After winding an interesting and international path, Heidi Wallis?s design career brought her right back home. Now, the Northern Beaches mum is redefining children?s swimwear.
I grew up on the Northern Beaches in Mosman and Palm Beach. So, I?ve always had a very close connection with the area. And, while I?ve lived elsewhere, this is home to me, which is why it feels so right to live here now with my family.
Of course, the journey to where I am has certainly been interesting. After studying fashion design, I began my career at the heritage Australian fashion label, Simona, where I worked with founder Inge Fonagy. However, I later decided I wanted to specialise in one area of fashion. I chose to follow my passion and jumped on a plane to Italy to work with Domani, the luxury swimwear label based near the legendary Lake Como.
Although this was a beautiful time in my life and I learnt so much from Domani, I was soon ready for a new challenge. So, Heidi Vandervord* Swimwear, my own label of high-end Italian swimming costumes was born (Vandervord is my maiden name).
After many years away, I missed Australia and wanted to come home. When I did, I worked to rebrand the iconic Cheetah label before turning my efforts to a private label swimwear company in Melbourne.
I then met my husband, and we had our first daughter. Although I kept working, I found the travel and long hours difficult. When we had our second daughter, things became even more challenging. While I still loved my career, I no longer wanted to be away from my girls.
During this time my children were learning to swim with floatation suits. These were fantastic as they gave my daughters confidence and taught them how to tread water. Then, as their confidence and skills improved I would gradually remove float panels until they were swimming on their own.
While teaching my girls to swim was fun, seeing how quickly their bathers faded and lost shape was not. I started to visualise children?s swimwear and float suits in fun designs with a luxury feel. Soon the idea of Bluesalt Beachwear, a brand that offered high-quality kids? swimwear, was formed.
Made from the finest chlorine-resistant fabrics with ratings of SPF50+, Bluesalt Beachwear offers swimwear that protects skin, retains vibrancy, maintains shape, and dries quickly. Of course, all the kids really care about are the fun mermaid, unicorn and pirate designs.
Since its 2015 debut, the brand has grown steadily. Each season I have worked to add new designs while making sure I still have plenty of time for my family. Today, the collection includes rash suits, which provide hours of protection from the elements, wetsuits, which are perfect for keeping kids warm and happy, and float suits, which feature Australian Standard-approved buoyancy panels. Swim caps, goggles and cover-ups are also on offer, and all products feature fun designs that create the feeling of a dress-up party on the beach.
Yes, fun with a splash of luxury is what we do best at Bluesalt, and we?ll continue doing it. While my journey has brought me back home to the Northern Beaches, it is here that my daughters? own journeys begin. And they?re starting early! At just ten and eight, they already help me choose prints, make sure the fits are right, and star in our shoots.
You can find Bluesalt Beachwear online at www.bluesaltbeachwear.com.au as well as on Hard to Find, Etsy, The Iconic.
Use the code BLUE20 for 20% discount at www.bluesaltbeachwear.com.au?until the 15th November?
Note: Photographer Julie Adams, who also a Northern Beaches mum from Freshwater, has taken these beautiful photos in Freshwater and at Balmoral Beach.