Women who create: Colleen Murray

Colleen Murray, owner and creative director of Lily Label – a locally produced, sustainable swimsuit brand – has established her collection to be one of the leading brands in the evolution of swimsuit designs.

Gone are the days where women anxiously search for the right swimsuit that will hide their least favourite attributes. Lily Label provides a wider variety in choice of swimsuits that focus more on embracing what makes each body unique and beautiful, while emphasising comfort and confidence.

Each Lily swimsuit empowers women to feel sexy and supported. From bikinis, micro-kinis, bandeaus and one-pieces, you are guaranteed to find a flattering style that shows off your most loved assets.

As a young female entrepreneur Colleen is passionate about working with and supporting mainly women-owned businesses. “Currently 90–95% of the companies I do business with are women-run or -owned, which is paramount to me.”

Furthermore, Colleen continuously strives to create a collaborative work environment with her team that pushes sustainability beyond the boundaries of ‘earth tones’ and ‘50 shades of beige’.

“There is no reason why sustainability can’t be fun, colourful, vibrant, expressive, joyful, celebrated and considered. It can be all these things and so much more. We are continuously evolving with what we can do and Lily is at the forefront of this luxuriously vibrant and sustainable trend.”

What really makes Lily Label different is their integrity, their sense of responsibility and accountability, and being non-complicit in mass-production or unethical production.

Colleen and her team think about the future, not just the present. They have now made the switch to ECONYL ® in the Earth Angel Collection which is 100% regenerated nylon fibre, created from fishnets and other nylon waste that allows their swimsuits to have a continuous life cycle.

The packaging is reusable and recyclable and the swimsuit fabrics used are tested rigorously in the EU. The fabric itself is made in Italy and is double-layered. It is pilling resistant, UV protective (UPF 50+), ultra-chlorine resistant, offers two-way stretch and is resistant to sun cream and oils.

Colleen’s advice to other women: “Remain true to yourself, even if no one understands what you’re doing. If you believe in your product, brand or idea, and if it is ethical and sustainable, then I would say, just keep pushing. Success does not happen overnight, it could take you years to make it, but don’t give up, people will eventually see what you’re doing. Keep it as a side hustle until you take that final leap.

“I think it’s also important to understand that South Africa is a very difficult market to break into. If you can break into this market you can pretty much break into any market. Times will be tough and you might feel like what you are doing isn’t going anywhere and you may feel like no one sees you or no one understands you, but often, the best ideas come from that type of environment and pressure. If you don’t make it the first time round, try something else. Network and talk to people for critical feedback, but even with feedback remain true to who you are. Be sure to actively explore ways in which you can improve and make changes.”

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