THRIVHER INTERVIEW: Rachael Marelle

Updated: May 21, 2018


Thrivher Achievements:

Founder and business owner of Marvell Lane - Designer swimwear for larger busts (sizes 8DD - 16H)


Thrivher Dive

  • Can’t start the day without: An enormous cup of tea in bed (made by my husband).

  • Best read for growth: Mia Freedman's 'Work, Strife, Balance'. She was raw, self-deprecating and honest.

  • Non-negotiable: My daily lighthouse walk/run. It's a whole hour of me time, a damn hard work out and utterly beautiful.

  • Top music track of all time: If I had to say one: "I'm Alive" - Celine Dion (even though she's not "cool")

  • Mindful habits: I can't lie and pretend I am any good at this.

  • I’m most afraid of: Another family member dying. I couldn't lose another one.

  • Go-to for fun: A beer (or 3) at a great “locals” pub on a Friday. Throw in my husband and a couple of our friends and it's always a fun night involving a dance or two!




THRIVHER MOVES:


What did you first choose to focus your studies on?

I took a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Creative Arts at University but I didn’t finish the latter. I didn’t enjoy the course and felt there was no real structure to it.


When I was deciding what to do at University I was strongly encouraged to do Law (only because I got the marks for it) and that’s why I went down that path, which is not really a great reason to choose a career to focus on. I had terrible guidance (or more a lack of guidance). I would definitely advocate for rigorous personality testing and proper career guidance before embarking upon University.


I’m a fairly extroverted person who likes a lot of interaction and having fun - Law is basically the opposite of that! Despite those feelings I finished University with a Bachelor of Law and my career began.



I would definitely advocate for rigorous personality testing and proper career guidance before embarking upon University.



How long did you practice Law before you felt compelled to make a change?

Seven and a half years in total – both during my studies and afterwards (combination of paralegal and lawyer work). I became very miserable and really felt like something was missing. It’s only now that I’m finally doing something creative that I feel fulfilled.


I should have known in the beginning that it wasn’t for me, but when you’re young and are being told it’s what you should be doing, it’s hard and you just keep going.


I should have known in the beginning that it wasn’t for me, but when you’re young and are being told it’s what you should be doing, it’s hard and you just keep going.



HOW DID YOU DEcIDE ON YOUR NEXT CAREER?

When I decided to give up Law, I was trying to look for my next career. I went to see a great advisor where I finally realised I needed professional guidance! I love property and interiors, so was suggested Real Estate Sales, which I began doing.


I went to see a great advisor where I finally realised I needed professional guidance!

I had to leave Sydney and return home for a while due to family issues and I realised something was still missing. I had always wanted to be financially secure and independent, which is why I had been drawn to jobs that could provide that for me, but I realised I wasn’t enjoying the fast paced, big city lifestyle. So, two years ago, my husband and I decided to make the move to Byron - it was there the idea for a swimwear line came to light.




WHAT SPARKED THE idea for a swimwear label?

My sisters and I would always joke about designing lingerie or swimwear that would work (and actually look beautiful) for big boobs. It wasn’t until I was going to the beach twice a day, everyday that I started thinking, “There’s actually nothing I would wear on the market.”

I once found myself on my hands and knees in Myer department store going through the swimwear racks, in search of a swim top that would fit my bust size. The selection they have doesn’t look pretty on racks, so they try and hide it. Once I found the only size that could fit me out of all their products, I took it and begrudgingly paid a $100 for the top. I hated it.


I once found myself on my hands and knees in Myer department store going through the swimwear racks, in search of a swim top that would fit my bust size.

That was it - I had found a gap in the market. I wanted to create good fitting, sleek, beautiful swimwear, with no extra padding yet super strong for large busts. I felt so passionate about it, I decided to go for it and launch my own niche swimwear label.






What practical steps did you take to get up and running?

Aside from ‘Googling’ how to launch a swimwear label - something I’ve done the entire time (even today), I drew all my initial designs. Starting out I had real difficulty finding a manufacturer that made my size range. I then came across a great fabric I wanted to use and a representative put me in touch with a woman on the Gold Coast who consults for start-up labels. I ended up paying her to be my business consultant and she helped me with timelines and generally guided me. She also put me in touch with a pattern-maker and her colleague helped me find a manufacturer. It’s so important to find the right people to help you where you can and if you need to, it’s really worth paying for the right person.



It’s so important to find the right people to help you where you can and if you need to, it’s really worth paying for the right person.






How long did you spend getting prepared before you officially launched?

Not as long as people probably expect. I wasn’t working full-time when the idea first dawned on me so I was able to work very hard on establishing my business and things happened relatively quickly. My learning curve during that time has been incredibly steep which has probably contributed to the extra anxiety I’ve had. In saying that, I’m very lucky to have my husband and my family who have been wonderful supports to me. They are the ones who remind me to give myself a pat on the back and to celebrate the little wins along the way. That’s a skill I still need to develop!




What were your biggest fears when you first started out?

I had so many fears! Essentially I was afraid of failing. I had invested so much time, effort and money into getting the business to launch point – I was then really worried that no one would buy my products, or that nothing would fit anybody and it would all be returned. Thankfully people did buy them and the feedback was really positive.




How did you overcome those fears?

It was hard, I had severe worries and severe anxiety. My husband was a huge support to me, just being there to reassure me that everything would be okay. He’s very logical and suggested using the first year as a data gathering period, which was helpful to keep in mind. Also, daily exercise is crucial – when I’m stressed I don’t eat or sleep, I just keep running on adrenaline, so exercise and going on walks really helps get the endorphins going and clears my mind.


When I’m stressed I don’t eat or sleep, I just keep running on adrenaline, so exercise and going on walks really helps get the endorphins going and clears my mind.



What's been your “pinch me now” moment since launching 'Marvell Lane'?

One that stands out was when we were taken on by our first wholesaler for the brand. I went down to Melbourne to meet this niche specialist lingerie chain for women with large busts and showed them my designs. I was so nervous because I’d never done that before, but they liked my designs and asked me to send them some samples for their staff to test the fit. I was terrified that nothing would fit, so waiting for their response was excruciating - they’re serious fit specialists! But it was all great and they took Marvell Lane on board! It was an amazing moment.






THRIVHING AND KICKING:



Is there any advice that you wish you’d been given in your 20s?

Yes, to see a careers advisor. I’m not talking about a schools careers advisor, I mean go and see someone who does it for a living and do some serious personality testing. Really look into what it is that you like and what would best suit your personality type. Try to find a job that incorporates elements of what you love and do something you are passionate about.




how do you feel now, compared to when you were a lawyer?

So happy! I love it because I don’t answer to anyone else, even if I am the hardest boss I’ve ever had on myself. I’m getting huge satisfaction out of what I do and I think a big part of that is knowing it’s mine. I love the flexibility and freedom that comes from working for myself and although I’m probably doing a lot more work now, I’m solving my own problems, not anyone else’s.




What three personality traits have contributed to getting where you are today?

Having a slightly obsessive, perfectionist personality. I’m a very relaxed person, but when it comes to work, I like to make sure things are done well and on time. I have a good work ethic and I’m not afraid of hard work. Finally, I would say, perseverance. You’ve just got to keep going! I think people look at the glossy side of the business and assume it’s all wonderful. But the reality is a lot of hard work. My biggest advice for people who want to get into running their own business is to know your personality type and don’t do anything you’re not willing to work hard for.


My biggest advice for people who want to get into running their own business is to know your personality type and don’t do anything you’re not willing to work hard for.



For women who desire much more from their careers but haven’t made any killer moves yet, what would be your advice?

I think it’s really important first of all to define what “more” means to you. It’s about working out what’s important to you and then thinking about what changes you could make to achieve a more fulfilling life.


It’s about working out what’s important to you and then thinking about what changes you could make to achieve a more fulfilling life.


Secondly, my advice would be to just start doing. Stop fantasising and start doing. Once you start, you will probably realise just how much work is involved and then you can decide whether that’s something you really want or not. So just start doing and if you enjoy it, keep going! It’s so common for women to talk themselves down and hold themselves back, whereas men don’t tend to do that, they just go for it. Women need to just go for it!


It’s so common for women to talk themselves down and hold themselves back, where as men don’t tend to do that, they just go for it. Women need to just go for it!


Photo credits (within article): Jessie Prince, from Jessie & Jones

Profile photo credit: Inez Brookes



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