Guildford mum, Liz Barnes, is making waves in plus-size swimwear. This week, the budding business woman launched swimdressboutique.com, a brand new global website selling beach and holiday wear for curvaceous women. It’s already made a big splash with customers both in the UK and worldwide, attracting overseas customers from as far as Australia, New Zealand, the USA and South America.
Swimdress Boutique offers on-trend womens’ swimwear to flatter fuller figures in sizes 14-26, all available to be purchased securely online. It specialises in swim dresses – swimsuits attached to a dress to provide confidence-boosting coverage of tummies, bottoms and thighs. With the average female in the UK fitting into a size 16, it’s easy to see how SwimdressBoutique.com has become such a success online so quickly.
The 36 year old mum-of-two started her business two years ago in 2011, selling swim dresses on her eBay store. After noticing a high-demand for the one-pieces she quickly progressed to stocking tankinis and swim briefs. In order to offer the very best quality at the most affordable price, it wasn’t long before the budding business-woman took matters into her hands, designing and manufacturing styles for her own- label brand. Working closely with her manufacturers, she is able to keep a careful eye on production to ensure that the quality is higher than most high-street brands.
So what made the ambitious working-mum set up her own business? Liz says “After having my second child, returning to employed work just wasn’t an option due to the prohibitively high costs of childcare. A nursery here in Surrey is £61 per day per child; that’s £2,440 a month with both children in full time. When my son was 2 days old, I made the decision to set myself up in business working around the children and using part time childcare instead. I had always sold various items on eBay more as a hobby than anything else, so I decided to look for niche items that I could manufacture and sell as an occupation. After some initial research, I discovered Plus size swimwear was widely under-catered for and those that were selling it were charging extortionate prices. From that moment on, Swimdress Boutique was born!”
So what advice would Liz give other mums looking to start their own businesses? “Research, Research, Research,” says Liz. I put in a lot of time at the beginning working out which products to stock based on internet searches and current trends and then used the market research tool, Terapeak.com to find out where the gaps in the market were. eBay made it easy for me to start the business up with an online store and to this day, it’s still my largest revenue stream. I started the business with £500 which I used to buy stock and just kept re-investing my profits into more and more stock!