Julia Church had a vision: to build an honest swimwear company from grassroots that changed the way women felt about swimsuit season. It began with a campaign on the popular crowd funding site, Indiegogo, to raise $10,000 towards a small inventory and online store that catered to real women of all shapes and sizes. It would be called Nettle’s Tale and would feature designs that were inspired by the real women in Julia’s life. Julia not only met that goal, she exceeded it by 703 percent. We were excited to chat with her about this amazing journey she’s been on and how she’s making waves in the Vancouver swimwear scene, one swimsuit at a time…
Tell us a little bit about your story. We’re curious to know what brought you to launch such a unique swimwear company in Vancouver.
The idea came to me last spring when my favourite suit was going to kick the can. I sewed a replica, thinking about how I might improve on the design. When my roommate tried on my new version, I was struck by how great she looked and felt in it. I thought to myself, Why don’t more apparel companies care about how their product makes their customers feel?
After that I plunged into design, with a focus on catering to the unique, vastly different body types of the everyday women in my life. We launched the Indiegogo campaign this spring, and since then it’s been a whirlwind! I’m honestly blown away by the demand, and I still can’t believe how far we’ve come in such a short time.
Can you describe the look and feel of Nettle’s Tale? What do our local consumers need to know about your pieces?
My vision is a swimsuit line that screams Canadian. In our online store you’ll see swimwear for the everyday Canadian woman, created and inspired by Canadian women. To get a sense of the Nettle’s Tale aesthetic, imagine for a moment a little tent nestled in a cove, a freshwater lake, swimsuits drying by the campfire, cliff-jumping with friends… then, drop in an old photo of Marilyn Monroe at the beach, and 50s gals laughing on a brightly coloured blanket. Our line is mod-vintage, but more on the modern side than some of the pinup styles saturating the stores today. The feel of my swimwear is a bit different than what women might be used to on the market. Similar to leather, our fabrics feel supportive and conform to the shape of your body over time, but won’t wear out after one season. Because, really, who wants to part with her swimsuit bestie?
We love how you’ve incorporated philanthropy into your business model. Can you describe your philanthropic vision and why it’s so important to you?
I think if there is anyone in society who should be giving back it’s the corporate sector. Business should be local and those local enterprises should be devoted to being a good neighbour – caring for the community around them. I see it as almost a non-negotiable responsibility of the entrepreneur, since entrepreneurs are the creators of wealth and value in an economy.
On a regular Tuesday, what are you usually up to in the “shop”?
Right now, shipping! The first wave of swimsuits are just arriving and we have orders continuing to pour in, hundreds of Indiegogo pledgers to satisfy, plus new customers excited to wear the suits they ordered.
If you were at the beach, without any techie gadgets on hand, what three things would you want to have with you (other than a cute little Nettle’s Tale swimsuit, of course)?
1. Floatie from the dollar store (the more personality, the better)
2. Mexican blanket
3. A BBQ or my camping stove
So where is your favourite place to wear your Nettle’s Tale swimwear?
My family owns a place on Shushwap Lake and it is one of my favourite spots in the world. Such a great lake to swim in, with breathtaking views! It’s the ideal place to show off the versatility of a Nettle’s Tale suit because in one day you might find yourself swimming lengths early in the morning, then jumping off a boat later, tanning on the beach, wakeboarding – the sky’s the limit. It’s very important to me to give all those active ladies a suit that can meet the demand (in style of course!).
Let’s quickly chat upcoming projects. Tell us what’s going on in the near future for Nettle’s Tale.
Right around the corner is our Pop-up Shop, from July 29th to Aug 1st at Heritage Hall on Main Street. There’s a shop-til-midnight event on Wednesday and our official launch party on the Thursday (tickets are going fast on Eventbrite). We’re packing a lot of fun perks and surprises into those four days. And then with all these opportunities to connect in person with our customers, we can incorporate their ideas and feedback for our new fall designs!
Will you be grabbing a swimsuit from Nettle’s Tale? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.