Natalie shares why our relationship with the ocean runs deeper than we thought. She also narrates the evolution of the surfing culture as it revolutionizes into something more balanced and sustainable. Surf therapy is the marriage of modern healing modalities and the mystery of nature recuperation.
Listen to the Episode Here
The ocean leaves no place for biases nor prejudice. It invites everyone with open arms. However, with the evolving surf culture, this invitation seems to be tainted with propaganda and stereotypes. Movies, fashion, and trends create an image of what is and is not acceptable in the line-up. No wonder, many feel excluded and inferior. Fortunately, some are already breaking the surfing stereotype and creating an awareness of what surfing should be.
Laura Day is among the insightful individuals who saw what a real surf lady looks like. Contrary to what advertisements have modeled for us, a real surf lady has a unique preference and taste that doesn’t necessarily reflect the industry. This reality opened Laura’s eyes to new possibilities which led to the foundation of iaera surf, a women’s surfwear brand that really caters to a surf lady’s needs. By creating a surfwear that resonates with the customers, iaera surf is successfully creating an environment where women can surf freely and happily.
In this fun and edifying exchange, Laura shares her exciting surfing stories and entrepreneurial journey. In addition, she also relates some of the challenges one could possibly encounter in the early stages of their biz and how to successfully navigate through them. She also reveals some helpful advice on how to price your items based on quality and not on competition. Laura also gets to talk about her upcoming podcast, Confessions of a Surf Lady, which is a perfect platform for women to voice out their concerns and opinions anonymously. The ocean is no doubt, a surfer’s paradise. Therefore, the right to surf without the burden of misjudgments should be reserved by everyone.
04:19 An Inland Girl Longs For the Inshore
10:17 Surfwear for Real Surf Ladies
17:10 Setting Up the Platform for Marketing
20:31 How to Price Your Items
22:33 Entrepreneurial Challenges
25:42 What To Do When Funds Are Low
29:15 Confessions of a Surf Lady
35:22 What in the Surf Industry Makes You Feel Excluded?
Today I got to sit down with Laura day, a bubbly and energetic surfer who is also an Interior Designer, Architect and the Founder of iaera surf, a women’s surfwear brand based in San Diego, California. Laura has had an exciting life so far. She’s been traveling and living between California and Australia. But today, our conversation explores her business ventures and the way in which she has apprehended the female surfing market with such talent and joy. iaera surf is a women’s surfwear brand that she created from scratch, actually making designing and sewing the garments herself. The garments that range from rashes to bikinis are designed for women who don’t necessarily feel they belong to the Billabong of Roxy stereotypes. And Laura has met former women actually on the lineup that are doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs and whose taste doesn’t necessarily reflect what we see in shops. I think there are quite a lot of women out there in this category and Laura is definitely tapping into it.
We get to talk about Laura’s story, her brand, and she gives us expert tips and advice on how to build a brand that sells. Beyond marketing and amazing design, Laura is also excelling in what works the best for the bottom line, and that is closing a sale. There’s a lot to learn from her experience in this interview. And last but not least, Laura is also just about to launch a surfing podcast called, Confessions of a Surf Lady, and it will be dropping this week on all the podcast platforms.
I hope you enjoy this episode.
Take care, have fun, and enjoy the waves.
Connect with Laura:
Episode 40: Meet Trace Lane- Founder and Director at Surf Sisters for Science, Writer, Researcher and Surfer
Trace Lane works around environmental awareness. She is the Director and Founder of Surf Sisters for Science, a platform that gives a voice to the untold stories of climate impact. Trace uses her research and writership to link science and the community.
Ryan gives an interesting walk through in the making of his unique surfboards. The boards are so robust that the quality cannot be questioned. The custom designs were so intricate as well, that it takes a month to finish a single product.
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Imi Barneaud: Hi everybody and welcome to The Oceanriders Podcast, conversations with creatives, entrepreneurs, thinkers and dreamers who also happened to be surfers. My name’s Imi, and I am your host. I wanted to wish you all a happy new year. This new year and new decade is going to be amazing, and I really hope that all the goals that you set or that you are setting will actually come true during this year, or definitely during this decade. I hope you enjoy this podcast, and if you do, I would be thrilled if you could support it. My podcast takes time and money to produce, so to support the show, here’s what you can do. The first thing to do is to spread the word, tell your friends that you love this podcast and subscribe to it on Apple podcasts, but if you’d like to take your support one step further, I have designed a collection of products that I’m sure you’ll love, you can find them on theoceanridersshop.com. For less than the price of a cup of coffee, you can actually get beautiful surf art inspired greetings cards. And I’ve also created a capsule collection of Oceanriders t-shirts and sweatshirts, one for men and a collection for women as well, they’re all made of 100% organic and fair trade cotton. The whole much kit collection is really comfy and so soft that I think you’ll love wearing them, and my family and I certainly do. Last but not least, you can also purchase some beautiful wall art to hang up at home, and all these items are in capsule collections, so catch them while they last, head over to theoceanridersshop.com. One last thing, 1% of my sales on the shop will be donated to WIRES Australia. So by buying my merchandise you’ll be making a conscious contribution to help endemic Australian wildlife survive the heartbreaking bush fires. So that’s enough of housekeeping, today, let’s go to our conversation.
Today, I got to sit down with Laura Day, a bubbly and energetic surfer who is also an interior designer, architect, and the founder of Iaera surf, a women’s surf wear brand based in San Diego, California. Laura has an exciting life so far, she’s been traveling and living between California and Australia. But today, our conversation explores her business ventures and the way in which she has have apprehended the female surfing locket with such talent and joy.
Iaera surf is a women’s surfwear brand that she created from scratch making, designing and sewing her garments herself. The garments that range from rashies to bikinis are designed for women who don’t necessarily feel they belong to the billabong or roxy stereotypes. Laura has met far more women on the lineup that are doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs and who don’t necessarily reflect what we see in shops. I think there are quite a lot of women out there in this category and Laura is definitely tapping into it.
We get to talk about Laura’s story, her brand and she gives us expert tips and advice on how to build a brand that sells. Beyond marketing and amazing design, Laura is excelling in what works the best for the bottom line and that is closing a sale. There’s a lot to learn from her experience in this interview. Last but not least, Laura is also just about to launch a surfing podcast called Confessions of a Surf Lady and it will be dropping this week on the podcast platforms.
So without further ado, please welcome Laura Day.
Hello Laura, and welcome to The Oceanriders Podcast. How are you today?
Laura Day: I’m great, thank you so much for having me.
Imi Barneaud: It’s a pleasure, it’s a delight to have you on the show. And I guess for our listeners, do you think you could introduce yourself?
Laura Day: Definitely. So my name is Laura Day, and I’m the owner of a woman’s surfwear line called Iaera surf. Iaera surfwear line is based out of San Diego, California.
Imi Barneaud: Cool. This is so cool, perfect place to go surfing. Where initially where you from? Have you always grown up along the ocean in San Diego?
Laura Day: No, I actually grew up in LA, and even though a lot of people might think that you grew up in California, you’re a surfer your whole life, that’s not actually true. I grew up kind of inland, and as a kid, we traveled a lot, my family traveled a lot, and I think surfing and being at the beach was something I always wanted to do more of, and something that I always loved. The thought of doing, but obviously surfing is not always an accessible sport for everybody, especially if your family has never surfed, or you don’t know anybody that surf. So the thought of someone just driving you to the beach, unless your parents just get it and know, or they know somebody that can teach you. That’s not really there as a kid, even though I grew up in LA. But yeah, when I was in college, I mean, community college there, if I ever had any break where I had a class that ended by 11, and another class that started at 4, I was driving to Manhattan beach. Drive to Manhattan beach, even by myself, whatever, spend the afternoon there and then drive back just before traffic to get to my classes. So even though I wasn’t surfing, I was still dreaming about it.
Imi Barneaud: Oh, fantastic. So you actually studied architecture and design. How did that sort of happen? What made you choose that kind of subject?
Laura Day: Yeah, so when I was younger, I loved drawing, I loved art, I love creative stuff, I love the design, I love sewing, and I loved, I was obsessed with interior design, I was obsessed with the show Trading Spaces, and that was around, you know, when I was, maybe a junior in high school, when you start considering like what do I want to study? And I remember just thinking like, I really love interior design, but I feel like maybe it’s a little too specific. And my sister at the time said: “Why don’t you study architecture? And you know, it was a big sister’s advice.
Imi Barneaud: That’s so cool, that’s so cool. Did those studies actually bring you to spend a few years in Australia?
Laura Day: Oh, well, no. I actually have been for school, moved to San Diego in 2008, and it’s funny, and I say that I kind of just took the sister’s advice, but I go to the orientation, and go to all the beginner stuff and I’m just like, Oh, my God, this is exactly where I’m supposed to be, like, I love this. So I spent five years studying here in San Diego where I am now, but at the time, I was also working at a CrossFit gym, and one of our clients was Australian, and she told me: “Hey, when I go back to Australia and I started a gym, I would love for you to come work for me.” And at the time, I was like: “Yeah, that sounds awesome.” And I go, yeah, I finished school, I graduate, and the day after Christmas, I get an email from her saying: “Hey, I need somebody on the floor now. Can you let me know in three weeks if you can be here in a month?” And I hadn’t found a job yet after graduating, I think my lease on my apartment was up. There were just so many things that came together that made it hard for me to say no, I had to say yeah, yeah.
Imi Barneaud: The planets aligned.
Laura Day: Yeah. So I had the fortune of moving over there, and funny enough, she picks me up at the airport, and greets me, and then tells me that she’s moving to Abu Dhabi in like a week. So she’s got another different businesses going on, but yes, I move over there, and it’s a completely new environment, a completely new experience, and it’s something that I look back on fondly.
Imi Barneaud: Which part of Australia were you in?
Laura Day: I lived in Brisbane, so I had the fortune of surfing at Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Currumbin, and Byron Bay. I mean, taking road trips up and down the coast, it was always so easy to find friends that would want to get in the car and drive down the coast to different breaks. So, Oh, my God, such beautiful breaks over the year.
Imi Barneaud: I think it’s the best in the world actually. I haven’t seen anything more beautiful in Byron Bay and Noosa to go surfing. It’s like perfect, perfect waves, perfect water, perfect temperatures, everything is just amazing, so yeah.
Laura Day: I was gonna say, you get what you see, you get to see, you can find a koala. True. I was like, we’d always takes hikes, and looking, and keep your head up in the trees, see if you can spot a koala, that was always really exciting.
Imi Barneaud: Oh, yeah, absolutely. So what actually motivated you to go back to the USA?
Laura Day: Well, honestly, it wasn’t exactly my choice, but it was my time to come home. You know, that you’ve got a visa when you enter for six months, you can work for one business, and then you have to change jobs and work another six months for a different business. And I think what I did is I worked for my friend for six months, I came home for a couple of months, decided what is it that I want to do? Went back to Australia with no plan and just kind of went door to door with my resume, trying to get a job, and eventually got something, and it was in a marketing company. It is a job I actually really enjoyed. So I think I stayed another eight or nine months there, and we tried to apply for a new visa, but the timing just didn’t really, I don’t know, work out. And at the end of the day, I think I really did want, I really thought I wanted to stay, but you know, just like the opportunity to go over there, it was time to come home, and it did feel right to be home again.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah. Beautiful, beautiful. So what was it in surfing that actually attracted you to build a side hustle around it?
Laura Day: So when I started surfing, I think I was 27, 28, somewhere around there. I wasn’t surfing as a kid, I was picking it up as an adult who could now afford the board, drive around in my car, and do all of that. And I think a lot of women now these days pick it up later in life. So when I started surfing honestly, I would get in the water, and the women that I would see in the waterboard not what, I guess the Roxy ads and the Billabong ads at that time, none of them were this, you know, life’s a beach, everything is amazing, beach bum kind of girl. They were all women, women that were doctors, and lawyers, and entrepreneurs, and mother, and just accomplished people that the surf industry was not a reflection of. Yeah, and one summer, I think I just had some, and it was, this was actually even way back before I moved to Australia, and this is kind of gap in the story before my business was born.
But one summer I decided I just wanted to make clothes, I’ve been sewing since I was younger, and I thought I just want to make stuff, this is just what I want to spend my summer doing. I was surfing a lot, so I said: “Okay, let me make something for me to wear surfing.” And it ended up being a rash guard, and I had a rash guard that was, had I darted bust, and a curved hip, and unlike a lot of rash guards on the market that are just mass produced, straight cut, almost even designed for teenage girl that always rolled in, rolled up and fit well, unfit nicely because I also made it for myself, but you know, that was back when I was in school, and then when I came back from Australia sometime in there, I was doing the same thing again. And I had a little bit of time and I was like, I feel like making stuff. So I start making more rash guards, different patterns, showing them to my friends, and it’s something that everybody really loved, and then I started selling them, and that’s came together. And this story, in my mind of knowing these women that were real women that had real bodies, and that the industry was not reflecting that, I saw that as my opportunity to say like, Hey, I know these women, like, let me make you the clothes that will fit you, and me–
Imi Barneaud: Yeah.
Laura Day: –where we market our images are not this one industry standard image.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, absolutely. So I’d love the way your rash guards, they do sort of fall down because that is the problem with rash guards today, is that they sort of roll up, and then you got your belly in the air, and then you’ve got a sort of massive sunburn on your back, and it’s a really annoying thing. And I love your reversible bikini bottoms as well. I guess they’ve been designed, they’ve been designed not to fall off when you go under a wave. How did you achieve that?
Laura Day: So at the bikini bottoms, these products is funny because they kind of came out of, like, I had extra material, and I was like, well, what do I want to do with all this stuff? So I just started experimenting. But with the high waist cut, if it’s actually coming up to the top of your waist, there’s not as much of that room for water just come in and pull it off your butt, and then also being made with such a stretchy material, and they’re reversible. When you size down in something like that, they fit really nicely. But without what is called seamless, without the really hard elastic, it doesn’t pinch into your skin so uncomfortably. So that’s been, why that’s been such a favorite? They don’t pinch you in weird ways, they’re really comfortable, they sit really flat, but they also stay up because they fit at the waist.
Imi Barneaud: So how did you come up with your designs? I mean, did you have to study luxury and whatever to actually get the cuts properly?
Laura Day: Oh, pattern making itself is definitely a different beast. I mean, my background in architecture and design has definitely helped with the process of sketching an idea, getting into paper ,and then putting, making, you know, what we would do in school is make a physical model, but the process of pattern making or making clothing that fits on the body, I actually found that a big struggle with it. You’re taking this flat piece of garment or fabric and you want to fit it onto a very curved, a very natural shaped. So I did end up taking, we actually here in San Diego Mesa College, they have one of the best fashion programs, and that’s just a community college too, yeah. So I ended up taking a pattern making course there just to really wrap my head around how some of the principles that come with it, but a lot of it is you make a sample, try it on, or have your friends try it on, take a look what’s wrong with it, what’s good with it, maybe talk it over with some mentors. That, I think in my business has been such a huge benefit is just having older people that have been through business, been through different parts of this kind of business making clothing that I can talk to and say, Hey, what do you think about this cut? What do you think about the way this is sewn? Or how do I market this? But yeah, just the process, the whole design processes that big starts with a sketch and then you go back and forth and you just make samples, for you’re happy.
Imi Barneaud: That’s brilliant. And how do you actually find your materials and the designs for your materials? Do you get them printed before and then you say them together? Or do you find that the prints already made?
Laura Day: Yeah, so for the first couple of collections we did use ready-made prints because it’s more affordable like that, especially starting up a brand. Luckily, I grew up in LA so I know my way around there, and there’s a lot of resources as far as fabric. And then also there’s like trade shows that you can go to meet different suppliers, s there’s about two or three suppliers that I’ve been working with closely that I really liked. And the new collection will have like more recycled plastic bottle materials, and what’s been great about that is that’s something that I looked at at the beginning of starting my business, but it was just definitely way out of reach as far as price, or sometimes it’s just they require such a high minimum and when you’re still testing something and still starting something out, it doesn’t really make sense to do that. But because it’s in such high demand now, the smaller companies are bringing them into their stock, which is amazing because now people like me can include that in our line, which is something that I’ve always wanted to be able to include.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, that’s wonderful. So how long did it actually take for you between the moment you made your first rash guard till you actually sold your first product? How long did that take you?
Laura Day: So the moment I made my first rash guard for myself was definitely when I was still in school, not yet thinking about selling it, but I would say maybe from the time that I decided that I would turn it into a business, and what it actually, the thought was, Hey, let me just put some of this on Etsy, let me make three or four put it on Etsy, which never took me anywhere. But the exercise of creating a platform where something could be sold, I think in the end was the value in doing that and really pushing me to — shopify. But I would say from the time that I started considering that or saying that I want to do this business to the time that I sold my first garment, maybe three to four months.
Imi Barneaud: Right.
Laura Day: Yeah. But I did have that garment already. And actually, it was a little small popup shop that we did of [inaudible], and the girl that bought my first garment, she’s actually a good friend of mine now. So yeah, it’s really nice that she, right away, we weren’t friends at the time but supported me right away.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, that’s really lovely. What did you actually feel when you sold your first garment? I mean, what was that feeling inside.
Laura Day: You kind of feel like, Oh, my gosh, I could actually sell. I think you don’t really know what to expect and you just a little bit of that validation, like, I’m not the only one that wants this, I just didn’t make this to feel productive for myself, someone would pay for this. And at that time, I didn’t have a productia, I was hand-making everything, so every piece I had was different. So there was this scarcity of like, Oh, there’s only one.
Imi Barneaud: Only one.
Laura Day: Yeah. I think that’s why she was so quick to buy it too, cause she was like, Oh, I’m going to take that one and there was none other left. Yes, I have a picture, I took a picture with her, I was like, you’re my first sale, can we take a picture? But yeah, it’s definitely a proud moment because even now, I mean, even when I still make sales now, I still feel like, wow, okay, people still really want this stuff? You just always go through that, and it’s good, it’s good to keep a balance going through that idea, like, do you people want this? Am I doing this right? And then coming back and feeding that validation back to you, but always asking, okay, am I still on the right track?
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, yeah. You were saying earlier that you’re on Shopify for your online boutique, actually I had a Shopify store as well. I used to set the preferences to make a ‘kitchling’ sound every time there was a sale online. So I used to get a notification on my phone and ‘kitchling,’ and so I’d run around all over the house, and Oh, my God, I was always thinking I’ve sold a box of chocolate, or a box of sugar, or whatever, and I was so excited every time that would happen, and then after a while, you get more and more of them, you’d have to do promotions for black Friday, and Christmas sales, and whatever, and then you got to a point where I was making lots of sales on the promotion days, but not that many sales on the un promotion days. I don’t know if that has happened to you so far, or if you’re feeling yourself forced to go with the promotions, and the black Friday offers, and things like that. What’s your opinion on that, on how to price your items?
Laura Day: That’s definitely a tough one. I think that definitely is all about timing, right? Or no, when it is on sale, not exactly a discount, but making a sale is all about timing, and that relationship with that customer. Are they at the right time and place to spend that money with you because they now need it. But I definitely think promotions are good because they give you that urgency of, Hey, if you do it now, I’ll be able to give you a promotion. Sorry, can you remind me your original question?
Yeah. So the question was, do you find that you have to abide to all these promotions and the online dictatorships, sort of thing, or do you actually get by without them?
Laura Day: So I have, admittedly social media is probably not my strongest strength, and not because I can’t do the graphics, or I can’t write the captions, or I can’t do that because it is kind of this black hole, it’s kind of this beast that you do have to stay current, and you do have to keep up with all of that. So I’ve found, instead of that, I actually more enjoy the face to face having events that seems to do really well, having a reason to get together, especially for women’s surfing because we are a community, because there’s so many things that we can relate to each other beyond surfing. I think there’s definitely personality traits that a female surfer has, and we kind of all share that. So yes, I value more things that are, maybe events or promotions that are around the brand as opposed to really pushing hard for competing. I mean, that’s what you’re doing, you’re competing with all the attention of everything, every other sale that’s out there at the time. So, yeah.
Yeah. That’s really interesting. So far, what has been the most challenging for you in terms of running this business?
Laura Day: So in terms of running the business, I think the most challenging thing is to say NO to the things that maybe you’re good at doing, however, don’t exactly bring you the return that you need to survive as a business. So I love doing creative stuff, making graphics, doing all of that. Just like I said, the social media, and I get that there all day moving texts, and at some point, and I really have had to train myself in saying, you know what? It needs to be done. And as much as I want to perfect it, that’s not what matters. What matters is that I’m making progress, I’m moving forward. So that is I think a challenge because you want to put your best foot forward, but no one’s going to see you put your best foot forward if you didn’t ever make a step. So, yeah.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah. It really interesting what you were saying about the most challenging and having to focus on the things that maybe you don’t like doing the most, but you just need to get pushed things along and actually get things done. Yeah, that’s really interesting. And what have you found the most enjoyable in the process?
Laura Day: So I’ve done a lot of pop-up shop, I’ve done a lot of in-person shops. Funny enough, maybe, never thought that I would say that this is the most enjoyable, but the sales portion of it, I think I would say is the most enjoyable because it’s the most challenging for me, and it’s so much based on creating a relationship with your customer, and I think it’s very, I don’t want to say dynamic, so the sales in-person with my customers, when I do pop-up shop, I love because I get feedback right away on the product. I love to get feedback on that product, and I love to meet the women that I am actually serving. I think that’s really important, and so a lot of that gives you ideas on where you should go with the business, what people want, gives you that faith is validating that, Hey, you made the stuff and somebody wants it. And then wholesaling is something that I’ve been working on recently, which I would say yet, maybe not as much. I think mentally, it’s challenging to really get yourself in that head space. But what it is, it’s a long process of building a relationship and building trust with a store or retailer for them to want to carry your stuff. But recently being, I’m pre-booked for a couple major stores here in San Diego, so I’m really, really so, but like I always say, like I don’t believe anything until the cash is in the bank, so we won’t celebrate, the whole building that relationship and seeing results from that process has been rewarding, and I felt a lot of growth from that.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, that’s fantastic. It must be so encouraging to actually go from doing the pop-up shop and then actually getting a [inaudible] customer and things like that, it’s really rewarding. Would you have any bootstrapping advice, things that really help you out. Start with when the funds were low?
Laura Day: I have realized that each of you are in a space where you can share resources with somebody or do a trade with somebody that makes sense, it can be a great way to go that way. I think always questioning what you’re spending and if you could be spending less, or if you could be getting it for free is a good practice. So one of the examples that I would have is, a couple of years ago we did a photo shoot in Sayulita, and the girl that shot the photos, she was amazing, and at the time she was just building her portfolio, and that was okay for me because my budget was small. We actually hire a couple of models to shoot with us, and we got the pictures and it was great. But I think that, I realized like, Hey, I could have just found other women who owned businesses around surfing and created a trade in this environment where we’re helping each other out because they might actually need the photos as opposed to a model that’s kinda like, ah, I gotta be here. What really got me thinking on this was, when one of the models asked me to pay the PayPal transaction fee for paying her, and I was like, wait, I’m not paying you to be in business, I have to pay my own businesses too. But I think it was so minimal that it was like, Oh, I know the principles is not right, but I just didn’t even want to go over that. But anyways, finding somebody that might have that common goal, that might have been like, Hey, like I really need the pictures for my business, and Hey, well, I really need to take pictures of someone. So I think I could have networked a little bit and found people that were more excited to be there, to just bring more to the table. So that’s always something that is good to think about, but not to get lost in. Because sometimes, collaborations don’t, and I think you have to make a few, not bad decisions, but make a few decisions that you regret to understand like, okay, well what is a good collaboration? What questions do I ask? What do I say that I need out of this to make it worthwhile for myself? Because I’ve definitely had girls reach out to me like, Hey, I have this following, I have that, and I’m going to take pictures of your product and put it on. And I’m like, Oh, that’s awesome. And you send a product and you never see.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah.
Laura Day: But that taught me, what is it that I need from a collaboration that we’re fulfilling for each other that makes sense. So bootstrapping, yeah, I think seeing where you can collaborate, I think is a good idea, and just being very clear about what you need.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, that’s really good advice. Thank you very much for sharing that with us. So what are the goals for Iaera Surf next year?
Laura Day: Yeah, so next year my goals when I talk in numbers with the next year, my goal is to do is to get into 20 or have 20 wholesale accounts. So that’s something I’m really working on, and I’m learning, the rule of numbers, right? So if my average is every 20 stores I approach, I get one, then I got to talk to 400 stores. It’s really nice to have that idea in mind, like, okay, this is why I’m reaching my goal or why I’m not reaching my goal, and be unemotional about it. It’s not me, I’m doing my best to learn along the way, but it’s the numbers, it’s just sales. Then we are starting a podcast.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah.
Laura Day: And that’s, I’m so glad to be here with you today. And the podcast is called Confessions of a Surf Lady. And yeah, it’s really about extending the conversation beyond the products that we create for the women who surf into platform where we can have a dialogue. So the way it works is, we have questions that are specific to women’s surfing that we post for women to anonymously respond to. And the reason why it’s anonymous is, I feel like women have responded thing that, Oh, cool, like, I can say whatever I want. And that’s the idea, I don’t want them to feel like this is a Facebook thread where somebody is going to get offended because you said something and they just didn’t connect with it. We want to see a pool of opinions and stories that are a true reflection of the female surfer as opposed to this, life’s a beach, everything’s great, no worries surf is here. I mean, those are cute things, but they’re not real life. I’ve never met a woman that surf that is just, has not lived a life that is not just life’s a beach. A real life that comes with real struggle and real things.
Imi Barneaud: So what kind of questions have you had the most responses from?
Laura Day: Yeah. So one of the reasons, or the inspirations for this podcast was, when I was doing market research for my business, I was actually applying to the practice of really pitching your business. I was applying to different programs and stuff, and one of the questions that I asked for my market research in a very similar fashion, it wasn’t exactly anonymous but similar fashion was, how do you feel about the way women are represented in the surf industry? Because you know, what I was standing on as a business was that women are not happy with the way that we’re represented. Women are not happy with the products that are offered. So in this pitch presentation, I collected these responses to support that idea, and I got 50 to 60 responses at that time, and maybe a handful of women. Another option was, Hey, if you’re willing, can I interview you for 10 minutes and just ask you some questions. So I got on the phone with about 15 women at the time, I had questions, but I let the conversation go wherever it was, and I got a consensus of unhappiness.
Imi Barneaud: Really.
Laura Day: Yeah. The way that, I mean, things that stick in my head because it was up in an interview that I just did as well. The way women were treated when they would go into a surf shop, they just didn’t feel comfortable, because they felt like no one wanted to help them, because I dunno, I don’t understand, because being in a business you’re like, well, aside from just helping somebody, I’m also here to sell and have a business that I don’t really understand why you would have discrimination. Yeah. Any guy out there owns a surf shop and you’re not doing well, maybe you should start marketing, and maybe you should start selling to your female customers, because last I checked, we spend more money. So that was a question I think I asked a year or two ago, and almost exactly a year ago, and when this podcast was coming together, or this idea of this form was coming together, I wanted to ask that question again. So I posted that question again, I got about 75 responses, and a lot of it, it’s still similar responses, some responses that are thinking like, Hey, or expressing that, I think things are getting better, but we have a long way to go. But I felt really inspired by just seeing two sets of responses one year apart. And I thought that there is just so much more of a conversation there. So yeah, that’s one question that I’m sure every woman that has an opinion about, and should have an opinion about. Some of the other questions, what makes you feel excluded in surf culture?
Imi Barneaud: Interesting.
Laura Day: Yeah, that’s the one that I discussed with, launching on January 15. When we launched a podcast on episode 4, I discussed that with Brianna Ortega. So she had some great things to add too. And then another one that we’re working on right now is gathering submissions from women who have either almost drowned or felt really unsafe in the water. So we’ve gotten a handful of voice submissions of women telling their stories about that.
Imi Barneaud: Excellent.
Laura Day: Different things like that. And my hope is also that, I’ve got a backlog of topics that I want to ask and discuss. So my hope is that people do, on the website, come on and tell us what they want to talk about. Because the conversation, and something that we say in the podcast: “The conversation would not be complete without you.” So please join us. Please tell us what you want to talk about. Please give your opinion and don’t feel like you’re going to offend anybody because you should have your opinion heard. I mean, I know, as a female surfer, when you don’t feel represented, it’s not great when this is your favorite, your most beloved passion. So part of our goals for next year is to really take that on, and hopefully get a lot of women on board, getting into conversation and dialogue with us.
Imi Barneaud: Fabulous. That’s so cool because it’s quite difficult to engage with an audience and actually get them to come back, or reply, or respond, or whatever. So do people leave voicemail messages, or what kind of format do you use for the podcast?
Laura Day: For the podcast, I’ve come up with two pop formats, and also this is still in the work, so it’ll evolve, but Google forms has been just the easiest to be able to put a question out there and receive responses anonymously. And then there is a software called SpeakPipe, and it’s a little voicemail software, right? That someone can just call in and leave you a message, they can leave their name if they want, but they don’t have to.
Imi Barneaud: Right.
Laura Day: Those are the two things I’ve been using to collect responses and create conversation.
Imi Barneaud: Yeah, yeah. What’s in surfing makes you feel excluded? What are your conclusions?
Laura Day: Yes. It’s interesting. There are definitely responses that differ, that have differed in that conversation, and in the episode too, we talk about these different responses, but you know, Brianna brought up a scenario about how she worked in a surf shop and how customer guy’s, like didn’t maybe see her as authoritative figure as she was a woman and wouldn’t talk to her, wouldn’t choose to talk to her even if she tried to help them. We got other responses such as I don’t feel excluded in surf culture. Yeah, and I love, there’s a great one, one surf lady submitted that just said, she doesn’t feel excluded, but she did work hard to create that space for herself to not make her feel excluded. And you can see just these differing opinions, these differing life views that are all valid, I think that are all valid. And there’s women that feel like their age makes them feel excluded, or their weight, or the way they look, or one person said Stab Magazine, coverage of women was something that came up a couple times, and I’ve never followed them, it’s something that me and Brianna talk about on the episode too. But yeah, there’s a lot of responses out there, and it’s great, I think we can learn from each other. And then I hope that you’ll go and join us in the conversation at because there, you’ll get to contribute your confessions for different topics or even let us know what topics you want to talk about.
Imi Barneaud: Lovely. Fantastic. Well, this has been so interesting and what a lovely way to actually engage with your audience and with your clients. It’s a really good idea actually to have that podcast to follow up. That’s fantastic. I guess we’re arriving at the end of this lovely interview and it’s been really, really lovely conversation. I just wondered if you had the time to answer a few questions, which are basically sentences that I ask my guests to finish. Sometimes you come up with some good answers. So the first sentence to finish is I LOVE.
Laura Day: I love the opportunity that we have here in this space and this kind of internet and online space to really create something where we can create a dialogue and create success for ourselves with business. Yeah, I love that opportunity and that we have that, it really is a gift.
Imi Barneaud: Absolutely. I MISS.
Laura Day: Okay, well, I miss the waves in Australia. You can come out and surf here and maybe get 10 seconds standing up on a wave, but if you’re out in Australia, you can be on a wave for a few minutes. So i miss the waves in Australia.
Imi Barneaud: I WISH.
Laura Day: I wish that the female surf community will come together and join me on Confessions of a Surf Lady, really helped me tell our authentic story,
Imi Barneaud: Lovely. And I WANT.
Laura Day: I want to have a successful career and a successful business that allows me to create a positive impact on my community and the people around me.
Imi Barneaud: Fantastic. And just a side question, since you started the business, how often do you actually get out surfing?
Laura Day: A lot less often. Yeah, a lot less often. I would say on average once or twice a week, and I have to confess, I guess would be the word, that surfing is not my one and only true love. I love my work, I love the business building, so if there is something that I am excited to do, I will ditch surfing. But I also, fortunately enough, right now at the moment, we have a place down in Baja Norte, there are a couple breaks there that are really uncrowded and great waves. So sometimes I’ll go down there, get my weekend fix, and then I have a week to focus on my business, and focus on the things that I want to do.
Imi Barneaud: Beautiful. That’s great. Last question, do you have any books, or podcasts, or films, or TV series shows, whatever that have inspired you and that would inspire our listeners to continue?
Laura Day: So not that it’s, I think it’s a good thing, a good book to consider Trevor Noah’s book Born a Crime has in my mind, and I did it as the audio book has in my mind, stuck with me as one of the best books that I’ve engaged with, or listen to, or read quote unquote because I did it with an audio book, and even if it’s not directly about entrepreneurship, but he really talks about coming from very little and becoming who he is. And his storytelling is really, really just engaging and amazing. And he tells his life story in a way that makes you consider, I don’t know, just unfairness against different races and makes you consider what’s going on beyond your world. And it’s just really impactful. If I needed to recommend a book any day of the week, it’d be that one all the time.
Imi Barneaud: Okay. Okay. So we’ll repeat the name, Trevor Noah?
Laura Day: Yeah, Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime.
Imi Barneaud: Born a Crime, okay. We’ll put that in the show notes too. And how can we get a hold of you and your beautiful products.
Laura Day: So you can visit us at www.iaerasurf.com, and that’s I-A-E-R-A-S-U-R-F.C-O-M, Always gotta spell it. Or you can follow us on Instagram, same handle, Iaera Surf. Same thing with Facebook. And then Confessions of a Surf Lady would be, and then the same thing with Instagram and Facebook.
Imi Barneaud: Fantastic. Well thank you Laura for being a wonderful guest, and this energy that you have is just so contagious, it’s beautiful. I really, really enjoyed talking to you. So I just wish you all the best for the next few months and years, and just come back on the podcast if you want to share any new stories or whatever.
Laura Day: Definitely. And you’ll have to be on our podcast too.
Imi Barneaud: That would be my pleasure. Yeah, absolutely. Anyway, take care, Laura and see you soon.
Laura Day: Bye.
Imi Barneaud: I loved this exchange. I can’t believe how savvy Laura is in sales. I certainly learned a lot and I find that her advice of just picking up the phone or talking to her prospective clients is such a wise move. As an introvert, I know dread being face to face with the customer, but at the end of the day, that’s what makes businesses tick. I also love the fact that thanks to her extrovert personality, Laura has sought advice from the best in practice and hasn’t hesitated to confront her ideas with mentors and customers. And last but not least, I love the way Laura is constantly building a relationship with her customers and wholesalers. There’s definitely some excellent bootstrapping and goal setting info in this episode.
So to connect with Laura, you can skip over to her Instagram and online shop iaerasurf.com and at Iaera Surf on Instagram. You will also be able to listen to her podcast Confessions of a Surf Lady on Apple podcasts this week, so check out the links in the show notes to find out more.
All the information mentioned in this podcast is available on my website and in the show notes of this episode (just check them out on your podcast app). On theoceanriderspodcast.com you’ll also find some great info and photos of my guest so, please don’t hesitate to have a look. Links to it are in the show notes.
If you enjoy this podcast, please share the love. You can tell your friends, family, strangers in the lineup about this podcast but if you want to do more to support me, you can too. I have created an online merch shop, called the oceanriders shop. It has a collection of t-shirts, sweatshirts, greetings cards and wall art for all types of budgets, so be sure to check them out on theoceanriderssshop.com. Links to it are in the show notes. All profits will go to paying for my awesome podcast editor Leng, and 1% of the sales will be automatically donated to 1% for the planet certified non profits. This year, they all my 1% proceeds are going to WIRES Australia, a wildlife rescue organisation that is doing its best to save as many wild animals as possible in the heartbreaking Australian bushfires.
That said, I wish you all an excellent week. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks time with another awesome surfer, and in the meantime, take care, have fun, and enjoy the waves. Ciao.
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