The January blues are in full swing and many people are attempting to work on their New Year’s resolutions. With the exciting idea of a fresh start, numerous friends of mine expressed their interests in starting their own businesses online, panning from clothing to personal training sessions. Starting your own business can be stressful, difficult and time consuming but with the right mindset, it can be less of a burden and more compelling.
Being a 21-year-old in today’s society means that the internet and social networking is quite a large factor within life, similar to any young adult really… Despite its bundle of negative factors, it has helped many start up business owners build their brands and gain audiences. Especially for Natalie Hunt, who owns Saqari Swimwear, a swimwear brand that she promotes and sells online. I spoke with Natalie about all things business, swimwear and our new mutual love for Summer.
“Why did you start Saqari Swimwear?”
“Honestly? I absolutely love summer, I love the sun, the sea. It all makes me feel so happy, and what do you need for the sun and sea? A good bikini… I was fed up of buying expensive swimwear that didn’t last. The majority of the bikinis I bought were either made with the completely wrong fabric that you couldn’t even wear into water as the colour would run and at the end of the day, you would find marks over your body where the dye transferred onto you. I’ve always enjoyed sewing, growing up I would fix or alter my sisters and mums’ clothes, it’s just something that relaxes me. So, one day I decided to order a few rolls of fabric and it’s all been a blur from then… Well not entirely, but it’s been fun.”
“How has the entire process of starting a business by yourself been?”
“It’s been a major rollercoaster, I used to work as a plasterer with my boyfriend before I decided to start this venture. Once I stopped plastering, I had a small amount of money to start the business. I set up my own website and social media platforms for the brand so that I could build an audience. I had designed and hand made all the bikinis and had photos taken of them so I could put them on the website and Instagram. However, with all the excitement of making my own business, it’s easy to forget that the sales would be slow because it is a new business. Promoting Saqari was hard enough, let alone selling the bikinis. But after a while, I gained more and more followers on Instagram and the website had more activity and the bikinis began to sell. When I got the first notification of a bikini sale, I celebrated with a glass of wine. It’s such a great feeling.
“Has there been a specific moment that you have been really proud of?”
“Well, creating Saqari Swimwear is something I’m really proud of personally, but more specifically, recently Gabby Dawn Allen, from Love Island, wore one of my bikinis and posted pictures of her wearing it on her Instagram. It was one of those moments where I had to double take… that made me really proud.”
“Have you faced any difficulties with the business?”
“There have been a few. Obviously, the initial audience growth was slow but its stabilised now. Id say that one of the hardest issues I’ve faced is that society loves fast fashion. Everyone likes cheap things, so when someone sees a bikini for £4 then they’re going to choose that one over one that is more expensive. However, the logical side of buying clothing is to buy things that will last. A £4 bikini might just last you the summer. There are big brands out there that sell crappy bikinis with a fairly hefty price tag but if you look around, you’ll find independent or smaller businesses that actually care about the customers opinion and want to make products that are great quality.”
“What makes Saqari different to other swimwear brands?”
“To me, its unique because its swimwear that I would wear. It is made with so much care and precision. I know I’m not perfect, but I’ve put my heart and soul into this business and the swimwear really is fantastic quality and really suits every single body type. Another thing that I stand by is ensuring Saqari is as ethical and sustainable as possible. The packaging I use when sending out products is completely recyclable with the swimwear wrapped in tissue paper and put in cardboard boxes. Any fabric offcuts left, I make hair scrunchies with and either sell them or give them as gifts to family and friends. Also, everything is made here in Plymouth, Devon so it really is local”
“What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking about starting up their own business?”
“Don’t be scared. It’s a daunting thing to do, but it’s so worth it. It does require money and a lot of time but if you’re dedicated enough, it will all work out. I love my job, but it isn’t easy. So, you do have to work hard in order to see results. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then take a small step back as it can get too much at times but remember you’re doing this for you, don’t feel pressured to create something if you aren’t in the right mindset. Make sure you focus on yourself because you won’t produce great things if you aren’t feeling great. Just don’t give up.”
For anyone who is curious to check out the wonderful Saqari Swimwear, the website link and instagram link is below. Happy (and ethical) shopping…