Inspiring Women: Meet Brittany Kozerski, Owner/Designer of JADE Swim
The fashion editor-turned-designer tells us about her career transition and why her swimwear line will be your versatile wardrobe BFF.
You know that saying, "If you want something done, you've got to do it yourself?" Well, former Marie Claire fashion editor Brittany Kozerski is living proof that sometimes doing it yourself pays off. Kozerski left her journalism job in order to start JADE Swim, a chic and versatile swimwear line, and though taking that leap was daunting, she's here to encourage other women to follow their own dreams too.
Here's what Kozerski had to say about her fabulous swimsuit line, starting your own business, and why every woman should have a swimsuit she can wear beyond the beach.
Livingly: After working as a fashion editor, what made you want to start your own swim line?
Brittany Kozerski: From covering the swim market as an editor and also from my work styling, I felt there was something missing. I found it incredibly hard to find a high-quality, well-cut, clean and minimal swimsuit that was sustainable and had UV protection, so I decided to start the line. I wanted to provide a go-to line of swimwear with styles that shape and accentuate the body, give minimal tan lines and also seamlessly transition into ready wear for true day-to-night options for every type of occasion. The name Jade was inspired by the way the cut brings out the beauty of a stone. Simple but more than basic.
What kind of woman is the perfect JADE Swim customer?
She loves the clean cuts of the line and responds to the high quality. She loves that she can purchase a suit and make it her own, bringing her own style to the suit. She can style/accessorize it and it looks completely different than on the next girl. JADE Swim pieces seamlessly integrate into the rest of her closet. Of course allowing her to wear to the beach but also layer and get so much use out of the pieces. And because cuts are so classic/timeless – she knows she can keep wearing and reinventing with these pieces throughout time.
Where did you find inspiration for your work?
I find inspiration from what I personally want or find missing in the market. As an editor, I had access to every designer in the world but there were still a lot of pieces/designs I felt where missing out there. So I use that as a huge inspiration and also my travels. I travel about every two weeks and love seeing what trends are going on around the world. I get inspired by these women and what they love to wear and how they like to show their bodies. Finally, my friends are a huge inspiration. NYC girls have such interesting style mixing high & low designers with vintage pieces in a perfect way. There’s no fashion boundaries in NYC and I love to get inspired by that. That’s why I say the line is "Inspired in NYC and Made in LA."
Which is your favorite JADE piece?
All In One Piece: It's literally the most versatile swimsuit. I wear it alone as a swimsuit or with a skirt on the beach while on vacation and even with jeans as a bodysuit while going out. I can put that suit on and literally wear it all day for any occasion. Also – because the fabric has shape retention technology it sucks in at the waist and sculpts the body so well. I receive so many compliments on the design and also my body when I wear it.
How do you see JADE growing/evolving over time?
For this upcoming Resort 2018 collection, JADE Swim will be introducing cover ups and more beachwear. That was always something I had planned to do within the first two years of the line so I could offer customers a full package of swim and something to cover it with. Past this, I want to continue to grow the line into versatile, high quality pieces with interesting cuts expanding outside the swimwear/beachwear market.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that every day is different. I have a game plan for the day or the week but it never goes according to plan. I love that owning a line and designing means there’s no set routine. Of course I have deadlines and meetings but at any moment I could have something pop on my schedule I didn’t have planned; like a celeb request, a magazine requesting for a cover shoot, a new store expressing interest, a new idea for a swimsuit. Every day is a new adventure.
How does your life shape your business?
My life has a lot of variety so I wanted to create a swimwear line that could be just as versatile. That’s why JADE Swim can be layered under or above ready to wear clothing, worn as traditional wear and also has so many fabric qualities. All of the one-piece swimsuits can be worn as bodysuits with jeans, skirts, etc. The bikini tops have been popular to layer under the current sheer top trend or under blazers, bomber jackets, etc. So you are buying a swimsuit but really investing in a piece that can span across your closet needs. Also – the luxe Italian fabric has shape retention, UV protection and is resistant to chlorine, oils and creams. I felt like a lot of swim was designed for one use and that wasn’t realistic.
What advice do you have for other women who are looking to start their own business?
My biggest advice is to just start. If I had waited until I knew every single aspect about owning a clothing line, I never would have started. Like everything in life, you learn along the way. Trust yourself, your life experiences, your skills and your intuition. There are more resources out there than ever before and especially with the internet & social media you can learn along the way. You will make mistakes but I’m a strong believer mistakes are a normal part of life and great ways to learn. I have seen a lot of people who wanted to start a business wait until it was too late or they allowed themselves to get discouraged. If you want to start a kids line and have small kids, start now! Use your current situation that is motivating you to start the business as the push you need. You’ll also get that daily reinforcement if you do it when the thought is strongest in your mind. For me, I was a Senior Fashion Editor at a major women’s magazine and couldn’t find a swim line I related to or could use the way I wanted while styling shoots, so I decided to start the line.
At Livingly, our motto is "Live life beautifully." What does living beautifully mean to you?
To me, "Live life beautifully" means living life without fear. I used to live with a lot of fear and worry, especially with the idea of starting the line. I once heard a quote “Anything I’ve ever done that was worthwhile…initially scared me to death”. I thought about that and felt so connected to that quote. It applied to every amazing thing that happened to me and especially JADE Swim. It's ok to be aware of fear but you can’t let it stop you. Fear is only temporary, learning to push past it means the difference between an average or amazing life.