Single Parent Mom, "Joanne Blake" Lifts Swim Caps to The Next Level With, London Made, Swimscarf!
Updated: Feb 15, 2022
Swimscarf is an innovative swim headscarf company designing functional yet fashionable self-tying silicone caps. There are two sizes Large and Medium designed to keep your hair completely dry during contact with water regardless of hair volume and length. Launched in 2017, Swimscarf hopes to partner with high-end retailers, independent swim and beachwear retailers across the globe. The Swimscarf is designed in London and is made from silicone rubber.
Since 2014 our goal has been to increase the functionality, look and feel of swimming caps. Encouraging more women of colour to swim and stay healthy. So far, our journey has given women of all backgrounds the opportunity to swim without the hassle of wet hair. The versatile Swimscarf has many uses swimming, steam cap, rain, and all water sports.
Joanne is a mother of two great kids’s her youngest was diagnosed with Diplegia Cerebral Palsy which affects his mental health, movements, and speech, her daughter is a university graduate.
Starting her own business had always been at the back of her mind but finding the time was near impossible. After the loss of both of her parents, she decided to follow her dreams.
During a routine checkup, her doctor discovered that her blood pressure was very high this was puzzling to them both. Joanne saw herself as a fitness fanatic who would often go running in her local park. The doctor suggested swimming to keep her Blood Pressure down, swimming became her new obsession but getting her hair wet was an inconvenience.
In the summer of 2014, the last goodbye to her parents. Joanne decided to take a break, while on holiday with her friends. Staying at a 5-star hotel in the Balearic Islands, guests were fashionistas. Lounging by the pool in the hot sun, Joanne wanted to jump in…to cool down, but her swim cap let her down. Embarrassed to wear it as it was tight and ill-fitting, always got her hair soaking wet. Joanne decided not to swim, instead sat by the pool burning in the sun, thinking if only there was something more glamorous, she’d wear it.
On her return home, Joanne made it her mission to create a swim cap. Something she would want to wear at the beach or at the pool, a cap that would protect her hair from chlorinated water.
Back to her swim routine whilst her son was at school, Joanne soon became frustrated with getting her hair wet and that's when the inspiration of the Swimscarf was born. The style was inspired by Joanne's mother's love of wearing headscarves. After trailing as many swim caps as possible she couldn’t find, she went about designing the Swimscarf. Swimscarf is perfect for wearing, braid’s, long hairstyles also suitable for her natural hair length. Now available online at www.swimscarf.co.uk
Joanne was beginning to notice how much energy she had, her BP was under control, she finally made the cap that kept her hair dry Swimscarf!
Anything is possible when you set your mind to it, you are never too old to start a business. There is lots of help out there, funding circles, mentors, start-up organizations that will help you to achieve your goals. For more information on Swimscarf and its availability, check out the website follow us on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram. Subscribe to our newsletter updates and events.
I had the opportunity to interview this amazing woman! Here is what she said.
Tell us about who you are and a little bit about your background?
My name is Joanne Blake, daughter of Jamaican settlers and the creator of the Swimscarf, the latest product to hit the swimming industry. I am a mother of two beautiful children, a full-time career to my youngest who has Cerebral Palsy. A hat collector, wearer and lover of music and dancing. My background is in retail and theatre. My creativity stems from my involvement in the theatre world where I have experience in everything from set design, product sourcing, spinning on the decks to small part acting.
Tell us about your business. What services do you offer?
My business started out of sheer frustration from getting my hair wet when swimming. The Swimscarf is a structured silicone rubber headscarf type of swim cap. Designed to hold hair with volume and length by tying and securing the cap to protect the hair from contact with water. I like to encourage all women especially those of the afro community to swim. I currently offer two sizes
When did you decide to start your own business and why?
I started my business in 2014 soon after I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. It was recommended that I take up swimming to control my BP as I did not want to go down the medicated route. The Swimscarf idea was inspired by my mum who wore head scarves around the home. The process of the Swimscarf took about three years of developing, testing, and trials to create the cap that would protect the hair from chlorinated water. I wanted to design a cap that not only looks great but keeps your hair dry hence the tying features. Today’s Swimscarf is stylish, versatile, and durable.
What would you say is the secret to a successful business?
The secret to a successful business is balance - it’s important to have a healthy physical and mental well-being in order to take on the challenges of a new business. As well as support from people around you.
Have you ever felt like you wanted to give up?
Yes, there have been days when I question why I am doing this but came to my senses. This was when I realized that I got this far virtually single-handed and am looking forward to the next chapter. Sometimes you have to take stock and be aware of your achievements.
Being an entrepreneur is like a rollercoaster ride you have many good days and some bad days too. Running your own business really isn’t for the faint hearted but every day is different, and the small wins are worth it especially when you are heading in the right direction. I never stop learning… I wear many hats literally Lol.
What was the biggest challenge that you have experienced owning a business?
My biggest challenge was cashflow and keeping tabs on all my expenditure. I started the business with a reasonable sum of money but wasn’t keeping an eye on my spending. It is super important to know your numbers. Get yourself a great accountant and not a good accountant.
Have you ever experienced negativity from those closest to you? Family or friends?
I tend to get more encouragement from friends and strangers. Never involve family, family can be discouraging they mean no harm they just want to protect you, I guess. A family member didn’t think I had it in me to take care of my disabled son and run a business I proved them and myself wrong.
Also surround yourself with as many smart people who can mentor you on all levels of business, take all the advice you get and run with it.
What advice would you give to new business owners?
Join networking groups, go to trade shows, don’t just rely on social media, the more people you get to know in your industry the easier it will be to push forward with your business. Always be polite and efficient in business always keep a professional head. You just don't know who might be watching you.
Are there any success quotes you’ve adapted that you now live by that you want to share to encourage others?
Never settling for less than you are worth…
There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
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