One of the things I love most about living in Byron, is meeting and becoming friends with likeminded businesswomen like Rachael Calvet founder of Marvell Lane Swimwear. I first meet Rachael at women’s weekend retreat that Shannon Fricke was hosting at Gracisoa here in Byron, that I was invited to come in a do the catering.
Rachael and I got chatting in the kitchen about food and having both moved to Byron from Sydney. We caught up a couple of weeks later with the view for me to interview Rachael for the blog …….. but we ended up just talking each others ears off and giggling up a storm, and we totally forgot about the interview and decided to be vino and caffeine buddies instead YAY! Fast forward a few months, I finally got around to shooting Rachael off some Q’s because I wanted to share this beautiful womens story with you, and selfishly wanted to keep my catch up with Rachael for copious amounts of laughter and good times.
(Rachael at Watego’s beach where her swimwear label was born : Photo by Inez Brookes)
Q: How does a girl from Katherine NT find herself living in Byron Bay AND designing swimwear?
I’ve lived in many places and after a very traumatic event in 2015, I told my husband that I couldn’t live in Sydney any longer. I actually wanted to move home to the NT permanently but there’s no surf there for my husband and their golf course is fairly average as well, so he vetoed a move way up north! hahaha. We’d holidayed in Byron previously and got married in Mullumbimby in 2014, so Byron was the next best place we decided to go. I got my small town fix and Dave got his golf and surf!
- Capital: Depending on what you’re doing for your own business, you will need cash to start anything. Marvell Lane was started using tens of thousands of dollars of savings before we even got to a point of being able to sell one bikini. And that was hoping that once we got to the point of selling our swimwear that people would actually want to buy it! Wanna talk about pressure and anxiety? hahahahaha.
- Persistence & Consistency: In regards to my business, there is literally no one else who is going to answer your phone, do your emails, follow up all the people (suppliers, manufactures, pattern-makers, graphic designers, artists, etc), plan social media, plan advertising, grow a customer email database etc, so you have to be consistent and turn up day after day (and on weekends) and be persistent with all the little things!
- Not seeing anyone else all day: The only people I speak to day-to-day (aside from business-related chats) are my barista and the ladies at the post office. You need to get comfortable with your own company because it can be really lonely and quite isolating!
- There are limited traditional employment opportunities that exist in a city (outside of hospitality and tourism) – so you have to carve your own place out;
- Byron is so close to major centres such as Brisbane & the Gold Coast and commuting to Sydney or Melbourne as needed is easy with the GC & Ballina airport, so you can do the city work as needed and everything else here!; and
- Most importantly – I think people get inspired here because they see SO MANY other women out there working really damn hard, creating their own opportunities and growing and running their own businesses. If other women can do it then you can too!
I don’t have a set budget at this stage. I actually quit social media about 18 months before I started Marvell Lane and was devastated to realise I had to re-engage with social media for the sake of my business! haha. But this is how people are consuming content in most regards and it certainly isn’t changing any time soon! I spend around 5-10 hours/week planning and “doing” social media. This is actually how customers first contact my business now, through Facebook and Instagram, instead of emailing or calling. No one ever calls although that would be the FASTEST way to get hold of me! haha!