Life change

Try­ing some­thing new can bring more than you ex­pect, re­veals Jane Hayes

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - AN­ZACS -

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

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