Tess Daly talks body confidence and swimwear ‘You’re compromising your soul comparing yourself to others’

Whilst most of us were baking banana bread and upping our loungewear game during lockdown, presenter, model and mum of two Tess Daly was busy working on launching her swimwear brand, Naia Beach, alongside her best friend and now business partner Gayle Lawton.

However, the pandemic didn’t scupper their chances of launching a successful brand. Tess, 53, describes the venture as ‘challenging’, and told us, ‘It was a learning curve and a half, but if you can sell out during a pandemic, you can’t ask for more than that.’

The girls proved they were onto a winner. Feedback from customers has been nothing but positive, and it’s easy to see why. The collection is not only exceptionally glamorous but the duo have ensured their designs are figure flattering and supportive, so women feel body confident when they need it most.

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Their sense of achievement as female entrepreneurs, contagious positivity, and motivation is certainly inspiring- if you put your mind to something you really can achieve.

Here, the pals – who met at a dinner party a decade ago – talk about their brand and how to feel confident in your swimwear this summer…

Congratulations on the launch of your collection. You set up the brand in lockdown, right?

Gayle: We launched in March 2021, then everything changed.

Tess: Yeah, it was challenging with all the travel restrictions that were put in place. It was a learning curve and a half, but if you can sell out in a pandemic, you can’t ask for more. We’ve grown our range for this season and are proud of what we’ve achieved. The feedback from ladies wearing Naia makes all the hard work worth it.

The range is so figure-flattering. Was this an important design consideration for you?

Tess: Every day we get photos sent by women on holiday wearing Naia saying, “I’ve never felt this good in a swimsuit, I feel amazing. Thank you for bringing me confidence on my holidays.” When we put swimwear on we’re so exposed, we feel vulnerable. It’s quite scary. You want to feel as body-confident as you can and that’s what we strive to do with Naia. We’re women designing for women and we want to make you feel your most confident and beautiful.

Gayle: We couldn’t find any swimwear that made us feel confident. Simple as that.

One of the reasons you set up Naia Beach, you say, is that it was hard to find beautiful resort wear that fitted well?

Tess: There wasn’t anything that complimented a woman’s figure, or enhanced your best features, while disguising what you’d rather not see.

Gayle: It was one extreme to the other, skimpy and unsupportive or too covered up and not very glam. We wanted Naia to be timeless and ageless, so women in their twenties and sixties can wear it.

Tess: We want the swimwear to go away with you year-after-year on holiday.

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Do you have a favourite piece?

Tess: Selene, it’s my favourite swimsuit from the range. It’s the most flattering I’ve ever worn. It’s the little black dress of swimsuits.

What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?

Tess: You’ve got to keep a positive attitude – that’s why it’s brilliant working with your best mate. We laugh through the good times and the bad.

What strengths do you each bring to the table?

Tess: Gayle’s the hardest-working person I know. She doesn’t quit.

Gayle: I don’t like the word no. Tess is honest and motivated to always get things done. She has an amazing eye for detail.

How do you feel most confident on the beach?

Tess: I’d be in a kaftan.

Gayle: In something that fits well and I can do multiple things in.

Tess: That’s why we do kaftans, cover-ups and playsuits. You can use them over swimwear or as standalone pieces.

Any tips on buying swimwear?

Tess: It’s all about choosing a flattering cut, plus the fit. Make sure you feel comfortable.

Gayle: Buy something that has staying power and can multi-task. You can maybe wear it with a pair of trousers or shorts. Make sure it fits well and you feel nice in it because it’s a massive step in the right direction for body confidence.

What’s your advice to women who may not feel body-confident this summer?

Tess: Don’t give yourself a hard time. We’re all just human beings trying to do our best.

Gayle: I say to my son, rather than being judgemental, think about how it’s going to make that person feel, and be kind.

Tess: And be kind to yourself. You’re compromising your soul when you compare yourself with others. As women we are guilty of putting ourselves down, but let’s be a little bit kinder to each other and ourselves.

The Naia Beach collection is available at naiabeach.com


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