Jessica Williamson founded her swimwear brand, Ete Swimwear, in February 2016. By September of the same year, she was in New York for New York Fashion Week spring/summer 2017, courtesy of Australia’s Fashion Palette, which works to help fashion designers reach larger audiences, including buyers, consumers and the media.
We got to briefly meet Jess when she was in town, where we got to see her deisgns first-hand. We absolutely loved how humble yet passionate she was about her brand. It was evident the past few months had been a whirlwind for her, yet, she was staying focused on her brand and its next phase.
Once the dust settled, and Jess was back in Australia, we got to catch up with her to find out more about her brand.
MalenDyer: How did the name “Ete” come about?
Jessica Williamson: Ete (pronounced eh-teh) was a word I just came across one day and just loved it! Luckily it also means summer in french so it was a perfect fit.
MD: How would you describe the Ete girl?
JW: Ete Swimwear is created for the feminine adventurer. [For] consumers who seek the latest swimwear fashions to flaunt on their latest ‘wanderlust’ adventure and who are go-getters and like to push the boundaries.
“Ete Swimwear is created for the feminine adventurer.”
MD: We met you in New York for ss17 fashion week, and at that time, your brand was still very young – months old, what were some of your key learnings from that experience in New York City?
JW: It opened my eyes to the U.S. and the world market. Perth is a small city in Australia, and it made me realize there’s so much more out there for Ete Swimwear. We will definitely be looking to expand more worldwide.
MD: Let’s talk a bit about one of our favorite materials – crochet. What drew you to use this material?
JW: Crochet fits well with our brand – the bohemian textures mixed with pastel colors complement the prints so well.
MD: In regards to sourcing the materials and the manufacturing of the swimwear, what has been your biggest struggles so far? And, any successes or wins, especially being a new brand?
JW: Finding a good and reliable factory is the hardest part of running a fashion brand for sure! It took me many stressful months, many terrible samples and it cost money in the process. But, it is all worth it when you finally find a factory you can work with, and it makes life a lot easier. Plus, I learned a lot along the way. It still takes a lot of work to ensure every piece is made at the best quality and cut, and we work hard to keep this promise for our customers. Although, it is so rewarding to see the final product.
MD: How have you been working to differentiate your swimwear from others in the marketplace?
JW: Ete Swimwear embodies the feminine adventurer. We use feminine colorful prints and soft bohemian textures whilst keeping the highest quality. A lot of other brands are following the monochrome or plain and dark color trends whilst we are setting ourselves apart and making designs girls can feel beautiful in.
“I find inspiration in exploring new destinations and our beautiful pink and blue Perth sunsets.
MD: Where do you go to find inspiration?
JW: Everywhere! Mainly outdoors, exploring new destinations and our beautiful pink and blue Perth sunsets.
MD: What has been the most rewarding part of starting your own company?
JW: Seeing girls wearing our designs!
MD: What has been your biggest “pinch me” moment so far?
JW: NYFW for sure! Being invited to one of the world’s largest fashion events so early on (just one week after launching) definitely was my pinch me moment. It’s something brands dream of for years, and I am so grateful and appreciated every moment.
MD: What’s next for you and Ete Swimwear?
JW: We have a few things in the pipeline, including some exciting events and partnerships. Plus, we have just begun wholesaling to retailers, which is a whole new avenue for Ete Swimwear. I am always learning and trying new things.
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