American InterContinental University, Fashion Design and Marketing
Jessie Becker has always had an eye for fashion, but what she had less of an eye for was putting her ideas into action. She often found that the procrastinator in her was a little too proficient at putting things off.
“My passion for fashion design was always there; I had just always underestimated time.” It was only after graduation and a life-changing tragedy that Jessie realized life was too fragile and fleeting to get in her own way. Her view transformed, she started sewing, got on Facebook and went into business.
Two handmade bikinis and a fan page launched what’s now Ravish Sands Swimwear. Born on the beaches of South Florida, Ravish suits are worn by women around the world. Creating beach resort suits as well as custom competition swimwear, Jessie owes much of her success to a whole lot of drive, a little bit of law-breaking and the realization that even a bit of failure will make your company better.
Find your niche, then be your best.
How does one go about becoming a swimwear designer and creating their own line?
I always wanted to be a designer, but knowing it’s a tough market, I wasn’t sure how I would get there. I grew up loving fashion, making jewelry and hats with my mom and dad, sewing and drawing, but it was the events after graduating that changed my life and really inspired me. I was always good at doing just about anything I put my mind to, but I had a tendency to procrastinate and think, “There’s always tomorrow, or next week” … And before I knew it, a year had passed.
After graduating and the loss of my younger brother, Sean, my view on life had suddenly changed. There could be no more delaying; no more excuses. My brother inspired me, motivated me and changed my life forever. My passion for fashion design was always there; I had just always underestimated time. Two months after Sean’s passing, I created my first two bikinis, came up with a name, created a Facebook page and started my Ravish Sands journey.
What responsibilities come with being a designer and business owner?
The question should probably be what responsibility don’t I have? As owner and designer, I do just about everything. I’m in charge of hiring, payroll, marketing and social media, promotions, branding, designing, production, etc. It’s busy, but I absolutely love it.
What is it about designing and selling your own swimsuits that makes you realize you’re in the right career?
Besides loving to create unique, sparkly pieces from scratch, I know it’s the right fit for me when I put one on! Words cannot express the way each suit makes me feel. Then, when I see people buy them and wear them proudly, I feel so lucky and honored.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
Recently I’ve had several obstacles; from companies I’ve sold wholesale to knocking off my product to random competition studying me and copying the products that work well for me. I’m always thinking: how can I make my product better? How can I make sure my clientele continues to return to me in the future? How can I continue to expand and share my products globally?
Do you ever find work/life balance a problem?
In retail, there’s a high and low season. I know my high times and my lows and I take advantage of slower times. During busier times, I’m definitely guilty of working seven days a week with little time off. Yet even at my busiest, I always try to make time for my loved ones.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
I feel very lucky to have had so many purchase Ravish Sands this year for their beach bikinis or competition suits. I’m getting to do what I love and see my creations on women around the world. Getting orders globally makes me feel really accomplished.
What are some of the rules you live by?
1 / Find your niche, then be your best.
2 / Don’t take shortcuts and don’t sell yourself short.
3 / Think outside the box.
Does it take any certain qualities to be successful in swimwear design?
It takes drive, motivation and passion. There were so many times along my journey that I thought I would never make it, or that there was simply too much competition. I tried just about every possible hustle to sell suits. I sold swimsuits on the beach—and I almost got fined $1,000—failed with two kiosks, hosted house parties and trunk shows and I did online sales. I did all of this while holding down a full-time job to fund my passion, but I was determined. I just knew eventually I would get noticed if I kept working as hard as possible.
It took a good three years until I found my niche and really became successful. Now, my goal is to make my brand the best it can possibly be by doing what works, while still being innovative. To be successful, you always have to be 10 steps ahead of yourself—and your competition.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
I wish I could have told myself to live out each day to the max, because tomorrow’s never guaranteed.
What are your plans for the future of Ravish Sands?
I’ve always loved health, fitness and fashion, so I think, “Why stop at bikinis?” I’m in the works of developing Ravish Fitness gear, creating a larger figure/physique swimsuit line and I eventually hope to do evening gown theme wear. While I’ve managed to create a lot, I want to create a lot more.