After years of disappointment with ill-fitting swimsuits, Megan Davis aimed to create a brand of flattering swimwear that embraces body positivity, giving women of all sizes confidence at the beach or the swimming pool.
Here's our chat with her.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
I had so many ideas about different things before I settled on swimwear. I felt there was a real gap in the market for my swimsuits, which are targeted towards the average woman.
Was there a significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
After being a stay-at-home mum and an expat for the past 8 years, I knew I had to do something but I didn’t want to go back to corporate office life. Starting Ellenny Swim was a way to take control of my working life with flexible hours and a chance to create something I’m proud of.
Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?
I wish I had started planning and learning about launching a new business sooner. These days it’s easy to find cost-effective resources to help you begin the business plan and educate yourself about running a business. For someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey, I’d advise to join groups and business networks and start asking questions. Begin planning through researching the product, business model and the broader industry.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
The ability to self-manage, thinking outside the box and being humble and open to always learning.
Who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?
All women in business are an inspiration to me - Mum’s, single mum’s and women creating the extraordinary out of nothing.
What was the best advice that you have been given?
Stay in your own lane – Don’t get hung up on your competitors or what others are doing, be confident in your own business and ideas.
What do you think your key to success has been?
Hard work and wonderful support from family and friends.
How have you personally measured your success?
Having never done anything like this before, I’m really happy to have come as far as I have already. Especially this really difficult year when so many established businesses have not survived.
Outsource the skill or learn the skill?
I would say do both if you can. Learn it so you can manage the outsourcing.
How do you generate new ideas?
Listening and observing.
I ask people what they love or don’t love about swimwear and research new concepts and designs. I find myself chatting to complete strangers about swimwear and what they do or don’t like. Talking to as many people as possible to gain their opinions really helps gauge what my next idea might be.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I love working at my own pace and being responsible for myself. After a career in a corporate environment, I really enjoy the independence of self management.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
There are so many wonderful women in business, it’s difficult to narrow it down.
Some women who have inspired me are Nikki from Styling You, Janine Ellis from Boost Juice, and also Camilla who created an incredible fashion brand.
Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
I’d like to continue to grow Ellenny Swim into a brand that caters to more women and their different shapes and swimwear needs.
Who are the women around you that allow you to thrive?
I have joined many business groups and have also done some coaching courses with some incredible women. Joining these groups has been a great way to meet other women in business, some who are mother’s too, who have been a great support network cheering me on and boosting morale.
What do you do for encouragement or to be motivated?
Positive feedback from my customers is what keeps me motivated. I love reading the feedback from women who tell me that Ellenny Swim swimsuits has changed thir body confidence or given them added support when swimming. If I can help one woman feel confident about herself wearing swimwear, then all these long hours are worth it.
How do you balance your entrepreneur life with friends that don’t understand the challenges we experience?
That’s an interesting question. Some of my friends and family weren’t too interested in my business at the beginning and found it hard to understand the challenges of launching a new swimwear label. However, I have a great support network around me who do understand and I choose to share ideas with those around me who show interest in my label. My husband has been incredibly supportive and encouraging as well as some of my lovely friends.
What makes your business unique?
I believe my swimwear has filled a gap in the market, providing women with supportive, sustainable and stylish swimwear that make them feel confident around the pool or at the beach. The feedback and reviews I have received from my customers continues to encourage me to keep going.
What keeps you going in difficult times?
Hearing feedback from women who say Ellenny Swim has made them feel more confident in swimwear motivates me to keep going. I also lean on those in my support network, as everyone is going through a rough time this year and experiencing different challenges.
What keeps you up at night?
So many things! Planning my next collection during a pandemic has been at the forefront of my mind recently. As you can imagine, it has it’s challenges, and who knows where we will be in a year’s time.
How do you handle doubt?
This is something I’ve been working on recently. I find meditation can help calm my mind so I refrain from overthinking too much. Going outside for a walk helps clear my head and is good for recharging. Reaching out to friends and family is also really helpful if I am unsure about something.