One thing that’s hard to get in the UK is beautiful bikinis that stay on in the surf. So I was super pumped to see Seafoam shop launch. I’ve long admired (and paid excessive shipping charges for) far-flung surfwear brands, so it’s fantastic to have a UK-based stockist for swimwear – from the likes of Odina, Kovey and Akela – that you can actually surf in.
Read on for an inspiring interview with founder Stien Boodts, plus a discount code…
What made you decide to open Seafoam?
As a passionate surfer I have been looking for perfect surfing swimwear for quite some time. I could never understand how girls surfed in stringy bikinis. How do they stay on when you wipe out?
After months of research I realised the European surf market didn’t have much to offer, but I had found that in the US and Australia brands had evolved from this niche in the industry. I decided something had to be done about this.
The idea of bringing these brands to Europe had been in my mind for a couple of months. I was inspired by other women who had started their own business and had been very successful by working hard and believing in their ideas. This pushed me to make the big step to starting Seafoam. Nine months of preparations and market research preceded the launch of the shop.
“My main aim with Seafoam is to provide comfortable and reliable swimwear for any shape or size. This way, women can be confident in and out of the water and concentrate on what’s really important: the sport they love and above all: having fun!”
It’s awesome to see you supporting independent surf brands, how do you choose which products/brands to sell?
Seafoam aims to provide quality and comfort to fellow female surfers in Europe. Who would know better about this than the female surfers themselves?
All brands on Seafoam have been designed by women, for women. Unlike many big surfing corporations, I choose quality over quantity.
What’s your average day like running Seafoam, do you still get time to surf?
Seafoam is actually run as a part-time business. Most days I am working as a supply teacher in local schools. This has the advantage that I can decide my own weekly schedule. When I am not teaching, I work from home and I am my own boss deciding which hours I work. No 9-5 and no need to bring in sick notes when the surf is pumping, as long as the orders get shipped, off course!
It looks like you’ve been off testing bikinis lately, what are your essentials for a warm water surf trip?
I love travelling light, so essentials are usually all I take…
- Sun protection is number one! Sun tan lotion and sunglasses are on top of the list. Life is too good to risk it all just out of laziness or for that deadly ‘tan’.
- Then of course, my favourite bikini, surfsuit for more sun protection, and boards.
- Another very important one is my camera bag, I have a little collection consisting of a Polaroid, fish eye Lomographic, DSLR and a Go Pro.
- A good book and iPod for the waiting hours when travelling.
- And the bare necessities when it comes to clothing as it is hot anyway!
On that note, where’s your favourite place to surf in the world?
I have been very fortunate to have lived and worked on a private island in French Polynesia. This ‘motu’ is part of the Tikehau atoll and the surf break is absolutely amazing and relatively unknown apart from locals and pro surfers (Until now haha).
But I must say, I don’t have to travel to the other side of the world, as another one of my favourites is Rhossili here in the Gower in South Wales. Every time I sit out in the water and look around I can’t help but smile and be grateful to live in such a beautiful country. It is so peaceful out there and in winter it can be pumping while everywhere else is ‘blown to bits’.
What are your future plans for Seafoam?
My main aim is to offer supportive swimwear for all shapes and sizes. Seafoam is funded solely by personal savings with no investors, nor banks involved. That’s why the first orders were limited in sizing. There should be a wider range of sizes and styles available this spring.
There have been some great contacts with other brands too, which I can hopefully add to Seafoam very soon. I hope that one day I can make this passion-led business my full-time job.
Finally, do you have any advice for others who are thinking about starting up on their own surf-related business?
Dream big and go for it. Don’t stop believing in your ideas. You don’t want to look back on your life and wish you had tried.
If you are passionate about something then you should go for it, but remember to be realistic! Do your research, plan it out and don’t get yourself in trouble. All successful businesses started small.
Thanks Stien! I for one can’t wait to see what stock you drop next.