Hakea Woman: founder interview with Casey Eastwell



Tell us about your background and how you came to create Hakea? 

I was a graphic designer and worked for a clothing label for 5 years before I left that job to start Hakea back in 2016. It was probably a year before that I had a feeling that I wanted to do something for myself and really find my passion, but I wasn’t sure what that was yet. While I was on a surf trip to Sri Lanka, I was looking for a rashguard to protect myself from the sun but couldn’t find one that suited my style anywhere. It was at that point that I started exploring the idea of designing sun protective pieces to surf in that were practical, design forward and made me feel confident in the water. At the time there weren't many options for surfwear designed by women for women, it was mostly just the big players.  

You’re a slow swimwear brand. Could you tell us a bit more about what this is and what it looks like?

When starting the brand, I wanted to make every effort to tread lightly and give back, especially as a person who enjoys being in nature so much. From the beginning I rejected the fast fashion model of multiple collections per year and chose to release new pieces slowly based on customer feedback, or from what I was personally connected to. With each piece I focus on functionality, timeless form and high quality fabric so they have inherent longevity. All Hakea’s pieces are made from recycled nylon, regenerated from discarded ocean plastics that would otherwise stay in our oceans.  


I wanted to make every effort to tread lightly and give back, especially as a person who enjoys being in nature so much


Where do you find your inspiration for your pieces?

Nature is my biggest inspiration, especially the Australian landscape, there are so many amazing colours and textures. When we were allowed to travel, I also drew inspiration from the different landscapes I visited. I have a particular affinity for the desert - it has such an expansive feel which seems to allow the creative juices to flow more easily. I find creativity happens a lot easier when I can really slow down and disconnect from everyday routines. 


What does a typical day look like for you? 

I try to get outside and exercise first thing in the morning, usually with yoga on the veranda, a surf if it’s working or more recently I’ve been (attempting) to run. I try to journal a couple of times a week as well. Then it’s coffee and over to the studio to work. As a small business owner I wear many hats so each day is completely different. It’s actually this variety that I most enjoy - even if it feels overwhelming at times. To wind down in the evenings I’ve been trying to limit screen time so mostly reading or cooking. 





How did you get the courage to take the leap into business?

It took me at least a year to muster the courage to leave my steady full time job. During that time I explored how I was going to make working for myself, work. I really fleshed out the concept around Hakea (which at this point remained unnamed) and when I did leave my job I felt really passionate about what I was creating. 


What do you love most about what you do and why?

It feels very rewarding to support other women and foster confidence in what can feel like a really vulnerable space for many of us. I think many women have a complex relationship with swimwear, bodies, beauty standards and being in a typically male dominated arena until quite recently like the surf. These are all topics that I feel quite passionate about so having a platform and community to talk about this with is really important. Self worth comes from the inside but if a Hakea swimsuit can make one person let go of some of these worries and focus on living a full and adventurous life on their own terms, then it’s all worth it. 

And of course what’s not to love about time spent at the beach being part of the job! 

Hakea is all about celebrating leisure, adventure and a slower pace of life. How do you incorporate this into your own life? 

I try to set boundaries like not checking emails at night or working on the weekends even though that doesn’t always go to plan. Moving out of the city, to Bali and now Byron Bay has made these things easier, there’s something about the ocean that generally allows for a slower pace of life. Nature is more easily accessible here and with less stimulation than the city I naturally find myself getting more creative and doing more things outdoors which fills me up. Travel is another big way I bring this into my life, even if that’s only as far as a road trip down the coast, it seems to give permission to let the mind wander away from the usual daily routine. 




You recently moved into your Byron Bay Studio called Sunup Space, could you tell us a bit more about the concept for the space?

Sunup Space is our new multi-dimensional showroom in the Byron Bay arts and industrial estate. The concept for Sunup was to have a space to further explore our brand values. Diverging from traditional retail, the space will play host to events, workshops and connect our community over life’s simple pleasures like great food, wine, art, music and books. You can follow Sunup Space on instagram here or book an appointment to visit the showroom and try on our latest swimwear collection ‘Elements’ while discovering a range of work by local artists including sustainable surfboards by Varuna, candles by Nonna's Grocer, bespoke scents by Broadstrokes, hats by Wellington Factory and art by Zev Tropp, Andi Plowman and Madi Tudor.


Casey's picks 
Chacahua Suit in earth and Hakea Tote Bag in ocean




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