Key learnings from a sustainability diehard:
- Broaden how you view success to celebrate some of the more meaningful wins
- Sticking to your core beliefs pays off – even if you need to pivot. Your customers will recognise and appreciate it
- You are your business – Take care of yourself and the health of your business will follow
10 MIN READ
MYOB Community: Camp Cove Swim buoyed by easy invoicing
A swimwear brand that began with a clear vision: comfortable, sustainable, and Australian-made swimsuits for every body type out there.
This philosophy kickstarted Katherine Hampton’s business in 2013 and remains the driving force behind Camp Cove Swim to this day.
“I love being able to make people feel good about themselves. Just getting them out there and enjoying the beach,” she says.
“I'm proud that we've been able to influence the way people perceive their bodies and swimwear as a whole.”
"If you feel strongly enough about it and you’ve been thinking about it for a while, I think it’s worth giving it a crack."
Swimwear label begins with passion
It’s a familiar, but nonetheless uplifting, story: Camp Cove Swim began with a gap in the market and a passion.
While her love of the beach was assured, Katherine couldn’t find swimwear that best represented her needs as a customer.
“There wasn’t anything I wanted to wear from any other brands. So, I thought: why not make them myself?”
Without the setup in place to follow-through in the way she wanted, Katherine instead looked to her support network for help.
“My mum sewed the very first collection,” she says. “We wouldn’t have been able to make it without her.”
After finding her feet, Katherine found it hard to tell if her new venture was a success. Fittingly, she stumbled upon proof at the beach.
“The first time I saw someone I didn’t know wearing one of my swimsuits, I knew that the brand went beyond my friendship groups and my family.
“If people I don’t know are buying, it’s a sign we’re onto something.”
"People don’t just like Camp Cove Swim for the swimsuits. It’s our beliefs that sustain it as well."
How online accounting adds value to her growing business
When it comes to accounting software features, Katherine’s quick to tell her favourite: the ability to send invoices on-the-go.
“MYOB definitely makes chasing invoices easier. It helps us keep track of what’s come in, what people have paid for, what they haven’t, and the deadlines for those invoices.
“It helps us keep on top of where we’re at so we can make smarter decisions. Without that perspective, you can jump ahead and not know when to pull back.”
Features like invoicing are cherished for the simple reason that even the most experienced business owner needs a hand every now and then. Working out financials can be especially tough, so for Katherine, accounting software acts like a bit of a life preserver.
“Before MYOB, it was all done by hand,” she says. “I don’t really know how I did it before to be honest.”
Business owners can get started with MYOB’s invoice template without having to pay a cent but for Katherine, she was able to quickly and easily design invoices straight from her accounting software.
“As a business owner without a lot of experience with finance or tax, it just helps us streamline everything”
Katherine’s found that even small amounts of time saved with MYOB can go a long way in the end.
“It helps us gain a few hours back every week or so,” she says.
“The time we get back we put into being creative and working on our design work.”
And it’s not just the daily challenges of managing a business that MYOB helped with either. For Katherine, being prepared for JobKeeper made all the difference.
“With JobKeeper last year, they made it so easy for us,” Katherine says. “It was a very complicated process in terms of applying and understanding the rules.
“There was an email waiting telling us, ‘Just click here and your JobKeeper’s set up. Then this is exactly what you need to do.’
“It just was one less thing to stress about at quite a stressful time.”
"MYOB definitely makes chasing invoices easier. It helps us keep track of what’s come in, what people have paid for, what they haven’t, and the deadlines for those invoices."
Staying nimble in the face of change
Businesses regularly face unique challenges, but COVID has been a universal sore point – and Camp Cove Swim is no exception.
“As soon as the borders closed, we wondered: ‘who’s going to buy a swimsuit in the middle of winter when they’re not going on holidays?’”
Rather than hope for the best in an uncertain market, Katherine floated something completely new.
“We looked in our cupboard and found some old fabrics. So, we decided to make some active wear.
“It ended up being a really successful move for us during that time.”
Her success relied on her sticking to her guns when it came to sustainability and body-positivity – even though the circumstances made it difficult.
“It reminded us that people don’t just like Camp Cove Swim for the swimsuits. It’s our beliefs that sustain it as well.”
Important business lessons learned
Staying afloat may have been tough, but surviving in the deep end provided Katherine clarity and a wealth of business knowledge.
Her simple advice for anyone excited about a business idea?
“If you feel strongly enough about it and you’ve been thinking about it for a while, I think it’s worth giving it a crack.”
It’s not just the drive that Katherine relies on, though. She believes pushing yourself too hard in the name of success can have unexpected downsides.
“I’d say the one biggest lesson is that you need to take care of yourself to have a business that’s profitable and successful,” she says.
“Your business is a reflection of you, so you have to look after your mental and physical health to be a successful business.”
Katherine suggests that instead of reaching for unrealistic goals, business owners should re-evaluate how they see success. The bottom line will always be important, but she recommends finding other goals to strive for as well.
For Katherine, this means knowing her products resonate with her target market.
“Seeing someone wear my swimsuit, that for me is success,” she says.
“Someone that I don’t know just out in the world wearing my product, using it how it was intended? It’s like a little tick of approval.”
Time spent building Camp Cove Swim has also armed Katherine with an impressive amount of digital marketing knowledge.
“Social media is so important. You have to make sure that everything looks sleek,” she says.
“The thing with working online is that it’s all how you present yourself. So, just making sure that your web store functions properly and looks great is a great first step.”
For those keen to follow her footsteps into the world of clothing, Katherine wants to reiterate a point she’s always felt strongly about.
“Sustainability and being ethical is really important. I think that consumers are really demanding that and expecting that.
“If you’re going to come into this industry in 2021, that’s really the avenue that you need to be taking your business through.”
"Your business is a reflection of you, so you have to look after your mental and physical health to be a successful business."
Appreciate your brand from every angle possible
Sales are often a metric of success – and Camp Cove Swim has done admirably on this front – but Camp Cove Swim’s empowering message being embraced has been even more important for Katherine.
“My most rewarding moment so far was the day someone told me that they’d never worn a bikini before and their first one was a Camp Cove Swim swimsuit.”
For Katherine, it’s a clear sign that Camp Cove Swim has found its intended audience.
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