Kate Scott has had a longtime love for diving, it’s shaped her travels around the world and given her endless adventures as she’s searched out the best dive sites. She has been lucky enough to visit some truly incredible spots and it was during a dive trip to the Maldives that To Dive For first came to life, a brand that she founded.
Here, Kate takes some time away from the water to chat to us at House of Coco about her plans for the future and so much more…
Tell us a bit about To Dive For and your journey to getting where you are today?
We’d spend all day out on the dive boat or exploring the island reefs in 30°c heat – in the water! I felt there wasn’t a brand out there that offered lightweight, sun-protective dive-wear that I could wear in the warmer waters, whilst still looking stylish on the beach and boat.
This is what ToDiveFor is about – fully-functional swim and dive apparel that is also bold and beautiful. Each new dive I’m in awe of the immense diversity of marine life and the endless displays of form, pattern and pigment. This is my inspiration and I try to mirror this in the textures, colours and prints in our collections, reflecting back the reef and conjuring up thoughts of the ocean, wherever I may be in the water.
What has been your highlight since launching the brand?
Creating ToDiveFor has been a real adventure from the beginning and I have some incredible memories of some of the places we’ve travelled to for shoots as well as the people that we’ve met on dive trips and events.
One of biggest highlights recently was being approached by Suunto Dive to feature the Coral Collection from Season II in the launch of their Suunto D4i Novo. I’ve been using Suunto since I started diving and it’s a brand that I trust as well as enjoy using, so it was a great feeling to receive their recognition and support.
To Dive For was inspired by your travels, where is your favourite place on the planet and why?
The Maldives will always be a really special place for me. It was my first experience of some of the most amazing underwater encounters – Manta Rays, white tip reef sharks, Lionfish. It was diving here that formed my dream to create ToDiveFor and it’s been my main source of inspiration ever since.
It’s also an incredible holiday destination! We stay at the Banyan Tree – Vabbinfaru, a small island only 30 minutes from Male. The boat dives are spectacular and for those that prefer to snorkel – the house reef is teeming and you could spend hours exploring. The Banyan Tree team are pretty special too and always make our stay memorable – it’s turning into a bit of a home from home!
Describe the brand in 3 words?
To Dive For (does that count?!)
Tell us about your ideal customer?
The great thing about diving, snorkeling and enjoying the oceans is that anyone can do it, regardless of age, fitness or experience. I’ve shared trips and dive boats with so many differing people and I like to think ToDiveFor is relevant to all of them. Whether it’s the Dive collections that offer coverage and protection or the Swim editions for the beach and pool, I look to design each season with a range of classic shapes and block colours to the more adventurous cuts and bright prints. Spending time on islands and coasts, I’m really conscious of the impact fashion can have on the world and I think more and more customers are requesting this of their favourite brands. I’m one of these and since we started ToDiveFor we’ve manufactured all our pieces in Britain using materials and processes to create a quality that lasts.
Tell us what a typical day in your life looks like?
The only typical point of my day is my morning coffee – everything else changes! I live in London and most of my time at home will be spent managing production, sales and brand connections – we have a lot of adventurous friends on Twitter and Instagram! I’ll travel between the office, our production sites in the UK, and to various meetings, but I’m often found working from the kitchen table or a coffee shop – like a lot of people running their own business, the office comes with me everywhere!
There are some special times when we travel for a photo shoot, like Season I which was shot in the Bahamas – it was frantic but a lot of fun! And once a year I travel with family or a few close friends to soak up some new inspiration, try out some new ideas and take time to design for the next collection – this is the highlight for me and keeps everything else rolling.
Who/what inspires you?
I’m inspired by a lot of female British designers – Tamara Mellon (founder of Jimmy Choo), Victoria Beckham, – they’ve all come from different backgrounds and experiences but have worked tirelessly to bring to life their own vision and style. I didn’t take a traditional route into design and manufacturing and I’ve needed to learn and build on every element of the business in creating ToDiveFor. It’s challenging and hard work at times, so looking to successful women in the industry that have overcome their own obstacles is a strong motivation for me and I hope to support the next generation of designers and creators too through collaborations and practical interning opportunities.
Are there any sources you go to for support with running your business?
Having a good support web is essential. Starting your own business can be challenging and lonely at times, especially early-on. My family and friends are my go-to to reset, re-assess and recharge. I’ve also learnt not to be afraid to ask or challenge colleagues and collaborators when working in new areas, open dialogue and feedback is key to moving in the right direction.
What are your plans for the brand in 2016?
2016 has already been an exciting year for us, starting with our name change from Meyli Miaru to ToDiveFor. ToDiveFor has been our #Hashtag since the beginning and encapsulates the brand spirit – fully-functional swim and dive apparel that is also bold and beautiful. It’s the name that everyone recognizes now so we were happy to bring it to the forefront and uncover our dive roots!
We’ve also just launched the new website format [https://www.todivefor.com] and Collection III with our new Palm Tree, Coral and Parrot Fish prints. It’s been so exciting to see the evolution of ToDiveFor this year and I’m eager to get into the designs for the new collection and the beginnings of our menswear collection too!
Did you always know that one day you would be a #Girlboss?
I’ve always had a drive to explore and do things my own way, so it doesn’t surprise me that I’ve taken the career route I have. Everyone’s strengths and experiences are different, but for me I learn best by getting involved and challenging myself creatively, even if that means making and owning my mistakes along the way. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity and support to create ToDiveFor and I think it’s important that as an industry we keep building mechanisms to support the creators and designers of the next generations.
If there’s one #Girlboss activity you could get better at, what would it be?
Running your own company can be challenging and chaotic as there’s a lot of unknowns to grapple with. Rather than wishing to be more organized or have more control, I’m now learning to accept these elements as they are and trust my own intuition in how to develop the business further.
For people aspiring to run their own company, what advice would you give?
Starting your own business takes courage and grit, but unless you paddle for the wave, you’ll never know if you could catch it – be brave and live your dream, whatever that might be.