Meet the Byron Bay based Kiwi legend behind SALT GYPSY
October 06, 20174 min read
We have been following the Salt Gypsy journey for a few years now, what a crazy, exciting whirlwind journey! Talk us through how a girl from the North Shore (Auckland, NZ) ends up with a globally stocked brand of womens surf apparel, living in tropical Byron Bay…
Three words: Ladyballs & Singapore Slings. And rest of the long story short: I quit a job I loved at Billabong NZ and found myself on a one way ticket to the Maldives to be a snorkel guide at a surf resort. Hahaha true story! But I ended up being trained as a surf guide during that season, I met my now fiancé, Jade (he’s a Kiwi too yay!), and we ended up spending the following two years working operating a surf charter boat for Liquid Destination (who I’d highly recommend if you want to surf uncrowded epic waves in the Maldives).
2012 was my third season working in the Maldives and as I was constantly surrounded by guys, I wanted a way to connect with other like-minded female surfers. So I started a blog called Salt Gypsyand halfway through that year had a couple of pairs of surf leggings made for myself because a) the novelty of a Kiwi girl with a tanned bottom had started to wear off because of b) SKIN CANCER & SUN DAMAGE and c) I couldn’t find anything in the marketplace that suited either my personal style or surf guide wages.
By the end of 2012, with no money but an idea and some feedback on the surf leggings I’d been wearing, I launched customizable surf leggings through the blog and FB page and received about 20 pre-orders from some really awesome early adopters. That’s how I was able to start with $0 and the brand you see today has evolved from those first two pairs of leggings.
I have to also add in that the ladyballs comes from my stepdad, Mike, teaching me the value of persistence and that, in combination with having the balls to throw myself into the unknown again and again and again, is how I’ve survived, and thrived, over the last 4 years of self-employment.
What has been the biggest ‘OMG’ moment of the Salt Gypsy journey so far?
There’s been quite a few but at one point seeing $56,751 in the black and in the business bank account (yip…I screenshot it…) was pretty awesome for someone who’s never had more than $5k saved and who started this thing with zero capital!
Being picked up by Urban Outfitters in the US for a couple of years was pretty rad and unexpected (they’ve since changed their business model).
Walking past a major multinational retailer in Robina Mall on the Gold Coast and seeing MY LEGGING DESIGN on their mannequin made me congratulate myself with a whiskey on the rocks for having mass-commercial design skills.
Having all three of the major corporate surf companies use my trademarked brand name in some capacity across their websites and product styles.
Meeting all the rad women over the last few years and realizing I’m not alone – there are LOTS of women wanting to buy cool gear and feel rad in the lineup. Yes ladies, our time is now.
We’re pretty fond of where you live…What do you love most about living in Byron?
Yeah Byron life is a pretty epic lifestyle. Despite the fact I work almost around the clock managing two businesses these days, winter here is pretty mild and only lasts for about 2-3 months. The weather is stellar, the people are rad, the food is epic, organic and wide-ranging, you can tap into the madness that Byron town and lineups can be as much as you can drive 10mins up or down the coast and be out of that madness.
We’ve met some very driven, talented and fun crew.
Top Eating spots in the hood?
I’ve just opened a shop in Byron with a photographer friend, Ming Nomchong, which is in a newly opened stretch on the boutique Fletcher Street. I’m a bit biased as we’re always eating at our new neighbours places: Safiya for brekky and good double shot flat white, Finn Poke (gourmet poke bowls!!) which is about to open this week, Eight for local organic hot meals and salads.
Outside of our little zone we love to head to Harvest out at Newrybar and the Balcony oyster bar for happy hour.
How about adventures, what is your favourite day trip mission from Byron?
The Byron Hinterland – there are some epic waterfalls and swimming holes we have only scratched the surface on. Also – the Doma restaurant out in Federal has some of the best & most authentic Japanese food we’ve had outside of Japan!
Where was the last place you went on holiday & what did you get up to?
Just this long weekend down to Crescent Head for Ming’s bday weekend where I had a surprisingly super fun surf in stormy conditions and realized, awesome I can still surf! The crew we hung out with are rad, just really good humans full of good chat and good fun. I also had an alltime shag (with fiancé so it’s all good :P ) so all round a pretty epic mini holiday.
Last but not least….What’s next for Salt Gypsy?
World domination raarrrrr (the lady pirate in me still lives)
Girl Crush or what? Shop Salt Gypsys latest collection over on the website now or head over and follow them on insta to get your daily Surf / Ocean fix!
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