I had been working in the property and retail industries over a nearly 20 year period.
My husband and I had been discussing going into business for ourselves for years
After the birth of my second child, I returned to work only to find the environment no longer suitable to my needs with a lack of flexibility and the travel to and from the office too long and exhausting. My husband and I had been discussing going into business for ourselves for years but couldn’t quite figure out just what that was. With my husband being of Croatian heritage and myself born on the Gold Coast, QLD, the two of us have always had a love for Summer, beaches and travel. It only seemed appropriate with my past retail, business and fashion experience that we created the swimwear brand PLIVATI.
We started by coming up with the name PLIVATI (Croatian for SWIM in English) and building a business plan. We then did some research in the swimwear market and spoke to some manufacturers. I created some drawings of the designs I wanted and researched some print types that were reminiscent of Croatia and the Mediterranean feel we had on holidays. When I came across an agent within Australia who was able to assist with ethical manufacturers overseas, who was exceptionally lovely and helpful, we arranged some quotes, samples and found a manufacturer within a matter of weeks. We initially started with women’s designs, then men, additional accessories (round towels) and then our matching kids range!
Since launching our online store in August 2019 we have been fortunate enough to be featured in 2 articles overseas in Croatia, 140 online newspapers including the front page of our local newspaper and the Herald Sun, Melbourne.
We had over 20,000 website views in our first 2 months!!
Managing the children, school drop off/pick up and the general duties of the house are very challenging right now and every day is a juggle of priorities. Social media is becoming increasingly hard to work with and understand, and we feel it is impacting a lot on the family life (phones down!). It can be quite costly if you don’t know what you are doing and it can be very difficult to build your business organically without advertising. In fact most of our sales have been because of social media so far. We are now looking to outsource this part of the business to gain some time back and spend some more quality time with the kids.
We are looking to the future…
…to further improve our product by introducing sustainable fabrics and working with feedback we have received over the past few months. We want to bring good quality, modest style swimwear to the Australian market with a twist on traditional prints reminiscent of European holidays.
If anyone is thinking of starting a business, I highly recommend taking the time to research your market, prepare a solid business plan and strategy. You will have times where you will feel deflated, defeated and want to throw the towel in, but if you believe in what you are doing and where your business could go, don’t give up. Businesses can take at least 2 years to reach a profitable point (unless you manage to get a major influencer wearing/using your product), so keep at it!
Also, as a tip: try and come up with a recognisable and short (unique as possible) business name as this will help greatly with your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). You will see by googling PLIVATI that we are the only business currently coming up on the first page under our name without paying for it and it’s easily recognisable, so it is worthwhile having something that assists with this.
Also, as a tip: try and come up with a recognisable and short (unique as possible) business name as this will help greatly with your SEO.