Trying something new can bring more than you expect, reveals Jane Hayes
Leaving behind a career in publishing, Jane Hayes has been surprised by the early success of her waterwear label.
What inspired The ACQUA Brand?
“After a beach holiday with my business partner Julie Capobianco, we realised there was an opportunity for luxury rashguards and swimtees designed for stylish sun protection, that physically protected your skin, rather than relying on sunscreen. I had just left a corporate role to focus on my family, so I was open to getting involved in a new project. I never imagined this is where it would lead me.
We spent almost a year researching, designing and planning before we launched in November last year. The uptake from Australian women and the fashion industry has been both surprising and inspiring. Women are loving the product and constantly giving us feedback on how much they have enjoyed wearing it and how it’s changed their beach experience.”
What’s The ACQUA Brand stand for?
“We both grew up by the ocean and value how much swimming and the beach is part of the Australian culture. The ACQUA Brand celebrates this; our aim is to unite a sense of escape, function, style and design so women can look their best while being healthy and active outdoors – we like to think that protecting your skin has never been so chic.”
What sets The ACQUA Brand apart?
“There’s not a lot of choice in waterwear, and we wanted to design a contoured high-end look for all women, giving it a unique fashion angle. It’s also made in Australia by ethical manufacturers from eco-friendly Italian Lycra. A white cotton T-shirt has a UPF5 while our collection offers UPF50+. We are really proud that we’ve been able to combine timeless design, quality and function in Australianmade pieces.”
What have you found most challenging?
“Starting a business and managing scale and timelines on top of raising a family is a full-time job. But the real challenge for us is to keep reinforcing the health messaging around skincare for women: you can’t undo sun damage, investing in your skin is a priority and the best way to prevent ageing is to protect it from the sun.”
What has surprised you most?
“It’s so energising when I see the positive impact we have had on women and their health. Launching your own business can be challenging and you can sometimes question what you’re doing, but life can surprise you – we didn’t know if it would work, and we’ve tripled the business since launching. I think women are ready to embrace our vision, and make their health a priority.”
swim chic Palm tree swim tee, $95; Leopard bikini briefs, $49, theacquabrand.com.au