Thank you for following along on our journey thus far. We're beyond thankful to be here at year number three (we can't quite believe it!). A lot has happened since we began Winki in April 2019. As two humble 20-year-olds with not a care in the world, we really had no idea what would precede our chat on the ferry one afternoon, where we were discussing our need to find a cute surf-suit that was wedgie-free. What followed was a whirl-wind of ups and downs, tears, laughter, disagreements, joys, stepping out of our comfort zones and being stretched in every sense of the word.
We've learnt that owning a business means being pushed to constantly improve and innovate in order to grow a brand that can really make a difference and one that we really believe in.
We know our Instagram page is pretty good at telling you that life is hunky dory with smiles, lots of surfing and a community of amazing women (and don't get us wrong, it definitely is). But it's also been a year that has bought us many challenges, the main issue obviously being COVID-19. Covid has meant that we've faced ongoing supply chain issues, we've been unable to keep up with wholesale demands, we've been knocked around by lockdowns here in Sydney (which has meant our lovely Sydney manufacturer, Kim, has been unable to sew our suits) and we haven't been able to do events, pop-ups or shoots very easily. Other issues have included the growing pains of a small business; managing cash-flow issues, trying to find a warehouse (we're not quite there yet, cue Kip's garage), hiring our first employee and still occasionally fumbling through the process of designing new styles, spec sheets, measurements and creating the ideal wedgie-free, surf-suit.
Throughout the past twelve months, with one of us being overseas and the other having a new baby, we've realised the importance of building strong foundations for the business. Be that in our relationships, processes, communication, establishing our key values and continually bringing to the forefront why we're really running this business in the first place (which, apart from making beautiful suits and to establish a female-led surfing community, is to support the women at The Blessed Project).
In a book in the bible called Matthew, Jesus talks about a wise man building his house on the rock. When the storms come and the rain falls down, the streams rise and the wind blows, the wise mans house withstands because its foundation is built on the rock. That rock for us is our faith in God and this underpins all our core values and how we run Winki Suits. Often, it would be easy to settle for the easier options where we'd make more profit, have zero environmental impact and not be honest or transparent with our community. But this year more than ever, our faith has underpinned our decisions and steered our direction as a three-year-old brand. We've taken a step or two back to re-evaluate major (and not so major) decisions before we dive head-first into starting things (something, perhaps, we were guilty of in the past). We've realised the importance of valuing people over product, the importance of going slow to go fast and the importance of communicating and working on long-term relationships in order to leave a long-lasting impact on our world and the people in it.
Now we're slightly older and wiser (being three years into this journey ha ha), perhaps we're truly realising the difference we can make and how important running a business with strong foundations really is.
So, what's next for Winki in 2022 and beyond?
Well, we're working our butts off! We are sticking to a strict schedule, which will hopefully mean you'll see some new products, new prints and styles and more regularly throughout the year! We're always working to improve our suits so things like an increased size range, bust support, better cuts, more suit-features and taking your feedback on board from the Instagram Q&A's has been really integral to our direction this year.
Quality is always so important to us and sourcing the highest quality organic fabric for our tee's and sweatshirts is something we're working on at the moment, as well as spending more time with The Blessed Project to see how we can support them by providing them with more work.
We're really growing as a community which is awesome and we'll hopefully be organising more pop-ups, meet-ups and growing our network around the globe; which includes meeting some amazing surfers, wholesalers and business women (stay tuned for more Friends of Winki episodes).
All in all, to end this off, we're so beyond thankful for our amazing Winki community. Everyone who purchases, supplies to us, sends us lovely feedback and is involved in any way has a huge part to play. We wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for any of you! What a gift.
We're excited for the future and we hope you are too!
Please enjoy some highlight pics from the past twelve months!
Love Becky and Kip x