- Local WA swimwear label GRNSTR is a creation of Eliza Greene.
- Self-Employment Assistance mentorship helped expand her newly established business.
Western Australian beaches showcase some of the most stunning natural beauty of Australia.
25-year -old Eliza Greene knows this and enjoyed the breaks in her hometown of Yallingup, in Western Australia’s idyllic southwest region as she grew up.
“Growing up in in Yallingup, I started surfing when I was two years old and I started competing when I was nine. So I was very young and I actually fell in love with the competing side of surfing” Eliza said.
As she grew up, along with her experiences as a professional surfer, Eliza and her sister found there were significant discrepancies in the wetsuit sizing available for women.
“I really began to look around and see and hear women's complaints about how they felt excluded and how they could walk into a surf shop and not find something that would fit them.”
The wetsuits available didn’t cater to the same range of sizes, limiting the number of products available for different body shapes.
“If a woman wanted to find a wetsuit that was more than a size 12 or 14, they would actually have to wear a men's wetsuit shirt, which, as you can imagine, would be quite intimidating” Eliza added.
These became the driving force behind her label GRNSTR when she was 22 years old.
Making waves in the swimwear industry
An abbreviated version of 'Greene Sisters', GRNSTR swimwear runs up to size XL in bikini and one-piece swimwear, and up to Australian size 18 in their wetsuits.
The label is a celebration of women’s strength, tenacity, and individuality with the variety of sizes, because confidence comes in all shapes and sizes.
She wanted women around the world to be able to find a wetsuit in their size so they can enjoy the water, whether it's swimming, snorkelling, diving, surfing, any water activity.
They can find a wetsuit that makes them feel confident and welcomed, wherever they are.
“In an outdoor environment, the ocean is beautiful, it's inclusive” Eliza said. “No one should ever feel excluded from a sport that they love.”
Eliza had already started on her small business journey, when she reached out to the Self-Employment Assistance program, delivered by APM.
Self-Employment Assistance by APM Employment Services helps people set up, develop, and grow their own small business.
The program includes support for those who have an existing micro-business or wish to start their own micro-enterprise.
Participants receive 12 months of professional mentorship and support, including accredited training, to navigate their first year of business and putting together a business plan.
Support from day one Eliza had the support of senior consultant Matt, from day one.
“Eliza was running the business, she had quite good sales already. She had her social media set up and was setting up a website” Matt recalled.
“She joined the program right at the right time to get the assistance that she needed.”
While Eliza had made a great start in her marketing efforts, there were some knowledge gaps she wanted to work on.
“I had this great idea, but I really needed support and mentoring into creating that idea and having it be a successful business” she said.
Matt’s support helped Eliza put together her business plan, understand insurance, experiment with social media advertising and how to manage business finances.
“I was really looking for someone to help mentor me with my business financials, creating a structured budget and really being able to project income and expenses over a period of time.”
With first-hand knowledge and experience in small business, Matt used this to help give Eliza the best possible start.
Fine tuning her skills and business
With an existing business, Eliza engaged with the program to upgrade her skills to strengthen her business.
“I think the trajectory of my brand would be a lot slower” she said.
With the financial support she received through the program, she was able to focus her attention on social media marketing – learning how to manage her spend and do some thorough testing.
“With the program and the financial support that it offered me, I was able to have that flexibility to trial different ads and trial different campaigns and to see what works."
This enabled her to get the data she needed, which put her in the fast lane to success with national and international stockists, within 12 months of launching.
Eliza acknowledges her hard work and the success of her regional brand.
“(It) is huge for a start-up, especially a regional brand to secure a national stockist - growing up in Yallingup, it's huge."
“It would have just taken a lot longer for me to get that data to then be able to secure a stockist” she added.
Even more success on the horizon
“As a trainer we've been there and done that in a business and we want to support them in a way where we can share some of our own experiences where they're not going to make the same mistakes.”
Sometimes, Eliza will reach out to Matt to bounce ideas off of, or they’ll use their mentoring appointments to go through her latest publicity and marketing campaigns.
“She was already fairly confident when she started, but she's just grown from strength to strength” Matt said.
“I'm actually super impressed with what she's done because not many people, I think, can have a company and grow that basically she's running it by herself.”
Through the program Eliza was able to grow her professional network, which she credits as part of her ongoing success.
GRNSTR’s wetsuit designs were featured in iconic publication Vogue magazine in 2022, and with a steadily growing number of stockists, Eliza is surfing the long wave of success.
“I think that is so key and so fundamental to running a business is to have that support around you. I think these programs are ideal for that” she said.
“If you're thinking about joining the program with APM, I highly recommend it.”
Get the best start in business
Access professional mentorship, accredited training through the Self-Employment Assistance program.
As part of Workforce Australia, Self-Employment Assistance provides more support to more people, more businesses in even more places across Australia.
Self-Employment Assistance can help you:
- Workshop a business idea
- Create a business plan and develop your business skills
- Provide you with accredited training in small business*
- Connect you with business coaching from experienced and local experts in a range of industries
- Self-Employment Assistance participant in their plant business
Existing small business owners can also use Self-Employment Assistance to develop their business plan, access accredited training, undertake a business health check and access business advice sessions.
To find out more, visit apm.net.au/sea or contact the SEA team at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 1300 006 347.