment to reflect for the first time, perhaps ever.

Throughout the week I got to know an incredibly diverse and interesting group of people, some from back home in the UK and some from other countries. It was really refreshing and enlightening. One of the things that struck me whilst I was there and initially unnerved me, was the question everyone seems to ask when you meet someone new; “So, what do you do?” Seeing as I’d just left my job and I actually had no idea what I was going to do next, I found myself reflecting more on what would make me happy and I kept coming back to my swimwear business idea.

Over the course of the week I found I was able to open up increasingly to people about this idea and was met with overwhelming support and encouragement from quite frankly, absolute strangers. For the first time, I found myself truly believing I could do this and started brainstorming the initial concept and identity of what I wanted Suntribe to be and stand for.

By the following week, my friend had flown out to join me and on one of our first days together, we were lying on Mirissa beach. My head was whirring away thinking about my exciting new venture ahead and what I wanted it to stand for. I realised I wanted the brand to be both inclusive and aspirational. This for me meant celebrating diversity of product and identity, whilst injecting everything with something inspirational. Travel was such an important aspect to the brand and naturally goes hand in hand with swimwear, not to mention it's the ultimate celebration of embracing something different. As I lay there I thought about how many places I'd visited, how many people I knew and loved across the world. And it came to me. The one unifying element that ties us together consistently is the sun, it unifies the different tribes of us as a symbol of joy, warmth and energy. As such, the brand and name Suntribe Swimwear was born.