It’s only in silence that we will be able to listen to ourselves and to our God.

JESSICA REY

Jessica Rey

Not only is Jessica a boss lady, but she actually beats up the bad guys. She starred as the White Power Ranger on the Disney show, Power Rangers: Wild Force. Although she continued her television career, she decided to put her MBA to use and started Rey Swimwear.

After eight years of founding Rey Swimwear, Jessica launched a line of dresses, skirts, and tops– Estella. Both Rey Swimwear and Estella draw inspiration from Audrey Hepburn- timeless and feminine.

Jessica speaks passionately about chastity, modesty, and womanhood. In her book, Decent Exposure, she captures the importance of the dignity of a woman.

Jessica lives in Southern California with her husband and beautiful three kids.

What was the path that led you to discovering your mission and founding Rey Swimwear?

 

I was an actress in Hollywood- a place where people are valued by their looks and their talent. It started to wear on me- it’s exhausting actually. I was being treated like an object- judged, stared up and down at castings and auditions day after day. There are some moments that I wanted to scream, “I am more! I am more than what I look like- I am more than what I can do! I am a human being. I am beautiful- not because of what’s on the outside, not because of what I can do- because I was made that way!” Because I spent every day at the pool in the bikini, that’s where it all started for me.

 

THE EVOLUTION OF THE SWIMSUIT
JESSICA REY | QIDEAS.ORG

Your motto for the swimwear line is “Who says it has to be itsy bitsy?” What’s the story behind that?

Two things-

  1. When shopping for a swimsuit years ago, itsy bitsy bikinis were all I could find. The only one-piece or tankini style suits I came across were for ladies two or three times my age or little girls. There was a stereotype that if you didn’t wear an itsy bitsy bikini, you were ashamed of your body or a prude.
  2. Of course, the song by Brian Hyland also came to mind.

 

Ethical fashion is incredibly important to you. Can you tell us more about what that means for your company specifically? How does that impact the way you do business?

 

When I first started this journey, I knew absolutely nothing about the clothing industry. As I knocked on factory doors, my eyes were opened to the fact that sweatshops exist- not just in other countries, but right here in the USA! I was shocked, but also determined to do things the right way with factories that treat people with dignity and respect. After all, those are the principles Rey Swimwear is founded upon. We also source ethically either using fabric made in local mills or regenerated fabric we just started using from Italy. This fabric is amazingly soft and made from rescued fish nets and other post consumer waste. I feel that sourcing and manufacturing in this manner respects both people and the environment and gives our products deeper meaning and purpose.

 

 

You recently co-authored a book, Decent Exposure, about living decently in an overexposed world. What wisdom would you share with women looking to follow your advice?

Always be authentic- even if you are afraid people will stop being your friend or will criticize you. I think people nowadays don’t spend enough time in deep reflection. It’s so hard to get away from the “noise” in the world that we start to think these external thoughts/ideas are our own. But it’s only in silence that we will be able to listen to ourselves and to our God.

 

What’s one discovery you’ve made about yourself as your business has grown?

I am an introvert. When I tell people that, they don’t believe me. I, too, did not believe it at first because I seem so full of energy when I’m with a lot of people. However, I need “me” time to recharge- constantly. If I don’t get that, I crash and burn.

 

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Do you think you made a good decision when you did it?

The craziest thing I’ve ever done is buy a one-way ticket to Italy. It was the first time I’d ever lived away from my family and friends and I didn’t speak any Italian. I studied the language with a tutor everyday and wandered around the city during the week. On weekdays, I took the train wherever I felt like going. There were times that I felt so lonely and lost and wondered, “what am I doing here? What a stupid idea!” But, I grew as a person- instead of going with the crowd, I had to make up my own mind about everything.

What does your relationship with God look like?

Constant conversation. Sometimes ugly fights because of my stubbornness (which I always lose). Normally feeling like I’m not in control (which I hate) leading me to greater trust and peace(and an irritation with myself of ‘why didn’t I just do this in the first place?’).

 

What’s a scripture that means the most to you and why?

 

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

-Matthew 6: 25-34

My mom was a worrier. I am a worrier. Every single day, I have to remind myself that I am not ultimately in control. I have to tell myself to trust, trust, trust. I have a plan, but it may not be the best plan (in fact, it’s usually not).

 


Estella, by Jessica Rey
 

What’s an idea or habit that you’ve learned from someone else that has influenced how you do business?

Observing the Sabbath. Hands down, best advice I’ve been given. If I can’t do it on Sunday, I make sure I take another day off to rest and recharge. It’s difficult, as an entrepreneur, not to work every second of every day. But wow. Once I started taking one day off a week, my life was changed.

 

Do you have an “average day”? If so, what does it look like? If not, what would a perfect business day look like?

 

An average day is waking up to all 3 kids in my bed- they wander in at different times during the night/early morning. The first thing I do when I wake is pray. If I don’t do that, my day usually goes downhill from there. My toddlers help me make breakfast (I’m teaching them to cook) and then they play while I check email. They get dressed for school and then I put on my homeschool teacher hat. We break for lunch and then the baby goes down for a nap while we finish our lessons. My husband comes home early afternoon and I head to the office. I come home to make dinner and put kids to sleep, then get the rest of my work done while the house is quiet.

 

It takes a lot of grit to make it in any industry, but the fashion industry especially. What has surprised you as a something that took much more work than you expected?

 

Getting factories to meet deadlines has been a frustrating process. When I first started, I don’t think any of my deadlines were ever met and I couldn’t understand why. Then, I realized it was because my production was getting pushed for larger, more important clients. I was constantly told, “next week.” Then the following week, “next week.” I never knew I should have legally binding contracts with factories to hold them accountable.

 

The majority of your sales happen online – why do you think that is? What has made your online storefront successful?

 
Most people have heard about me and my brand via social media or ‘The Evolution of the Swimsuit’ talk I gave, so it’s easy for them to click through to my website. Consumers want products that are unique, that can’t be found in every store. They want to buy from brands that they can relate to, brands that they feel good about supporting. I think my online storefront gives people an experience they can’t get in a brick and mortar shop.

 

Rey Swimwear is now worn by women in 19 countries, and you have an extremely international following on social media. How do you manage that? What do you think gives your swimwear such world-wide appeal?

It’s funny because the last place on earth we thought our swimsuits would be popular is Brazil (home of the Brazilian bikini). However, there has been a surprising outpouring of love and kind messages from there. This showed me that people love, not just the swimsuits (they can get swimsuits anywhere), but the message behind them- dignity, beauty, confidence, and comfort. I don’t mean comfort as in soft fabrics (and yes, they are super soft), but interior comfort, which results in peace of mind. Who doesn’t want to feel that while wearing a swimsuit?

 

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to someone looking to get into the fashion industry?

  1. Hustle
  2. Find a mentor
  3. Hustle some more

 

What does your community support system look like? Do you have mentors, mentees, peer groups?

 
I have amazing mentors. It’s difficult to find peer groups- especially if I am looking for female entrepreneurs who are also wives and mothers, but I do have a group of ladies who have been supportive and encouraging along this journey.

 

FOLLOW THE JOURNEY


We’d like to thank Jessica for her time and for sharing her story with our community. If you enjoyed this feature leave a comment below and share it with it friend!

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