Designer and entrepreneur Edna Swart stars in the new TVNZ show BossBabes. Image supplied.
TVNZ’s new show BossBabes launches today on TVNZ OnDemand and designer Edna Swart from ed&i is one of its two leading ladies. Edna launched her own swimwear label ed&i in 2016 and recently launched a suncare line as well, with the show focusing on her and her friend Iyia Liu’s entrepreneurial efforts and leveraging social media marketing to grow their brands. BossBabes is a fascinating and at times hilarious look into what it takes to run your own business as a young woman in the Instagram era.
We caught up with Edna to find out more about the show, where she gets her inspiration from and her tips for those who want to start their own businesses.
How did BossBabes come about and what made you decide to do the show?
BossBabes came about through my girlfriend Iyia. Warner Brothers reached out to her and asked to meet with her and I. They had been following us through our social media and saw a correlation between the two of us both running our businesses while also having fun doing it. Their vision was to create a show following young entrepreneurial women who ran their businesses through social media marketing and the work that goes on in doing so.
I wasn’t immediately keen to share my life and it took some convincing from the network and discussions with friends and family before I said yes. It’s not every day an opportunity presents itself like this, and I trusted that the show was going to give a positive look inside the running of a small business in the hope to inspire other women to also take that leap and follow their ambitions.
What does being a BossBabe mean to you?
Being in charge of your life and your business, enjoying the journey by appreciating the highs and lows that come with it all the while also surrounding yourself with likeminded inspirational people who can support you.
How would you describe your BossBabes experience in five words?
Motivational, Challenging, Insightful, Enjoyable, Encouraging.
Edna (right) in a meeting at her ed&i office.
Is there anything you would do differently if you could do the show again?
No – I was authentically me throughout filming so I hope viewers can appreciate that. The reality is, each episode is only 26 minutes yet we filmed for hours, so viewers only really see a tiny window in to our day to day lives.
What was your favourite moment from the filming of the show?
Doing the in studio interviews – It was really fun doing the supportive content and being asked the questions about the scenes we filmed. I learnt a lot about Iyia, her business but also myself. It almost felt like little therapy sessions but with a lot more laughs.
Can you tell us a bit about your businesses and why you created them?
In 2016 I set out to create a swimwear line that in my eyes epitomised the perfect ‘swimwear designs’ – simple, clean, style. The vision is having these pieces as a staple in every women’s wardrobe as their ‘go to’ reliable, supportive and quality swimwear. This was something that I believed was missing in the New Zealand market.
Three years on I felt that the market was also missing a sun care system that prepared, protected preserved and loved your skin all over your body, just like the skin care routines we already had for our faces. Born from the love of all things sun and summer, ed&i body has its New Zealand origins in the very essence of what all women can aspire too: Simple, elegant and confident – this helps women feel bold, stylish and radiant. ed&i body is a transformative body care system that gives every woman body confidence. ed&i is being comfortable and confident within your own skin.
What is your advice for anyone who wants to be a business owner themselves?
Give it a go, be persistent, surround yourself with support and mentorship, listen to your customers, and don’t be scared of failure.
Edna enjoying the sunshine in ed&i swimwear.
How does social media help you grow your brands and what are your tips for growing a loyal following?
We live in a world of content-based consumerism. Social media allows us to share directly with our customers a lifestyle when using our products. Social media also provides a platform for our customers to reach us directly giving us insights and feedback into what our products are delivering. A critical key in any business is to continually improve and share successes. An example of this happened very recently in the first month of launching ed&i body. We received multiple messages with images from our customers showing us how our product had helped clear up inflammation and eczema on the skin. Our natural based formulation and the properties we used to hydrate and soothe the skin was helping our customers beyond our expectations. Social media gave our customers that platform for us to share this, but they also shared this with their followers, causing a chain event. However, it is important to note that the same can happen with negative feedback and comments too.
It’s taken me a long time to understand the key to growing a loyal following and I’m still learning every day. With the business I try to share an authentic feel of who the brand is and the lifestyle that goes with it. I also share customers who wear our products, I collaborate and do photo shoots with my customers who then share on their feeds, I bring out new products to stay relevant and exciting and I reach out to my followers and ask for feedback in what we are doing or should do next. It takes time, and those who align with you and your brand will stay loyal and share your story.
Which people and accounts do you recommend people follow on Instagram for fashion and business inspiration?
@Marateigan – fashion and beauty inspiration
@Mao.ge – fashion inspiration
@Jacquemus – inspirational fashion and businesses label
@Jcseelenmeyer – business and creative inspiration for ed&i
@cameron_hammond – business and creative inspiration for ed&i
What makes you excited about the future?
The possibility and excitement of what is to come. I took a risk leaving a comfortable corporate role to jump full time into my business, because I strongly believe in the products and the brand. I am looking forward to continuing to build a brand that people love, continuing to positively impact my customers through my products and inspiring other young women to also start their own businesses.
I’m very excited for what’s to come. I have a few exciting things planned in the next 6 months and it’s a fantastic feeling being able to share this with my loyal following and customers.