As Manchester basks in the glory of long hazy summer days and the sight of the sun glimmering off the side of the city’s glass castles, our thoughts are drawn to our client Ezili Swim, and their Managing Director Ally, who embodies the glamour, ambition and innovation that Manchester is famed for.
We caught Ally for a moment as she ducked between meetings, and asked her about what inspired her to start her own business:
‘I was modelling full time and knew that it wasn’t going to be a forever thing, so in the back of my mind there always needed to be a plan B. I knew it had to be something that I was passionate about, otherwise it would just drop off the wayside at some point.
‘When you’re behind the scenes modelling swimwear, you see a different side to the pieces. Nothing was actually made – it was all in the sample stages. I’d recently gone on a couple of holidays to places like Vegas, and I couldn’t find a bikini that I really liked; that a.) Wasn’t a billion pounds, and b.) Wasn’t neon and diamanté.
‘Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it just wasn’t my personal thing and I wanted
to see things that fit that middle ground. So I started looking into it and before I knew, a hobby had become an obsession – and then a business.’
Ally lamented on how the growth and success of her business has changed her lifestyle, noting that; ‘I used to love modelling because there was a lot of travelling involved, and a lot of meeting new people, and that was the side that I enjoyed, but now that I really have found my passion I find all of that to be an inconvenience and I just want to be at home working on this.’
When asked about what it meant to her to be a Manchester brand, Ally enthused about the vibrant culture and prosperity that is so synonymous with the city, ‘I’m not originally from Manchester, I’ve lived here for about 8 years now and I just love the cool northern vibe.
‘Though, obviously, swimwear doesn’t really fit in with Manchester related topics, because apart from one month per year it’s raining every single day. But I like being part of the young business scene because there’s just so much going on. It’s a really quirky place with people who might actually like to buy something a bit different.’
Though Ally enjoys the thrill of entrepreneurial lifestyle, she is careful to emphasise that with success comes hard decisions and difficult times. She reiterates that she had initially hoped for Ezili to be a local brand, but industry tribulations forced her to compromise in order to achieve her goals.
‘It was tricky because I wanted to keep the business local. I wanted to keep it all UK based, because I consider that to be an USP in itself. I tried so many UK manufacturers but each time the product just wasn’t right and I wasn’t fully happy with the quality of the stuff. I didn’t want to go down the whole China route so it was kind of a disappointment, but I’m now so happy with the quality, I can’t fault it.
‘I don’t seem to be getting returns so I’m confident with the quality of my products. That’s it though really; I feel that you have to be confident with the quality of your products, otherwise what’s the point?’
Like Ally, One Agency knows that confidence in your product combined with confidence in your brand leads to great things. Once you have these two factors down, the rest will follow.
Head over to www.eziliswim.com to check out some of Ally’s gems.