Beachroad Magazine meet Dubai based Aussie Rachael Sherriff the founder of Dubai based swimwear brand Seakiss.
After finding her first pair of surf bikini's in Costa Rica whilst on a surf camp 'Surf Simply'. It was all that was needed to plant the seed for Rachael to design the ultimate surf bikini that looked good yet stayed on!
In Bellangin Bali in 2013 whilst on a girls surf trip, SEAKISS was first sketched out. Whilst atop a cliff in a paddock with roaming cows overlooking the long reef surf break, the first designs were put to paper and after two years of prototypes and hands on learning of the industry, the collection 'The Tropics' was released in January 2015.
The Seakiss designs are inspired by Rachael's favourite tropical surf destinations & pays homage to breaks in Bali, Maldives, Mexico, California & Costa Rica.
How long have you been in Dubai Rachael?
I arrived in Dubai nearly 10 years ago to be closer to my siblings and was only meant to stay for 6 months to take a reprieve from a very busy life in Sydney. Within the first month I scored an amazing job working for a family and ended up doing lots of surf travel.
I stayed on with them for 8 years! Seakiss was conceptualised and developed during those years and it came to fruition online and in retail stores in 2014.
Where do you like to eat and shop in our community?
I’m a massive supporter of The Surf House near Sunset Beach in Umm Suqeim, I love their healthy Açaí berry bowls paired with a strong macchiato.
A lot of my shopping is done there for surf wax, board accessories & repairs. They also stock Seakiss so I get to chat to customers and get invaluable feedback!
For café food I love Bystro, which is near the Al Manara Interchange and for gluten free treats Omnia Gourmet at the Jumeirah Fishing village – a healthy indulgence!
Your take on Dubai and the speed of its growth and what the future holds.
Dubai is a powerhouse; it is awe inspiring how it has evolved from pure desert to one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the modern world. My family has been here for over 20 years and it’s incredible what has been built in that time. I think the leaders of this country should be so proud of their aim for a self-sustainable city.
Infrastructure like the Al Maktoum Airport will make Dubai the biggest travel hub in the world and it is this foresight which will keep it moving forward. However, I hope with the continued growth they preserve more nature. The man made islands off the coast have stopped the swell coming in, so it has limited surfing to only a few beaches. The Ras al Khor flamingo area is stunning, so I hope they keep the natural elements, as these are timeless in their own right.
What inspired you to start SeaKiss and any challenges involved?
I simply couldn’t find functional swimwear so I set off on a journey to make them! I have had many challenges along the way but I have learnt so much. I am self taught in Illustrator and have designed and constructed the website. It has allowed me to learn so many things other than just swimwear production, which is a beast unto itself.
It requires an exhaustive amount of time to fulfill all roles, which a larger company might have 10 people employed for. However it has made me resourceful, open to change and adaptable to each situation.
Do you stay in Dubai for the summer or head somewhere cooler?
I usually travel for July and August. In past years I have gone surfing for a month and then try to visit Australia to see my family.
Any projects you are currently working on and future plans.
As we speak I am in research mode in Australia, designing the next range. The aim is to get more retail stores in Australia within the next summer period of November/December.
Rachael answers the Beachroad Magazine Q&A //
NAME? // Rachael Sherriff
YOUR FIRST JOB? // Working in a café. I had to prep all the onions on day 1 and then the owner didn’t pay me… Needless to say I didn’t return the next day!
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // Designer and Director of Seakiss Swimwear.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // My partner Dylan Rees and surfing.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Sharks.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // Funny enough standing up at my crib when I was a toddler and catching a glimpse of the movie my dad was watching in the bedroom, and it was Jaws!
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // Bethany Hamilton. After getting her arm taken by a tiger shark she persevered with her disability to get back to a professional surfing career. She surfed up until she was 8 months pregnant and after the birth of her son of 6 months, she made a come back as a wild card entry at Trestles in California last year.
She just recently knocked out some big names and came third in Fiji. She is effortlessly down to earth, humble and thankful for her life. She really is a true inspiration and changes the concept of disability into making it with pure ability.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // A loyal online customer of Seakiss got a yoga t-shirt and long cover-up as a thank you for their support!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Don’t grow up! Stay as young as you can, for as long as you can. You have your whole life to be an adult and only a few years to enjoy all the wonder and innocence of youth!
IF YOU COULD HAVE A MEAL WITH ANYONE ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // My Grandmother, who passed away two years ago. Ma was an amazing artist. I’d love to show her the swimwear and how I choose the prints, the process and the design side. I know she would just be fascinated by it all and we could have one last cup of tea together!
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // I can have OCD tendencies. Which is a good thing for retail but at home it can be testing!
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Negativity. I’ve made a conscious effort to only surround myself now with positive, impactful people and it has lifted my life enormously!
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // A mix of Gwenyth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz.
FAVOURITE MUSIC // Angus and Julia Stone.
LAST RECORD YOU BOUGHT? // Paint Me Like a Frenchgirl by Roxy Nel.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // For the love of surf, a photo book of women’s surfing.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // The cookbook “I quit sugar”.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // Probably surfing in Sri Lanka with my friend Donna, we had no idea a 3 metre crocodile was swimming past us, until those that were on the shore watching told us later. I won’t ever surf that spot again and unfortunately it was one of my favorites!
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Anything that’s tropical where I can surf in a bikini! I keep returning to Bali, Maldives and Sri Lanka because it’s guaranteed to have good waves and good times.
LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // China. Having said that I only went for business and was in an industrial area. I’m sure there are beautiful places but I just haven’t experienced them.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Take my dogs to the beach all day. Surf, tan and kick back.
WHY DUBAI? // I needed a change from my life in Sydney and my family was here at the time. I really missed travelling once I returned back to Australia from London so it seemed like a good next step.
ARE YOU SPORTY? // Yes! Anything to do with the beach – I love paddle boarding, beach yoga and of course surfing!
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach any day! Though there is exceptional beauty in the desert I am just always drawn to the ocean.
FAVOURITE BEACH? // It’s a secret! But it’s north and it has an amazing beach break!
URBAN OR RURAL? // Rural. I grew up in a coastal farming area in Australia and after living in Dubai, London and Sydney my urbanization is slowly changing back to my roots. As I get older I appreciate open spaces and air quality more and more!
CATS OR DOGS? // Dogs. I’m actually nicknamed ‘Mother of Doggies’. We relate well to each other.
COFFEE OR TEA? // I am obsessed with coffee but I actually had doctors orders to ease up. Apparently 5 double espressos before midday was excessive! I also do love tea so any hot drink usually goes down well!
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // Dylan Rees, my partner in life. He can turn any situation to make it positive. He makes me laugh all the time.
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // Abused animals.
YOUR MESSAGE? // You are the average of the people you surround yourself with. Find the ones that lift you up: love them, cherish them and never take them for granted. The same goes for listening and cherishing your body. We only have one shot at this life and one body to take us through, it deserves to be respected, exercised and loved.
Seakiss is available at The Surf House