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MEET THE DESIGNER: KAI

4 min read


KAI HOLMES



Last summer, Kai Holmes and her long-time friend Daniella Ciano had a casual conversation at the beach about kids bathers. From that conversation, their joint label Kaisea Swimwear was born.

This dynamic duo wanted to evoke the "aloha" spirit in their designs, and the result is the most stunning collection of tropical swimwear for young girls.

Boasting gorgeous prints combined with the Co-Founder's expertise in design, marketing and sales, this label was bound to be a big player in the fashion market.

We had a chat with Kai to learn the story of how Kaisea came flooding onto the beach and into our hearts.



Thanks for your time today Kai! Tell us about your background and career leading up to now.
I haven’t really had any formal training; I finished Grade 12 and went straight into work life. My husband and I bought into his family business “Dolphin Surf Craft" in 2003 which we are still running today. I worked as an account manager at Billabong for 7 years.

That must've been such great experience and insight before getting into the swimwear design world yourself. How exactly was Kaisea born?
Kaisea was born in the summer of 2016/17 on Fingal Beach in North New South Wales. Daniella (my business partner) and I were chatting on the beach while the kids played, and I mentioned there was a gap in the market for children's swimwear.

Can you tell us about your partner, Daniella Ciano?
Daniella and I met working at Billabong, and she has been in the swimwear industry for over 20 years. I
am so grateful to have her as my business partner. Her talent, wealth of knowledge and experience is the foundation for the quality and design of our garments.


SHOP KAISEA SWIM


Was it always your desire to create your own label?
Yes, over the years Daniella and I always spoke about starting something together. We knew that we would work so well as a team, as we share the same work ethic, love for fashion and the beach lifestyle!r

It seems like your children were the inspiration behind Kaisea - can you tell us more about your family?
I have three children, twin 6-year-old girls Navah and Eden, a 2 year old boy Knox, and a labrador puppy Inca.
My husband and I were married in 2005 and we
had a long fertility battle starting our family. We did 8 rounds of IVF, one miscarriage and then finally a miracle natural conception with our boy. It was an
emotional road and we are so grateful for the little family we have created.

That sounds like such a difficult journey Kai, we are so glad you're all happy and healthy!

Do you have any tips for balancing family and a business?
Balancing family and business is tough, having your own business means you are always working, (especially in this social media era) and there isn’t a clock off time. My husband and I are running two businesses between us, so its hard to juggle the
work life balance.
We eat together at the dinner table every night and we talk about the best and worst parts of our days. This is really important for us as a family, as life is so busy and it’s our time as a family to connect. We have always put our kids to bed at 6:30pm (this is why they are up at 5am!) It is so good for my husband
and I to have time alone without the kids. We usually spend half an hour on our phone catching up on emails and social media, and then we watch Netflix or some trashy reality TV show.


What are your sources of inspiration?
Daniella is the creative brain behind our brand; she is always travelling the world and has an eye for detail. Each season we collate prints/images we love and we work from there. We take inspiration from the beach lifestyle; we love all things Hawaiian and palm trees!

What challenges have you experienced in owning your own business?
We had a few teething problems initially with the manufacturing process, so this is why we made the decision to manufacture in Australia. It is also challenging with a small business as there really is no down time,;we are posting our social media pics, returning emails etc between bath and bed routines. Daniella and I are constantly in contact at night time, she works full time as the Brand Manager for Rhythm Swimwear. We are just lucky that we both share the same passion and drive to succeed.

How do you spend your time when you are not working?
When I am not working I love to spend time with my family, we spend every weekend at the beach. I love to keep fit, I try and do yoga at least 3 times a week and I do a spin class at the gym twice a week. Going to the movies is my favourite thing to do, and I often go on my own! It’s two hours to escape from everything, eat
popcorn and drink postmix coke!

Now time for some of your Favourite Things! Favourite restaurant on the Gold Coast?
There are so many!! I love Sticky Rice at Tugun, Thai I am at Miami, Wazen Japanese in Tallebudgera.

Best activity to do with kids on the Gold Coast?
The BEACH! It’s free, we have some of the best beaches in the world on the Gold Coast.

Favourite holiday destination?
As a family we love going away in the caravan to Cotton Tree on the Sunshine Coast. Skiing in Nozawa Japan, Tavarua Fiji, Lord Howe Island, and Hawaii are some of our favourite destinations.

What words do you live by?
It all works out in the end.

~

If you'd like to be featured on Tiny People, drop us a line at social@tinypeople.com.au
We'd love to hear from you!



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