Beach Robes Australia’s founder Erica Mawer made a big splash when she designed and launched the beach and swimming hoodie robe for children and parents from Bondi beach right across the country to Cottesloe beach thanked her for designing the practical and stylish solution they had been waiting for! But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Here, Erica explains the Beach Robes Australia journey…
Can you tell us a bit about Beach Robes Australia?
Beach Robes Australia provide stylish, practical and luxurious children’s hooded swimming robes for the beach, bath and pool. Designed in Australia and crafted from plush, super absorbent microfibre, you can wrap your kids up nice and warm after swimming with our fabulous hooded swim robes. The robes are available in six sizes and six stunning beach-inspired colours. Our hooded beach/swim robes are a must-have for little ones who spend a lot of time at the beach or pool.
What was the ‘light bulb moment’ that you thought, ‘I’m going to create stylish and practical swim robes’?
My family spends a lot of time at the beach and our children swim all year round. We regularly holiday and escape to wonderful beachside destinations outside the city. As all parents know, a trip to the beach or pool with little swimmers can be quite the logistical feat with loads of essentials to fit into an overflowing beach bag! I was inspired to create Beach Robes Australia to simplify this experience and give families a smart and simple alternative to lugging wet, heavy towels around while keeping kids warm, dry and protected from the sun.
When did you launch Beach Robes Australia?
The Beach Robes Australia concept was literally born on the beach in 2012. I was a Sydney based mum-of-two, watching my children play on the sand and saw an opportunity to create a stylish, practical and affordable beach robe for children. Fast forward two years and Beach Robes Australia officially launched operations in November 2014 to capitalise on the pre-Christmas sales
What makes Beach Robes Australia hooded beach robes unique?
They are designed in Australia and made from plush, quick-drying microfibre. Our beach robes are super-absorbent and lightweight. Whilst traditional terry towelling robes can become waterlogged and heavy, Beach Robes Australia’s luxurious microfibre robes draw water away from the body, leaving your children warm and dry.
Parents love their practical designs too. Can you explain?
They are created with practicality in mind. Our beach robes offer oversized hoods to protect little bodies from the sun and wind, and large pockets for goggles, snacks or beach treasures. They are designed to withstand exposure to the harsh Australian elements – sun, sand, surf and chlorine – our beach robes are hard wearing and won’t fade or shrink. They’re perfect all year round for either a day at the beach, a swim in the pool, afterschool swimming lessons or weekend Nippers. Simply throw one on and your little ones can go to and from the beach or pool without getting changed.
There’s no traditional kids’ stars and stripes in your range. Was this a conscious decision?
Yes – our products are designed in Australia to be stylish, practical and affordable quality kids’ hooded beach/swim robes in a range of fashion colours. We consciously use a fresh colour palette inspired by the beautiful changing hues of the ocean, sky, sunrise and sunset – a classic and sophisticated alternative to conventional brights and stripes!
Why do parents love your beach and swim robes?
They are the perfect sun-safe solution for their children to staying warm and dry after a swim. They are soft, lightweight and quick drying, keeping their children dry while protecting them from the sun, cold and wind. Simply throw one on and your little ones can go to and from the beach or pool without getting changed.
What were some of the challenges of launching a business with young children?
My two children were aged 6 and 4 years old when the business idea was born in 2012. It took 2 years from idea inception to launch as I was working on and in the business during this period and had to do this around being the primary carer to our two young children. I wore numerous ‘hats’ during this time and drew on my valuable past experience (prior to having children) of 15 years’ working in the Digital Marketing & Advertising space from start-ups right through to various large, multinational and global agencies. I worked every spare minute I had to get this business up and running and was responsible for all Product Development to Sales/Marketing, Administration, Operations, Warehousing & Fulfilment. My husband is an IT Consultant and he helped with the website, E-commerce integration and setup of Google Analytics and Reporting. All SEO and paid social media advertising is also outsourced to an Agency. There were certainly trying and challenging days during this two year period with two young children to care for, but I had a vision of happy, smiling children wearing hooded beach/swim robes to and from the beach and pool – and never once wavered from that vision.
Just 3 months after launch, I also experienced a major health scare. In February 2015, I was diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer and I will never forget the breast care clinic nurse telling me to basically cancel any plans I had for the rest of the year as I needed to focus on treatment and surgery. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, I just kept saying to her “but I have just launched a business! This can’t happen now!” But happen it did and during the first year of operations I had just under 100 visits to the hospital for various tests, scans, chemo, surgery and so many other things. My laptop was also always with me on these visits! Whilst I did prioritise my treatment, I did have to cancel or postpone a few plans I had for the business initially. I got through my treatment with the help & support of family & friends and the business also survived! I am a firm believer in that you really can achieve anything with the right mindset, self-belief, passion and determination.