To celebrate the beginning of the summer holidays, we spoke to Inês and Catarina from Portuguese swimwear brand Paper Boat. Motherhood, sustainability and the collaboration with Beatrice & Bee were some of the topics we talked about.
How do you describe yourselves as women, mums and entrepreneurs?
Inês: I’m 42 years old and I’ve 2 children: Sofia, 8 years old, and Pedro, 7 years old. I always had a good balance between family and my professional life as an architect and now as an entrepreneur. It’s hard, but with a big effort, resilience, organisation and hard work, it’s possible. I always do the school run, dropping and picking up my children at school and taking them to all after school clubs and activities. My children also make part of all the activities of Paper Boat so it can be a 2 in 1, making it a family business.
Catarina: I’m also 42 years old and I'm a mother-of-3: Manuel, Maria and António. I work as an architect and interior designer. Two years ago, something happened in my life that made me give more value to things that I used to take for granted. Due to that, I started organising all my professional life to have more time for myself and for the family.
Why did you decide to create a swimwear brand together?
Inês: We always loved fashion. We’re best friends since the beginning of university and we always shared the interest in fashion, reading magazines e trying outfits together. When we became mums, we extended that interest for the childrenswear.
When I turned 40, I decided that I needed something new in my life, a new challenge where I could use my creativity. At the same time, my daughter Sofia was always asking me for new bikinis and swimsuits. That’s how I decided to put together these two wishes and I started doing some research for this project. After the first drawings, I invited Catarina to be my partner on this adventure. Paper Boat was born in 2019 on Mother’s Day, so the project belongs to us but also to our children. They’re the ones that approve patterns, try the samples and they're the models of the photoshoots. Basically, they’re our biggest inspiration!
Where do you find inspiration to design your swimsuits?
Catarina: I find inspiration in the daily life of my children, travels and places where we go.
Portugal is a country with a long coast and many beaches. Does that also influence your work?
Catarina: The beach is part of our life, including childhood memories. Our grandparents are from seaside towns, Nazaré, on western central coast, and Vila Real de Santo António, in Algarve. We always spent the 3 months of summer holidays in the beach. Our children also love being in the beach and by the pool, so when there’s a little ray of sunshine we head to the closest beach!
How do you describe your swimsuits?
Inês: Since the beginning, our main goal was making an original and quality product that our children would love. We focus in designing unusual styles, original prints and mix different kinds of patterns. We love frills and bows and our prints are designed exclusively by us. As we didn't have any background in the textile industry, everything we’ve been doing has been a big challenge. We’re always learning and growing up at the same time as the brand.
Are they eco-friendly and responsibly made?
Catarina: We care about quality and sun protection for our babies and children. All our lycras have UPF 50+ sun protection. The plain ones are made from recycled plastic waste from our oceans. The boys shorts can also dry very fast and have antibacterial treatment.
We believe in responsible methods and sustainable production, that’s why we only work with materials made in Portugal and all styles are handcrafted here too so we can control the all process. We design our swimsuits and the workshops make our dreams come true!
How do you see this collaboration with Beatrice & Bee in London?
Inês: We’re loving working with Maria and having the opportunity to bring to the UK a little bit of Portugal. We hope that the British market enjoy our products and we’ll be able to keep this collaboration and keep growing up together.
Shop the swimsuits from this collaboration here.