Well, what a week it’s been! Need a break from all the Coronavirus talk? Me too. I think we’re all in dire need of a holiday to be honest... Unfortunately, we can’t take one, so today I bring you the next best thing.
This week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Carly Wilkins; one of the sisters behind Australian Swimwear brand Eau Paix Vie. So make yourself your favourite drink, and let us take you far away, to the sunny beaches of the Gold Coast. We hope you enjoy this week’s conversation!
Morning ladies! Thanks for joining me. Let’s start with your childhood and how you feel that has influenced you today?
We grew up on the Gold Coast in Australia, right near the beach. Almost every weekend would involve visits to the beach. We were also a family who loved to travel, so before we were old enough to travel independently, our family would take trips overseas each year. We mostly visited tropical, beach destinations like Bali, or the islands in Thailand, which influenced a lifelong love of travel and an excitement to explore the world.
That sounds wonderful! So how did you get started in the fashion industry and when did you decide to start up the brand?
Way back in 2011 I had just returned from a year of travelling throughout Asia, and Simone had just returned from travelling in Europe. We had many conversations and decided we really wanted to do something where we could work for ourselves, while still exploring the world. We wanted the business to be something that represented us and our love of travel, and so EPV Swimwear was born! It was a very long process from that conversation to eventually being able to sell a product though!
"The core of our business is based around having fun, travel, and being yourself; we do our best to represent that in everything we do."
Your swimwear has so much character and is really high-quality. In what ways do you consider sensitive skin throughout the process of selecting the fabrics to use?
Thank you! Truly, all of our swimwear is made from the highest quality, extra long life Italian lycra which shouldn’t have any negative effects on skin.
That is something that is really important to me nowadays. Do you think transparency and authenticity in terms of the fabrics and processes that you use have been key to the success of the brand?
We have always remained true to ourselves, and our values. We have only engaged in collaborations with people we truly love and believe have the same values as us. The core of our business is based around having fun, travel, and being yourself; we do our best to represent that in everything we do.
I love your values! They really shine through your brand. So, what is your favourite thing about having started Eau Paix Vie?
Definitely the ability to work for ourselves and being able to meet so many amazing people.
That must be so fulfilling! Do you think that people are more conscious of the materials they use in their clothing nowadays?
I think that, in general, people are becoming progressively more health conscious, and this expands through to clothes, beauty, every aspect of life. People seem to be seeking a more holistic approach in their lifestyles.
I think that’s certainly the case with our generation. How does sustainability factor into your business?
It’s an area we are constantly exploring. We have been looking into recycled fabric options, made the change from plastic packaging to paper and cardboard. We are constantly aiming to make small changes, as it’s lots of small changes from everyone that creates a huge impact.
I love that mentality. Okay so, what’s your absolute favourite piece that you have ever created?
That is so hard to say! I mean, our signature two-tone cheeky bottoms are what really went viral and put us on the map. We have grown a lot since those days though and I would have to say right now, I am really loving the Jagger Bikini from our latest Beach House Collection. I just love the style of the top; it’s perfect for any type of activity and matches our classic seamless cheeky bottoms.
It’s super cute! And what were your biggest challenges in starting up a fashion brand?
As a start up, having to juggle so many roles, look after all facets of the business, while giving everything 110% and still remaining creative, was a challenge. It has helped us develop many new skills and we have gained invaluable experience.
That is so inspiring! What makes your brand stand out?
We based EPV around having fun, being ourselves and promoting that everyone be themselves too. We want everyone to live their best lives!
What’s been your biggest “pinch-me” moment?
Showing a collection at Mercedes Fashion Week was a great experience, and waking up one day and seeing Kendall Jenner in EPV Swim on Kylie’s Instagram was also a great surprise!
"There is no switching off and no clocking out in this job. It works both ways though. I am very happy that it’s flexible and I appreciate that."
That is pretty insane... What inspires you?
Travel – the people, cultures, foods, the things you see; the full package. There is nothing that beats travel for either of us, and everything that it entails. It continues to motivate and inspire us every day.
Travel is also my biggest source of inspiration! So, what’s your average day like?
The days do vary which keeps it interesting, however the absolute first thing for me to get stuck into is checking emails and responding. Then, it’s time for a coffee. I love to begin the day with a clean inbox, a good coffee and then, I feel I am ready to start working on something in the design process for the next collection. Throughout the day, we will work on different aspects and then, in the afternoon, I like to do another email clear-out. It helps me prep so that I can be on top of things for the next day.
And in terms of your day-to-day, what is the best part of your job?
Seeing girls from around the world wearing and posting pictures in EPV Swim! It’s incredible to think that the swimwear we design is shipped off to all of these amazing destinations around the world.
That is so cool! Would you say that you have a work/life balance?
Absolutely! Eau Paix Vie Swim has allowed us to have an excellent work/life balance as we have the freedom to travel and aren’t restricted by work hours or days. Though, it can be hard to switch off... Whilst my friends who work 9-5 end their day when they walk out of the office, I can be at dinner at 9pm still checking work emails. There is no switching off and no clocking out in this job. It works both ways though. I am very happy that it’s flexible and I appreciate that.
There are always some sacrifices that have to be made when you create a business from the ground up. It sounds like you guys have got the balance right though. So, what words do you live by?
I don’t really have any prophetic saying to share, but essentially, I try to do the things I love, and I try to encourage others to do the same. The best person to decide your life is yourself. Ultimately, people should follow their dreams or their heart, and live their life how they want to.
I am in complete agreement! What’s next for Eau Paix Vie?
We’ve just launched a brand new website so we would love you to check that out. We spent a lot of last year planning and getting that executed, so stay tuned for more updates!
Like what you read? Head to Eau Paix Vie Swimwear to find out more. Or if you fancy checking out some previous interviews you can find them here. All images are via Eau Paix Vie Swimwear.