Becky Jack, founder, peony swimwear
I find inspiration in the simple joys of summer – diving into the ocean, the smell of coconut oil, the taste of a banana Paddle Pop and the feeling of bare feet on the hot tarmac ...
Raised on sunshine, surf and sand on the Gold Coast, Becky Jack is the amazingly talented lass behind local label peony swimwear. Destined to be true to herself and her passion, she turned her back on a lucrative and secure career in law to venture headfirst into the unknown and release her first collection in January of 2013 and hasn’t looked back, even for a moment. Having just released its fourth range, peony swimwear is an ode to Australian beach life and the carefree lifestyle that it embraces. We had a chat with Becky Jack ahead of Spring Fling, an entrepreneurs networking event she’s speaking at on Thursday October 1, to chat about change, chasing dreams and challenges.
How would you describe peony swimwear’s style?
Bohemian nostalgia fused with refined femininity.
Take us back to the beginning, how did the label come about?
The label was born out of my life-long love affair with the ocean and my passion for design. When I was a young girl I always dreamed of being a designer but when I finished school I decided to pursue something a little bit more concrete so I enrolled in a double degree in business and law. I really enjoyed the study but once I got out into practice I wasn’t sure it was for me and I felt this kind of fire in my belly for something more. I concluded there’s no better time than the present and I launched peony swimwear in January of 2013.
You left the security of a law firm for the fickle fashion industry, how hard was it to come to that decision?
It was an extremely daunting decision. The majority of those I told couldn’t understand what has possessed me to abandon a secure career and regular pay cheque for the minuscule possibility of success in one of the most saturated and competitive industries in the world. A part of me wondered too. So I had to summon a lot of focus and determination during this time and I fell back on my family and mentors who provided perspective and encouragement.
How did your parents take the news?
I think quite well, maybe not at first, they were obviously quite shocked and maybe reluctantly supportive in the beginning but I think that turned into whole-hearted genuine support when they saw that it was such a good thing for me and it made me so happy.
Are you happy you made the change?
I’ve never looked back! In saying that, I believe life is one of those things when sometimes you just have to go with the flow and you don’t know what is going to get thrown at you. I would never rule out law all together but I am enjoying what I am doing at the moment and I can’t imagine it coming to an end anytime in the near future.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration in our relaxed coastal lifestyle and in the simple joys of summer – diving into the ocean, the smell of coconut oil, the taste of a banana Paddle Pop and the feeling of bare feet on the hot tarmac. When I think of an Aussie summer I think of our rugged coastal landscape, frangipani trees, sausage sizzles and bikinis hanging from the hills hoist in the backyard. All the little things that make you feel excited for the warmer months inspire me to create something tangible that embodies the intangible.
What’s the best part of creating swimwear for a living?
That moment when I hit the send button and a new range goes up online, it’s so nerve wracking because you put your heart and soul into something for months and you just hope that people will like it. Without doubt, the response to every collection has been more overwhelming than the last. That’s satisfaction for me, it’s the best feeling ever.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Dealing with disapproval and criticism was a hurdle in the beginning. It seemed everyone had an opinion about what I had chosen to do. Also, constantly dealing with the normal self-doubt and self-criticism that comes with being a perfectionist, I’m always asking myself if it could be better.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt on your journey so far?
Trust your gut. Be it a cliche, in my experience I have found it to be so true.
Do you have any advice for people who might be harbouring a dream?
You are much more likely to succeed in something that you are passionate about. Sit down, write a detailed business plan, find a mentor who is willing to help you and get started. Stay focused on your own goals and just enjoy the journey.
Are you working on anything exciting right now?
I am always working on some exciting things! We’ve had some good interest from some really big international retailers over the last few months, I can’t say much at this stage but there are some amazing things in the works. I’m just taking it one step at a time.
Only a Gold Coast local would know … Burleigh hill is the best place to spot whales whilst enjoying an afternoon beverage in the sunshine.
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
Perk up … Canteen Coffee in Burleigh Heads.
Relax … Fingal back beach, my favourite summer spot.
Indulge … Shopping in Byron Bay.
Dine … The Fish House in Burleigh Heads.
Be inspired … My home.