It has occurred to me that I can’t simply just tell you to live your dreams. It isn’t enough to try to do it myself, then beg you to do the same. I need to show you. Give you examples. Provide you with other resources, advice, words from people who are following their passion and making a difference. I’ve decided to round up some inspirational characters, the ones I’ve come across in my travels, and sit them down for a chat, find out what makes them tick and how they succeed. It all started with one modern day dream weaver, a Salt Gypsy.
Part One: The Beginning of a Brand
I recently had the pleasure of having a serendipitous meeting with someone who I’ve admired from afar on the internet for a few years now, following her website updates, travels and social media presence.
A former Maldives surf guide and forever surf inspiration, Danielle is the Kiwi behind Salt Gypsy. It all began with her desire to reach out and create a platform for the everyday surf chick. The mainstream media did not support the authentic surf lifestyle of real women. She sought to provide an alternative.
Danielle sits down for some tea in Bali and discusses the beginnings of Salt Gypsy, life outside of the norm, following your dreams, surf lifestyle, and her signature “style in the lineup.” This is part one of a three-part series. There is that much inspiration in one human.
So let’s begin with the beginning: what is Salt Gypsy?
“In 2012, I was going into my third season as a surf guide the Maldives, living on a boat with all men and I needed a creative outlet. I needed something to stimulate me outside of surfing. I had done a lot of research and lots of surfing in the tropics. I was really interested in what stays on in the water and covering up from the sun. Other chicks were putting out really good products that the mainstream brands weren’t doing. There were a whole lot of women who didn’t subscribe to the mainstream image and they were creating some incredible things.
So, I said fuck it. I’m going to start this blog, Salt Gypsy. I found a ton of indie designers like Tallow, Muther of All Things, and SEEA. I bought what I could while still living on surf guide wages. I started the website as a way to showcase indie surfwear, in the water. Thats the kind of marketing imagery I wanted to see, everyday women surfing really well, wearing cool gear, looking stylish in and out of the water. Not being billboards for major brands. ”
So you basically made yourself into an indie surfwear product tester?
“Yep, totally. My partner and I, part of our job, is to shoot photos in the water, from land and the boat. We were in amazing conditions, most of the time. I’ve already been getting tons of photographs in all sorts of bikinis, rashguards and boardshorts, but I decided I needed to ditch it all. Everyday I want to cover up, I want sun protection, but not look like a “nanna” or RipCurl team rider. I’m none of these things. I am me and I want my style to translate in the water because that is where my daily life is.
It’s incredibly important to maximize opportunities when they come around. I utilized being in the Maldives.”
You are no longer just a blogger and surfer though, tell us what happened…
“I spent a few years narrowing my concept, Style in the Lineup, trying to curate the cool shit for girls who surf. As a byproduct of the blog, I was looking for leads, new things. I was going into another season in the tropics with a permanent bum tan, which is just not healthy.
I made some leggings for surfing for myself. A few months into it, a boatload of girls came to the Maldives, which was awesome, you hardly ever see chicks surfing over there. The vibe in the water is just different with women in the lineup. We were all pumped. A few of the ladies burned their legs in the first days and borrowed my leggings. The feedback from the group was enormous: if I had stock, I would’ve sold out. It planted the seed. ”
The Surfwear Shift
You can see the rippling effect of Danielle’s first product, the original surf leggings. Do a google search, you will find that many small designers are making their own surf leggings, and now even the big brands are starting to follow suit. Itsy-bitsy bikinis are still making their rounds, but surf leggings are making a dent in the skin show.
You’ll maybe notice a nod to Salt Gyspy’s signature branding and concept in one of those larger brands. Whether you believe in Intellectual Property rights or not, be sure to support your small, authentic surfwear designers when making decisions on where to spend your money.
From a creative platform blog to a Bespoke designer, Danielle has changed the look in the lineup. She accommodates the real woman, personifies passionate living and curates the cool shit for chicks who don’t identify with the mainstream. Salt Gypsy is for any female who finds themselves looking for alternative and stylish surf and water wear, adventure on the open sea, and paddling out with style.
To find out more about Salt Gypsy and how she ended up in the Tropics, stay tuned for Part 2: Landing the Dream Job.
“Keep doing what you love. It all works out. Follow your passion, do the things that make you really excited and happy and follow that. It will always work out. There will be challenging times but it is never rewarding if it’s too easy.
If it is too easy, then you will be waiting for more and then everyone will be doing it.”