The Zulu & Zephyr Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves, and Their Mini People



The women and sisters behind Bondi-born and now Byron-based lifestyle brand Zulu & Zephyr know a thing or two about swimwear. Their iconic bikini separates and one pieces combine sleek and sporty silhouettes with an undeniable sexy edge that appeals to every body shape, and their accompanying resort wear pieces, including cult denim and clothing with an easy, throw-on appeal, look as good on the beach as they do on the street...

If that’s not impressive enough, both Candice Rose O’Rourke and Karla Rose are now juggling a growing fashion business with four little people between them, which means business and family are intrinsically combined. As the sisters explain, “The balance is tricky and we are still trying to perfect the formula… If we are at home too much, we go crazy and if we are at work too long – we get lonely. Today, we are lucky to be supported by partners and families who share the big crazy and ever-growing journey with us.”

Read on to hear more from Candice and Karla on motherhood, the secret to a great swimsuit, and how the inception of their latest baby, Zulu & Zephyr Mini (it launches tomorrow!), an adorable collection of mini swimsuits and resortwear created with style and function in mind, came about.

Words: Marisa Remond | Go to www.zuluandzephyr.com


Tell us a bit about Zulu & Zephyr, how did the brand come to life?

Zulu & Zephyr was launched in the summer of 2012 from our apartment in Bondi Beach. We were literally walking along the sand when we began discussing the concept for an accessible and irresistible label that offered well thought out, designer pieces. Influenced by our love of the beach, we began with a small, print focused swim and apparel collection at the markets –  to today, where we are stocked in 120 boutiques globally.


How do you both combine your work with Zulu & Zephyr with motherhood?

The balance is tricky and we are still trying to perfect the formula. What used to be babies in bassinets at the office – is now four vibrant and energetic children who want to hang out with their mummies. For us – we love our jobs, so we have to balance both environments. If we are at home too much, we go crazy and if we are at work too long – we get lonely. Today, we are lucky to be supported by partners and families who share the big crazy and ever-growing journey with us.


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Tell us about working with your sister, any pros or cons? How is the family dynamic between you and your little ones?

I think motherhood has made us kinder to one another. We became more flexible, understanding and supportive as business partners and friends when we had our babies. We are one of those families who are always in each others pockets – our kids will grow up on the beach together just as we did!


You will be launching Zulu & Zephyr Mini soon, how did the decision to expand into children’s wear come about? What can we expect from the first collection?

Many of our Zulu & Zephyr customers have grown with us and as mothers and designers, we felt experienced enough to offer something functional for all the little Zulu’s and all the little Zephyr’s this summer. We combined cute shapes, cool fabrics in beautiful colourways for ZZ Mini ensuring it was practical too. Made up of bikinis, one pieces, beach trunks, rash shirts and throw-overs with zip detailing and drawcord waists to allow for ever-growing bodies. Our kids even feature in the campaign shoot. It felt really natural, fun and close to our heart.


Your swimwear has gained cult status with those in the know, can you tell us what makes a really great swimsuit?

We are known for our prints and use of unique fabrics in the swim category but in the design room, the perfect fit is really important to us. We offer a range of styles to suit every body shape – tie sides; bralette, one piece, triangle and underwire cups; high cut, full brief, cheeky brief – so that every woman wearing ZZ feels confident and beautiful. There are a lot of elements to consider when producing a really great swimsuit – fabrication, style, shapes and prints – and customers tell us they love what we do time and time again.


What type of mums are you - calm, relaxed, routine, etc? What does a typical morning look like in your households?

Candice is routine, stern and cuddly. Karla is more relaxed and spontaneous. Both households look chaotic in the morning – and usually involves a coffee run, swim at the beach and surf checks with Dad.


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Can you each list 3 things that keeps you sane/you swear by/can’t live without right now?

Candice: Coffee, my husband and fresh air!
Karla: Coffee, beach, healthy food!


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