Simone Wilkins | Eau Paix Vie Swim
I am the designer and owner of Eau Paix Vie Swim Australia; my sister Carly and I founded our brand in 2011.
I love travelling to different countries around the world and really getting a feel for their culture and experiencing new things. Carly and I thought we'd have a go at designing swimwear, as we both loved travelling to hot destinations that required us to pack ten swimsuits!
I have always wanted to have a career in the fashion industry, whether it was doing PR or working for a label, but I wasn't too sure if I wanted to design. I never went to fashion school or studied it. My sister, Carly, has a Bachelor of Communications degree and also never studied fashion. We really just taught ourselves. It has taken us a good four or five years to get to this point - so pretty much the time you'd spend at uni, just without going to classes!
We kind of had to wing it at the beginning. At the start I did all the trips to meet the manufacturers overseas by myself. I didn't really have much idea on what was going to happen with our designs, running a business etc., but now we have been doing it for a while and we have worked so hard on it, it all comes naturally - although everyday I still learn something new. That's what makes fashion so interesting!
I have learnt so much about design, fabrics, printing, as well as the business part - where things get serious! We have found out that not everything goes right all the time, and if it doesn't, don't stress too much over it - things will eventually work out.
"I get very inspired by seeing other people achieving goals in their own career, even if it has nothing to do with fashion."
I still love to travel and find inspiration from it. There are so many girls in this world who all wear different types of clothes and swimwear, so I love seeing that on the beaches, it gives me a lot of new ideas. If I'm in a new city there is always so much going on, I find random objects and places and take a photo, then think later about how I can recreate it as a bikini design. If it turns out to be a keeper then I work with our graphic designer until we're happy with the finished print. I get very inspired by seeing other people achieving goals in their own career, even if it has nothing to do with fashion. It makes me work harder for sure. Also, seeing our customers wearing EPV and having fun! That's so rewarding and they inspire me too.
Being your own boss is the best thing in the world - but it's not easy running a business. We worked really hard and are very lucky to be where we are today. The beauty of running an online store is that you can work from anywhere in the world. We get to travel and create new designs, which is so much fun, but there are also days when your friends are hanging out and you can't because there's too much work to do. We get to choose our own hours but sometimes that does mean we end up working all day and all night!
I've learnt who my true friends are. When you start to have some success, a lot of people who want to break into the industry will try and hit you up for information - even if you haven't spoken to them for years. I get a lot of messages like that, but then I get really cute messages from girls who love wearing EPV, or see photos on social media - there's no better feeling.
Every day I still try to remind myself that if you love what you're doing, focus and work hard - try not to stress and let things roll. Nothing comes easy but with hard work amazing things can happen. Embrace the good and the bad times because none of it lasts forever.