Interview with the founder of Zealous surf wear brand
Updated: Jul 5, 2021
I catch up with Marie the founder and owner of Zealous - an eco conscious surfwear, apparel, accessories and lifestyle brand based in Germany.
Tell me a bit about your business? For more than 10 years now, I’ve been running Zealous. What started as a hobby biz making customized beanies for snowboarding season in Europe turned into a proper surf bikini and apparel brand for women. All our products are made by hand in Bali and under fair conditions. And we design what we want to wear ourselves but can’t find in any other surf store!
Nowadays Zealous’ collections feature surf bikinis that stay put in the surf, leggings for surfing and yoga, as well as surf suits and one-pieces. Besides that, we create surf inspired streetwear and apparel because we can’t be in the ocean 24/7 ;-)
What made you decide to start a business designing bikinis?
I only got into making bikinis through my 6-months trip to Bali, Indonesia! What started as a semester abroad quickly switched to setting up a complete network of suppliers and manufacturers for Zealous’ production of streetwear.
And bikinis? Well, I started surfing every day and couldn’t find a single bikini on the island that wouldn’t let me down in the surf! So, I got samples made of my own designs, field tested them, wiped out a lot, and after 6 months I was ready to go into production of my first ever surf bikini! The rest is history I guess :-D Stay-On surf bikinis are now the heart of my collections!
What's a typical day/week like in your shoes?
To be honest, I’m not an early riser. I like to sleep until 8am and have my first coffee in bed, while doing my physio exercise and meditation. If the sun is shining and the surf is flat, my fiancé and I take our two fluffy Bali doggos to the beach for breakfast and a swim. Otherwise, we jump into the waves of course!
As you’ve probably guessed by now, I often don’t get onto my laptop before 11am haha! But once I’m in the office, I’m hard to get out again. My work is super mixed up, I mostly work on at least 2 things at the same time and am still surprised how I’m managing It all. That means a day could consist of organizing my tax report, reordering bikinis for a wholesale customer in Europe, meet a customer for a fitting in my office, answer questions for blogs, and negotiate terms for future ambassadors. Let me tell you, it never gets boring ;-)
Before the pandemic I liked to work out in the gym once finished with work. Nowadays I like to use that time to hang out with my fluffballs and my partner or meet friends to play boardgames! Oh dear, how the times has changed throughout the last year… haha
Zealous is clearly very conscious about sustainability, can you tell us why this is important to you, the ways you make Zealous as sustainable as possible and what sustainability plans you have for the future?
The ocean / nature is our playground and if we want to keep playing, we gotta protect it. Seeing so much plastic trash first hand on Bali’s beaches has been an eye-opener to me, especially because that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We don’t see the CO2 that is causing rising sea temperatures, we don’t meet the people dying of pollution, it all seems too far away. But once you see and know about those issues, you can’t look away anymore.