Summer Glen

- by Tegan Glen

STARTUP COSTS: ‘Summer Glen started out as a lockdown project. I used my connection­s and skills to trade wherever possible and sourced the fabric, CMT and web developer locally. I did the photograph­y myself, as well as the marketing and social media. My startup costs came to R40 000.’

TURNOVER: ‘I launched the business in September 2020 and broke even in January 2021. I have enough money saved to start planning our exciting SS21 collection.’

Tegan Glen has a thriving career as a photograph­er for some of SA’s biggest celebritie­s, influencer­s and brands – but when lockdown hit, her busy schedule ground to a halt. Instead of seeing this as a negative, she took the opportunit­y to branch out and launch the business she’d always dreamt of starting. Summer Glen offers sexy, supportive swimwear – made from recycled ocean plastic – that can be customised for every body type. How did you go from being a photograph­er to producing swimwear?

I’ve been a profession­al photograph­er for 10 years,

‘ I don’t believe in just talking about things. If an idea comes to you, do it!’

working under my business (and maiden) name, Tegan Smith Photograph­y. I often shoot with blogger and influencer Aisha Baker. I have also shot for Cindy Nell, Bailey Schneider and Zoe Brown, as well as a few brands, like Cotton On. Owing to the lockdown, my photograph­y bookings dried up a bit, which allowed me to pursue my dream of doing something else on the side. I thought I’d do some swimwear, as summer was on its way. Things came together quite quickly. The idea came to me in June and I launched the brand at the beginning of September. I don’t believe in just talking about things. If an idea comes to you, do it! What is your style when it comes to photograph­ing clients?

I want women to feel confident in front of the camera. I pose and photograph them in a way that evokes strength and confidence, and still embraces their femininity. Did these values inspire you in creating your bodypositi­ve swimwear line?

They definitely come through in my swimwear. I wanted to create something you’d feel comfortabl­e in at the beach – which, for some of us, is a near-impossible goal. I wanted to create a one-piece that’s really comfortabl­e but still looks sexy. I’m quite active; I like to go for runs and swims, so I wanted to create something you could move around in without worrying. Tell us about the Infinite design.

I asked friends – women of all shapes and sizes – about their biggest concerns when wearing a swimsuit. Their answers led to the idea of adjustable straps. Some people like a halterneck to show off cleavage and give support, some people prefer a single shoulder strap, and others want simple straps. With the Infinite style, you can wear the straps whichever way you prefer. Your business is inherently connected to the ocean. How has your product responded to the plastic crisis?

I wanted to make everything as sustainabl­e as possible. I use recycled plastic fabric, which is so soft you’d never say it’s made from plastic! My courier bags are 100% compostabl­e and made from cornstarch, so you can bury it in your veggie garden. We love to say they’re ‘made from mielies’. Also, we don’t use any plastic during delivery. I attach all my tags with ribbons or eco-friendly twine, and everything is printed on recycled paper. What’s been your biggest lesson about launching a business in under six months?

Definitely plan ahead. I’m already planning for next summer. Luckily I’ve had advice from my photograph­y clients – both from influencer­s and fashion lines. My best advice to anyone who wants to start their own business is just to start. People spend too much time worrying. You will learn as you go – that’s the exciting part, actually.

Find Summer Glen swimwear at Saint Sienna in Kalk Bay, Cape Town, or order online from SummerGlen.co.za Instagram: @SummerGlen­SA

Facebook: Summer Glen SA

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 ??  ?? When her photograph­y business slowed down last year, Tegan Glen (opposite) launched a swimwear line.
When her photograph­y business slowed down last year, Tegan Glen (opposite) launched a swimwear line.
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