After graduating from Northumbria University in 2013 with a degree in Fashion Marketing, Rachel, a keen competitive swimmer, saw a gap in the market for stylish swimwear that actually stays put when you're in the water. So in 2014 she quit her job to work on her business plan full-time.
How did you come up with the name?
The name is something I played with for a while, another one I was thinking about was Ocean Avenue. I felt that the French name fitted the brand really well, it means love and sea.
Your pieces all have exotic female names – how do you decide what to call them?
I wanted something a little bit more unusual and I came up with the names on my own through playing around with different ideas and doing a little bit of research. I looked at different destinations and international girls names to come up with something different and unique.
What has been your best moment since starting the business?
The launch. When the website finally went live and I could see my hard work paying off and sales coming through – that's the best feeling – having a big sigh of relief and knowing everything is done and you can focus on what's next.
What is next?
At the moment we are working on next year's collection, so that's exciting and really fun. We launched with five designs – we started small because we were on a budget as a start-up company but next season we're planning on expanding that a little bit more. The plan over the next few months is to try to get some stockists onboard here in the UK locally and then to try and get some in Australia and the US as well.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
We draw inspiration from next year's trends, different scenery and tropical photographs to create colour schemes and prints. That's we are currently doing for next years collection.
What's the best part about running your own business?
It's something I have been planning for a while so knowing that I have worked so hard is a really good feeling – it's great to know you have done it all on your own.
You don't switch off, you're always on overdrive. It's very full-time, you don't really switch off at night when you're going to bed. When you're running your own business you never really have a day off. The day starts at 7am when you wake up and finishes when you go to bed at 11pm. Typically I do work 9am–5pm but I don't stop when I get home! It's a lot of hard work but I suppose that's good and bad at the same time.
Rachel's favourite things...
Summer fashion trend...
I'm the sort of person who likes a lot of monochrome which is why I have used purely black and white designs. That's my main theme this summer which I really like.
North East shop...
I am a big fan of Jules B. I've had experience working there as well so I know what goes into it and I've got a lot of respect for them. I did an internship in the photographic studio when I was at university.
North East restaurant...
I do like Six at the BALTIC, that's probably my favourite.
Thailand. I have travelled there twice and it's where my heart lies.