When young entrepreneur Tara Jane had trouble finding a Brazilian style bikini to meet her taste, the then 21-year-old decided to put the $10k she’d saved for a gap year to good use and make her own cossie instead.
The ambitious girl boss jumped a flight to Bali with her heart and mind set on finding quality textiles and artisans. The dream: to make her own ‘Designed in Australia, Made in Bali bikini’ a reality. Soon after, TJ Swim was born.
Three years later and TJ Swim is one of the most popular Brazilian-style swimwear companies in the market. It boasts 100s of 1000s of Instagram followers and a slew of celebrity endorsers.
Tara Jane is the first to admit she’s come a long way from those early days of the business where she ran TJ Swim from her parent’s laundry.
“The label took off so quickly in a short period of time, largely due to the fact that we were able to build such a strong online presence working with influencers to grow our following,” said Tara Jane.
With celebrities including Chrissy Teigen, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Natalie Halcro photographed in her designs, Tara’s posts began going viral.
“The swimwear market, especially in Australia, is so competitive,” she said. “So we focus a lot of our time on differentiating ourselves. We’re focused on quality and customer experience as well as experimenting with different detailing,” said Tara.
Since starting the business Tara Jane tells KBB she’s learned every day brings with it a new challenge.
“I’ve definitely become a better problem solver and I’ve learnt not to try to focus on too many things at once. Simplicity is key,” she explains.
This year the young Aussie designer took her brand TJ Swim to Miami to take part in the annual Fashion Palette runway show. Inspired by the curves of the female figure and harking back to ‘80’s high-cut fashions, the ‘Miami Heat’ line was an instant hit. The millennial designer may be the youngest Australian to showcase designs at the world’s largest swimwear fashion week.
Still, Tara Jane is not one to rest on her laurels. The swimwear mogul continues to evolve her product. She says creating a community around the brand has been an essential part of its success. While Instagram has delivered opportunities for her to engage with her followers.
“Leveraging Instagram and having the ability to reach millions of young women from all around the globe has been extremely effective for TJ SWIM. Thanks to Instagram, and social media in general, we’ve been able to build a large global following and strong online presence in a short period of time.
“Collaborating with influencers has also been effective as we have been able to put our product in front of potential customers and an audience that we know would be interested in our swimsuits. My advice would be to get your brand on social media, if you haven’t already, and start conversions with your customers. These days it’s extremely important to maintain an open dialogue with consumers and really listen to them and learn from them,” she says.
Tara Jane says she’s listened to customer feedback to meet new demands.
“We’ve expanded our size range to include a larger size and that decision was based around customer feedback and demand. We want to empower women of all body types to feel their best, so we’re going to keep working on increasing our range.”