In today's world, entrepreneurship has become a popular avenue for people to pursue their passions and create meaningful change. Tasha Rui, a fashion entrepreneur from Australia, is one such individual who has followed her passion for fashion and design to build a successful brand.
Tasha Rui's designs are inspired by nature and her customers, and her commitment to sustainable fashion has garnered her a loyal following. In this interview, Tasha Rui shares her journey as an entrepreneur, her sources of inspiration, and her plans for the future of her brand. Her story is sure to inspire anyone looking to start their own company and make a difference in the world of fashion.
Tell us a bit about your journey that led you to launching your brand Tasha Rui.
As a young person, I was your classic artist. This was obvious to teachers, who wrote on my report cards that I was always sketching and coloring. My ability was nurtured by creatives on both sides of the family, instilling a passion for pursuing a career in the creative industries. My high school counselor recognised this focus and guided me to electives in visual arts, design, and art history at university. I went on to study professional graphic design, visual arts, art history, cultural development, and business studies.
My pathway into fashion evolved from my arts practice combined with an eco-awareness and a desire to create flattering swimwear for women, influenced by my Australian coastal upbringing. This has evolved into opportunities for creative experience with fashion industry support and launching a resort and swim brand, Tasha Rui.
Being sustainable and eco-friendly is at the forefront of what you do, and you work with local makers. Why was this important to you?
Tasha Rui has been built around the concept of people and planet at its centre. These values drive core business decisions and product design. I grew up in coastal areas and felt that we all have a responsibility to care for nature. Tasha Rui brings me full circle, enabling me to align my passion for creativity and environmental sustainability.
Describe the brand in 3 words?
• Creative • Eco-friendly • Feminine
We love that you are well-traveled. What is your favorite place on the planet?
Many trips to the UK, Europe, and Southeast Asia gave me the travel bug and inspired me with the diversity of colors and patterns across cultures. I really enjoyed Cinque Terre because of the coastal villages, and because it reminded me of walking along the cliffs along the Bondi Beach to Coogee walk. I have taken this walk hundreds of times in my lifetime, and I still find it to be a stunning land and seascape.
Tell us about your ideal customer?
Tasha Rui is resonating with a diverse collective of women around the globe. We have super fans in Australia, USA, and now we are finding a fan base in the UK. I have observed all of our collective has in common is that they are individuals focused on enjoying life. They want a swimsuit that performs and lets them be their best selves – whether this is for a fun day at the beach or on a resort holiday.
How do you want women to feel when they wear your designs?
Women who wear Tasha Rui are naturally joyful because they feel empowered and feminine. Our designs and prints are supporting this confidence in self. Our customers describe Tasha Rui swimwear as the kind of flattering swimsuits that can survive ‘a good dumper’ at the beach – that is a big wave in Australian lingo. Women want functional resort and swimwear that they know they look great in so that they can get on with the fun part of living and loving life.
Tell us what a typical day in your life looks like?
My day working on Tasha Rui can vary. One day I could be sketching, the next directing a photo shoot, and sometimes talking to my collective on social media. Fashion design and production are extremely systems and logistics focused and therefore consistent communication and organization behind the scenes is important. There are many steps to manage to achieve a good value proposition for customers.
Since launching the brand, what has been your proudest moment?
One of the most notable moments for Tasha Rui was showcasing at the Melbourne Fashion Festival as part of the Global Indigenous Runway. The experience was elevated by the use of a powerful Māori metal band, Alien Weaponry, who used one of their tracks as our runway song. This moment was particularly special as it allowed us to launch the brand on such a prestigious runway while also honoring the whanau, particularly my grandfather and great-grandfather.
Who and what inspires you?
At Tasha Rui, all textile designs are inspired by nature. We use still life sketches, such as a vase of flowers or a garden, to capture the essence of nature, much like Impressionism. Our resort and swimwear designs are inspired by our customers, and we listen to their feedback and adapt according to their needs. As a designer, I am inspired by on-screen fashion and female musicians who also practice art, such as Florence + the Machine, Alison Goldfrapp, and Kate Bush. I love when women are in their power and rock out.
Are there any sources you turn to for support in running your business?
I collaborate with a team of creatives and business advisors to run Tasha Rui. Additionally, I have received support from university innovation development programs, state and federal governments through creative funding and subsidised professional development, and have participated in various marketing initiatives. As fashion is a relationship-focused industry, I also spend much of my time talking to our collective on various platforms, collaborating with my team of professional creatives, muses, models, photographers, videographers, production managers, and business partners.
What are your plans for the brand in 2023?
As the UK market has shown enthusiasm for Tasha Rui, I aim to support our UK-based collective to have physical access to the brand in store. I am currently exploring opportunities to collaborate with stockists to make this happen. Tasha Rui uniquely uses rolling prints, which means that there is less textile wastage, and each customer receives a unique garment.
Did you always know that one day you would be an entrepreneur?
I did not always identify as an entrepreneur. My perspective changed when I was introduced to a female-run fashion entrepreneur development program established by Queensland University of Technology Creative Enterprise Australia and is now operated by Fashion 360.
If there’s one entrepreneurial activity you could get better at, what would it be?
As the founder and lead designer of Tasha Rui, I have become more comfortable advocating for the brand. I use my passion for what I do to motivate and inspire me to talk about Tasha Rui with others, allowing me to achieve my goals in an authentic way.
For people aspiring to run their own company, what advice would you give?
My advice is to find a topic or focus area that energizes you, as you need a deep enthusiasm for what you are doing to find the motivation to persevere. Seek help from places with experienced advisors and look for local government small business programs that offer advice. There is unlimited support available.
Where can people find out more?
Follow us on Instagram at @tasha_rui, visit our online store at tasharui.com, and we ship to many locations worldwide.