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International Women’s Day in March of 2018 was bigger than ever and the hashtag progress for change went viral. Launching a swimwear label, MARA swim in 2017, Australian sisters Naomi Collings and Kirsty Parnell are two inspiring women embracing the #progressforchange in more ways than one.

MARA swim has taken Australia and the world by storm with their luxurious sun safe swimwear collection incorporating bold prints, unique designs and rich protective fabrics to make women feel comfortable, protected, confident and fashionable.  

These two women in the short time of launching have seen interest from international markets including the US West Coast, French Polynesia and Europe, have stock constantly selling out online and are currently working on the new summer collection to be released this year – doing this all while being busy dedicated mums, juggling small children and building a successful label.

“Since we launched in March 2017 we are now experiencing a whole new market. There are now MARA swim owners all over the world. We are proud to help women everywhere protect their skin with our swimwear. With these new markets comes new opportunities for us and we have now been invited to L.A Fashion Week, we are getting interest from the US Paddleboarding market and stockists requests are coming in from east coast of the U.S. Our swimwear range is Australian made, meaning our quality is produced ethically, which meets the standards of all international markets,” said Naomi.

“What this means for the future is growth for the brand and the sun protection message, not just in Australia. International recognition means women everywhere are joining us to protect their skin and work towards ending skin cancer. Every woman should have a sun protective swimwear piece in their wardrobe, and choices have never been better now that MARA swim Australia is delivering style to the typically boring market” said Kristy.

But it doesn’t stop there for MARA swim. Since the launch, they have also started some incredible partnerships. Pro surfer Sally Fitzgibbons has been spotted representing the brand during the world surf league championship tour as a fan and lover of the swimwear. However, it is the partnership with Melanoma Institute Australia formed this year that means the most to these two sisters as Naomi was diagnosed with Melanoma in 2014, sparking the inspiration for this label.

“As a business, we want to do all we can to create more awareness for Melanoma and the Melanoma Institute of Australia. It is an organisation that has a very special place in our heart. Sun protection messages is at the genuine base of everything we do, it definitely helps drive us each day when we get to create beautiful swimwear while at the same time sending our message. Our customers are now joining the MARA swim movement bringing beautiful sun protection into their lives and making the health of their skin a priority. Most important to us is that women get it, our MARA swim customers either already understand the importance of sun protection or our unique designs merging high fashion with sun protection has brought Melanoma into the spotlight for them,” said Naomi.

The partnership with Melanoma Institute Australia holds great importance with these two business owners and sisters as it means being able to contribute to vital research for Melanoma, which will continue to help save lives. “Our partnership with Melanoma Institute Australia builds confidence in our brand and gives us the ability to give back to a great organisation, with $1 from every purchase of any MARA swim product going to the institute. With this partnership also gives us updates on latest melanoma research, advancements and access to expert advice, as well as opportunities to participate in corporate events, and fundraisers for the charity,” said Kristy.

Kristy added, “AusMumpreneur is a movement aiming to recognise Mum’s in business and we love it, so when we were nominated for the 2018 AusMumpreneur awards we were so thrilled. There are so many amazing women balancing motherhood and business in Australia and even around the world, so we are honoured. It is so empowering being a mother, a woman and a businesswoman and being nominated for this award is great motivation to keep moving forward towards our goals and success.”

“Juggling motherhood and a business can sometimes feel as though there is not enough time in the day, but this has helped build an ability to maximise every minute and see priorities much clearer than we did before. Living in two very different worlds existing at the same time might be difficult to understand, and it sounds impossible, but it can be done. It took time to get used to but now we live it every day. Mothers are some of the toughest people on this planet,” said Naomi.

MARA swim debuted the first collection “Au” in 2017, which has since been featured on runways at the Virgin Australia Fashion Festival Melbourne, the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane and Brisbane Fashion Month, which they have been invited back to all three to feature in for the second year.

“Currently we handle sales exclusively through our web store, but we are now so excited to be at a stage where retailers want access to MARA swim for their stores, which is fantastic for us as not only business women but advocates for sun protection awareness. We are excited at the opportunity to extend MARA swims reach giving more women access to our beautiful sun protection range. Now to be invited back for a second time at the Brisbane Fashion Week, the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival in Brisbane and the Virgin Australia Fashion Festival Melbourne is an exciting time for the label and reassures us that our product is having an impact on the market, and we cannot wait to showcase the new collection later this year as well as develop industry connections. Last year we were absolutely pinching ourselves to be given such an amazing opportunity,” said Kristy.

As a brand, MARA swim entices all to change their perspective on the importance of sun protection – not just women. By creating a luxurious and unique range of long sleeve one-pieces, swim tops and swim pants, they are providing not only beautiful swimwear but also a lifesaving gift – which is the label’s greatest achievement.

See more at Instagram and Facebook @maraswimau.


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