Jess Williamson


Business: Ete Swimwear
What? Swimwear for the feminine adventurer.


How did the idea for your business first come about?
I have always wanted to work in the fashion industry and loved spending my time at the beach and out in the sunshine. My background is actually in digital marketing and I had always had ideas on businesses I wanted to start and then one day decided that swimwear would be the perfect fit for me as its exactly what I love doing.

When did you have a ‘f*ck-it moment’ and decide you were going to go all-in and start your business?
When I have an idea or feel passionate about something I go all in, and once I had decided its what I wanted to do, I began researching and figuring out how to manufacture and never looked back since! It took me about 8 months from the idea to launching online with my first collection.

What were some major challenges you had when starting your business? And how did you overcome them?
I had never had any experience or training in the fashion industry so that was something I had to learn along the way. I had no contacts in the industry or anyone to help me so figured it all out myself. Finding a manufacturer was probably the hardest part when starting out, to be able to find someone who can meet your needs.

What has been your biggest “pinch me” moment?
Walking the runway at NYFW! It was only 1 week after I had launched that the NYFW scouts approached me to showcase at the show with so many other amazing designers. Within 6 months I had created a whole new collection and was showcasing my designs.

Starting a business can be gruelling - what keeps you motivated, and keeps you going?
Passion, I think if you love what you're doing its never a struggle to keep motivated. I love to come up with new ideas and initiatives and thats what keeps me motivated.

How do you create a work-life balance?
In the beginning, there was no balance haha! I was working full time as well as running my business so it was crazy. Since I left my job and now work full time on Ete Swimwear, I have been able to manage my time better and I don't usually work on the weekends, I try to get out and exercise and do yoga when I can. My schedule is more flexible so if I want to catch up with a friend for lunch I can, I just end up doing the work later in the day and that flexibility is what keeps me sane.