Rachel Tabbouche – Co-founder of Undercover Waterwear

Rachel Tabbouche is the co-founder of the Undercover Waterwear line of swim dresses, swim skirts, swim tops, and swim leggings, which are all made from a special swim fabric that is UPF 50+. With these fashions, you can have all of the sun and beach fun without skin damage hazards! Undercover Waterwear developed a full line of swimwear for the modest woman who wants to enjoy being active and looking good. With a swim dress or swim skirt you can enjoy any water activity; such as swimming, jet-skiing, boating, or going to water parks looking fabulous and staying modest.

Where did the idea for UnderCover WaterWear come from?

My sister (and partner) came up with the concept of modest swimwear before anyone even heard about it! Melissa summers in the Jersey Shore and, being a modest Orthodox Jew, she wanted something to wear to the pool while spending time with family and friends. Her prototype was a far cry from the beautiful styles and prints that we currently sell, but the concept was there. It was all about creating a garment that looks neat and fashionable and can be worn in the water.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Being a mother and business owner is a challenging balance. On the one hand there are benefits, particularly not having to be in the office 9-5 and being able to work on my own schedule. The difficult part is the fact that work never ends and it takes a lot of time and self-discipline to build the right boundaries for my family life while still being fully focused on work. The best tools that I’ve found to help me be productive is a notebook! Writing down long-term and short-term goals for work helps me stay focused.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Bringing ideas to life is one of my favorite parts of the job! It’s so rewarding to have a vision and then see it come to life. I know that it may be scary, as we all have a fear of failure and what if the idea is silly? But with the right support system of people that you trust and, most importantly, with trust in your own intuition (and of course God), anything is possible!

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The trend that I’m most excited about is modesty! It’s just amazing to me that we brought the concept of modest swimwear to the market just a few years before modesty became a hot trend!

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m not sure if I’d call it a habit, or just my nature, but I’m a very idealist, dreamer type of person. This has helped me tremendously, because I’ve had these visions of what our business could be before it was the substantial, viable business that it is today.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

My worst job wasn’t the job, it was my own lack of responsibility and experience. I taught for a year in a school. Although I loved the environment and enjoyed interacting with the students, I remember myself working on the lesson just 2 hours before class! I think it was important for my personal growth, because I’ve learned that you need to give something your 100% effort. No matter what the task is at hand, it’s for your own self respect to do your best.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I’m so blessed with the way things have turned out, that I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way! We’ve had so many blessings by starting small and taking continual baby steps towards our goal. Because I learned everything I know on the job, I didn’t risk much when I messed up (which was plenty of times!).

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I find it extremely beneficial to always branch out and meet new people in my field or in a similar field. I’ve learned so much from special people who want to help or guide me. But that comes with a caveat…when you meet people, you have to actually be open to hear what they’re saying. An example of this is when a mentor of mine suggested that we sell on Amazon. My reaction was, ‘Who’s buying a swim dress on Amazon?’ But after a few months, and a slow process, we started building our Amazon business and it’s become very successful!

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Since we are in a niche business, focusing on customer service has helped us tremendously. We have a wonderful customer service representative, whom we initially hired on a temporary basis. She’s just so warm and helpful, that we get dozens of comments and emails telling us how great she is. This is very beneficial for us, because it helps us build brand loyalty.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest failure so far was going to the Miami Swim Show. I had to push my partners to do it, but, unfortunately, we weren’t ready for it. That was about 3 years ago. But the amazing part of the story is that although we didn’t come out successful at the show, it led us to opening a small shop in Miami! We realized that Miami is busy year-round with tourists and beach-goers, and what better place to sell Undercover Waterwear?!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I have this idea of building a housewear company that is trendy and educational. This has nothing to do with swimwear, but I just felt like it could fill a void.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“I recommend entrepreneurs to read ‘Daring Greatly‘ by Brenee Brown. I’ve read it a few times now, and each time a different idea comes true to myself. I love that she writes about opening yourself to vulnerability (which I mentioned earlier). That if you’re scared to fail and hold yourself back from showing the world the real you, you’ll never know your true self and true potential.

I also love how she discusses the concept of being genuine. I think a famous quote is ‘You’re only as dark as your deepest secret’. If you’re hiding things in your life, it only makes you feel bad about yourself. Obviously, you have to know whom to open up to, as it should be someone who has earned your trust.”