We sit down with the lovely Juliette, founder of our very own ULU Swim and Surf and chat to her about her journey creating a sustainable brand.
What inspired you to start ULU Swim & Surf ?
I set up the brand in the summer of 2020 inspired by my experience surfing whilst backpacking round Europe. I was trying to buy swimwear suitable for surfing and I quickly realised the swimwear options were incredibly limited, very expensive and rarely sustainably made. The brand name originates from Uluwatu, a famous surfers paradise in Bali and a place that I love - all of our colours, fabrics, styles and even the brand image have been inspired by the beautiful places I've been fortunate to have visit across the world and the inspiring people I've met.
How would you describe your wellness journey?
I've always loved exercise and it's been a part of my life since I was very young. I've also grown up in a household that loves food and cooking so tend to live a fairly healthy life. That said I personally never have really enjoyed buying swimwear as I've always felt uncomfortable and self-conscious - especially in the harsh light of changing rooms. My journey to self-acceptable has been a long one and is ongoing. I didn't truly feel comfortable in my own skin until I went travelling - with a carry-on case I didn’t have the luxury of straighteners, nice body creams and fancy make-up. And nor did I need that stuff. I ended up travelling for four months, from living in a caravan in wild France, to a tent on the beach in Portugal and more hostels than I can count. Embracing body positivity and using my voice through the brand is something I am very passionate about. Our brand was founded for real bodies and all of designs are made with YOU in mind. Designing our range has been a collaborative process; we’ve invested time in understanding what real women want, how they choose their swimwear and what makes each of them comfortable. When you wear our swimwear, we want you to feel confident, happy and ready to hit the beach.
What is your morning routine?
I tend to wake up naturally and I like to have my morning coffee whilst listening to Capital radio.
The majority of days I'll have my breakfast at my desk whilst answering emails! Meetings tend to start around 9am which keeps me busy until the end of the day! On the weekend I like to lie in and have a lazy morning (think breakfast in bed with Netflix and my fave oil diffuser on) before hitting the gym.
What are your top three sustainable tips?
Buying sustainable products - everything from clothes, food and household items. I did the plastic free challenge in January and haven't looked back since! You can read our blog post on our favourite sustainable swaps here: https://uluswimandsurf.
- Reduce your waste everywhere you can - the focus has been on plastic the last couple of years but did you know that the average UK household throws 6.7 million tonnes of food away each year?!
Invest in clothing that will last and don't buy into the fast fashion wear-once culture. Look for clothes that are well made, constructed from durable fabrics and are in a timeless colour/style/shape that will take you across multiple seasons. If you can buy second hand or look for sustainable fabrics/companies.
What’s the most important hurdle you’ve overcome whilst creating ULU?
Setting up a business hasn't been easy especially in Covid times - having the confidence in myself and the business has been one of the most difficult and important hurdles that I am (still trying) to overcome. I've also had to learn how to do everything that the business requires from marketing, finance, product development which has been a fun but steep learning curve!
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Do you what you are passionate about, money isn't everything and surround yourself with funny, kind and supportive people who lift you up
What key elements are you focussing on for the rest of the year?
We have been focusing on providing international shipping (which is carbon neutral) and am super excited that this is now live on the website! We now are looking at designing the next range!
We say sustainable you say…?
Doing good for the planet (sorry too many things to list out here for quick fire!)
Describe your style in one word.
Now describe ULU style in one word...
Bikini or Swimsuit?
Swimsuit every time
Your desert island disc?
Embarrassingly never listened to them!
What's your favourite non ULU Swim FIBI brand (completely unbiased!)?
Want to find out more about ULU Swim? Head over to their collection here