iaera surf by Laura Day
"Through my journey of surfing, I have met many amazing women who, likely, fell in love with surfing for the same reasons I did. These women are adventurous and charge waves with bravery but maintain light hearted spirits. They are remarkable out of the water too, they have aspirations beyond chasing the swell. They are entrepreneurs, artists, mothers, cancer survivors, doctors… who all have this spirit about them. They are versatile."
Laura Day found a gap in the market and decided it was time to create something outside of the norm.
By combining her background in architecture, her passion for surfing, and her sewing talent passed down by her grandmother, iaera surf, an all-inclusive women’s surf wear brand was born.
Her main goal with iaera surf is to share through her brand the uniqueness and beauty of every woman, not just an industry standard.
This is her chronicle:
Share a little bit about yourself and how iaera surf came to life?
I’ve always loved creating and when I was a kid, my grandmother sparked my interest in sewing. She taught me so many little tips and tricks on how to put things together. I owe my passion for creating clothing to her. When I moved to San Diego in 2008, to study Architecture, I acquired an old surfboard. I had always wanted to learn how to surf and I quickly fell in love. One summer, one of my goals was to hone my skills in making clothing so I made a rashguard for myself to wear in the water. It was bright orange with blue flowers, at the time there weren’t many options for women’s surfwear and everyone loved how unique it was. That was really when iaera surf was born, two passions combining to create something for myself that wasn’t widely available on the market.
How has the surfing been a keen part of your brand’s growth?
Right now, there is alot to discuss in Women’s surfing, such as: diversity, equality and how women are represented in surf culture. This has helped iaera’s brand growth because it’s given us a space to have this discussion and represent the diversity of women that makeup the lineup. Women in surfing rarely look like the photoshopped, “ideal” body type surfer girl that many brands use in their aspirational marketing. Rather we are all unique and beautiful in our own way and the surf industry has failed to highlight that in their marketing, their clothing sizes, styles, cuts and so forth. So being able introduce a genuine representation of women’s surfing is refreshing for many female surfers and that has really helped our brand’s growth.
I read that you have a background in Architecture, how do you manage to incorporate that into your designs?
I think Coco Chanel said it best:
“Fashion is Architecture: it is a matter of proportions.”
Architecture is most clearly present in my designs: their functionality and aesthetics (proportions & color). Additionally, architecture and entrepreneurship are both about designing a solution within the limitations you are given. Designing a building may require adhering to safety codes while building a business often requires completing a project with a tight budget. Both situations call upon problem solving skills to be resolved. I constantly call on the skills I’ve learned in architecture to help me solve problems and move the brand forward.
How’s a typical day in your life running iaera surf?
What’s nice about running your own business is that you get to dictate your own schedule; however, that is also one of the most challenging things about running your own business. So, I would say, that each day starts with just that, deciding what is the most important and beneficial goal to accomplish today.
Everyday is different from the next, depending on the project at hand. I’m usually focusing on one or two big things that need to be accomplished. They can range from contacting and working with suppliers, networking for wholesale orders or cutting and creating samples.
What has been your proudest moment with iaera surf?
My proudest moments are when women tell me that they love iaera surf because we feature a diverse group of women with different body shapes and sizes. I’ve been told “it’s refreshing!” and “I love that you size for real people!” I want women to feel that iaera surf is representing them within surf culture, no matter how they look or how how much or little experience they have surfing. So it’s a proud day when I get that kind of feedback.
What distinguishes iaera surf from other brands?
Inclusive brand representation: Highlighting the diversity of women in the water as opposed to sticking with an “aspirational” look.
Size and fit: We have a true-to-size sizing system and our garments are cut and designed for a woman’s shape, not just what looks good on a model or magazine cover.
What is your favorite failure – something that you’re very grateful happened?
The first time I went to explore selling wholesale, I visited over 150 stores, from those visits I landed one account. This experience has taught me that sales is about the number of rejections you’re willing to take until you get one sale or land one deal. I’ve learned a lot about the market and have more to work with moving forward. iaera surf is a young brand and I don’t think i’ve failed enough just yet. I expect and welcome many more failures while building iaera surf.
Do you have any advice to someone who is barely picking up surfing as a hobby? How can iaera surf help?
Women send us messages all the time asking how to get started with surfing and I love these messages! I’m happy to answer any questions or give a little positive pep talk because I love surfing and I want others to feel good about it too.
But my one tip is: Make sure you’re having fun and don’t leave any space for negative talk. I’ve heard so many women say something along the lines of.... “I’m new, I suck” or “I’ve only been surfing for X amount of time but I’m not that good.” It’s easy to downplay our abilities and our potential when we are trying something new, I suppose it lets us expect less from ourselves, but doing so holds us back from truly enjoying the process of learning.
Where is your dream location to expose your brand to?
I would love to expose my brand in Japan.
What would you tell someone going through the brand developing process in the surf industry?
Stay true to yourself: your aesthetic, your beliefs and give us something special. Don’t just go for the industry look or standard.
What is one product from your line everyone should be getting their hands on?
Our Tani and Mazu Rash guard. The Tani is a traditional crew neck rash guard, redesigned and the Mazu is our signature cowl neck rash guard. Our brand was born out of making a great rash guard. Our rash guards have a better fit than other rash guards on the market. The Tani and Mazu include a darted bust and a curved hip which leave room for the shape of a woman's body and prevent rolling up and pinching around the waist. The sleeves are beautifully constructed they are double lined and tapered. They don’t become soggy when they get wet when you paddle. Also, the fabric is durable and warm and doesn’t become see through when it gets wet.
To check out our rashguards visit: iaera.surf/rashguards
Do you have a resource you refer to for inspiration?
Music is something always inspires me and is so easy to get lost in. I like playing the piano or guitar and I really enjoy singing. Music serves as a way for me to recharge. Building a business demands a lot of creativity and inspiration and you can get burnt out from constantly expecting more from yourself.
What do you love the most about being a creative person?
Being a creative person has allowed me to explore many different mediums: music, painting, writing, drawing. I’m curious and naturally interested in many topics. I love to ask questions. I don’t think I could ever get bored, I can always find something to deconstruct and recreate.