Special Guest: NIGHT DIVE SWIM
Heather Brown, a former designer for Pacsun, decided to set off and create her own brand, all while traveling the globe. Heather was kind enough to speak with us on her business adventure, experiences, and goals for her new swimwear.
Night Dive was launched this past April, specializing in swimwear using recycled, high quality fabrics and such bright vibrant colors! What is the origin story behind this business?
I’ve worked as a designer in the fashion industry for 14 years, and I reached a point where I really wanted to do something that I am very passionate about!
// B O D Y P O S I T I V I T Y \\
I want to provide a broader range of sizes in fashion swimwear. There are so many brands that don’t even offer an XL, and I wanted to make sure to do that, and to offer an even more extended size range if possible.
Another passion of mine is sustainable fashion. When I was working in Bali, this really became an important factor for me and a way to make NIGHT DIVE unique. Everything that is made in Bali is made in luxe recycled fabrics- from ghost fishing nets to recycled bottles. It’s more expensive to use that fabric, but I had the power to choose doing good for the earth over getting a better price. That’s when I truly felt the freedom of being an entrepreneur and creating my own brand! I get to make these decisions that in my previous career as a designer for large corporate companies, I wouldn’t have.
Do you find these designs or make them yourself?
The full swimwear collection that releases in Spring 2019 is all designed by me! Since production for that takes longer than my patience, I found a basic one piece to print our vibrant fun prints on in order to get started sooner and get the word out there!
You've been traveling the world while managing this business. Has it been challenging not having specific roots for this business?
Luckily, it’s been pretty seamless so far. However, as production completes soon, I will need a large space to house everything. I’m currently looking into office spaces in my hometown where I grew up! I plan on making this business a family effort, so I’ll be hiring my mom to become the shipping and distribution manager!
Are you inspired by the color, textures, and designs by each country you visit?
YESSSSS! That’s a huge part of the inspiration for the prints, colors, and silhouettes for NIGHT DIVE SWIM! Each collection is based on a time and place.
What motivated you to leave Pacsun and set off on your own?
I was working at PacSun and just started thinking- is this what I want anymore? I was a Senior Design Director, and the next step was VP. I wasn’t interested in more money, or more titles. I wanted to create something from the heart, and then a plan started to take shape to start my own brand. Swimwear has always been my favorite thing in the world to create, partly because it’s extremely challenging, and partly because I’ve always said I would live in bikinis if I could (turns out, I can and am!).
Also- something that I always say is - it’s not WHY, it’s WHY NOT? Why wouldn’t I pursue my ultimate dream? Starting my own brand was always a dream of mine, and then, finally, I had reached the point where I felt I had learned enough, and had enough courage to do it!
Another tip: I read The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris! Honestly - it is a life changer!
What has been your biggest struggle?
I would say something I struggled with at first was factory sourcing. I had always worked with giant companies that produced thousands of units, so with my startup business, finding a good quality factory that does a smaller amount of units and affordable took some research and trial and error! Luckily I found one I love in Bali!
What has been working for you lately?
I think a solid social media presence has gotten NIGHT DIVE more visibility with my friends & family helping to spread the word!
What events have you done since you've started, and how did you come across these opportunities?
I did a pop up shop at a vintage studio in Des Moines, and I have another pop up coming in early August at a shop in Long Beach! Funnily enough, both places are owned by previous coworkers from PacSun!!
They reached out to me asking if I was interested, and of course I took any opportunity presented to get more exposure for my brand! I’m also a huge fan of what each of my fellow female entrepreneurs are doing, so collaborating with them was an easy yes!
What resources do you use to produce your products while traveling?
Luckily I have done a lot of the legwork face-to-face with the factory that’s producing everything while in Bali, and I plan on going back there in September. In the meantime, emailing is the main form of communication.
What is the most important thing to you and your customers when it comes to Night Dive?
|| OUR MANTRA ||
Spreading self confidence and body positivity is a passion of ours. Creating swimwear that makes you feel good is our goal. We are on a mission to be champions of self-love.
What is your ultimate goal for Night Dive?
I have a few goals. I hope that NIGHT DIVE swim makes anybody and every BODY feel amazing and confident! That’s honestly my number one goal. On the more business side, I’m also aiming to get NIGHT DIVE swim in a big brand retailer and some boutiques to spread our message even further!
Tell us your business advice!
I don’t have anything very eloquent, but I’d say:
COLLABORATE, SUPPORT OTHERS, GO BIG, & DON'T BE SCARED!
Any exciting plans we should expect for the remainder of 2018?
YES! The full swimwear collection (my heart and soul) releases in Spring ‘19, so keep an eye out for sneak peaks, a photoshoot, and more pop up shops in the meantime!