When it comes to holidays, it doesn't get much better than Byron.
Brilliant beaches, emerging designer labels, sustainable tourism, the best of Australian food … It’s no mystery why Byron Bay remains the holiday destination of choice for so many Australians.
If you’re headed there in 2020, here’s your ultimate guide to exploring the town, thanks to the founder of Byron-based Salt Gypsy, Danielle Clayton. Now, will you just take us with you?
Where’s your favourite cafes to go in Byron?
Another one in Bruns – La Casita. Best margaritas and lamb tacos this side of the Shire!
What beaches do you go to for surfing?
Our local beaches are north of Byron but when the conditions are right, we love heading down to Broken Head and Tallow’s. And on smaller days Wategoes with a bunch of mates is awesome – if you can find a park!
When did you first start surfing and what do you love most about being in the water?
I first started surfing around 15 years old but grew up on the coasts of New Zealand swimming, snorkelling, bodyboarding and body surfing. As a teenager, I saved up enough money from my after-school job to buy a second-hand shortboard and spent the longest time learning to surf – on a shortboard..on Auckland’s west coast – not the fastest way to progress that’s for sure! But throwing myself into west coast shoredumps and storm swells over those years helped build my resilience and tenacity – and that’s what I love about being in the water: the power it has to make you feel strong physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Tell us about the launch of Salt Gypsy…
Salt Gypsy began as my personal blog in 2012 while I worked on a surf charter boat in the Maldives.
I wanted to create a platform to showcase cool indie women’s surf labels that had launched over the three years prior as there was simply nothing in existence at that time to find out about these brands, and while surfing for months on end surrounded by blokes, I needed a way to connect with like-minded female surfers. Living and surfing in the tropics for several years meant I was increasingly conscious of sun damage and could not find any surf leggings in the marketplace that suited my personal style and budget.
I had a couple of pairs made for myself and began blogging shots of me wearing them in the surf. At the end of the 2012 season and after feedback from other female surfers, I floated the idea of customisable surf leggings to the fledgling community I had been building through the blog and Facebook page, received a handful of orders and that was it.
I have been relentlessly developing the product and business ever since and from those first two pairs of surf leggings. We now offer a range of mix & matchable surf separates made here in Australia and have two great creative collaborations in place with a surfboard manufacturer, GSI, and a splash-proof bag brand, Le MU Australia.
What has been the most challenging part of running your own business?
Where do I even begin?! Definitely the un-sexy side of business that no-one really talks about – money, or lack of or how to manage it.
All the admin and operations that goes on behind the scenes especially when operating as an extremely lean start up, but there’s nothing like not knowing how you’re going to pay your rent to really light a fire under your butt and think outside the box to find solutions to your challenges.
And the most rewarding?
Hands-down, it is seeing firsthand in our Sea Bones store how amazing women (of different shapes and sizes) feel wearing our Salt Gypsy gear – this is a hard feat for skin-tight fabrics! To have conversations with people in person, hear their feedback on the cuts and prints, and visibly see how their confidence changes has been invaluable.
Byron Bay fashion essentials?
Sunscreen, bucket hat and anything made of out of hemp.
3 places we need to visit in Byron?
The Lighthouse coastal walk never gets old, nor does packing a picnic for a Wategoes beach session. Then a drive out to Newrybar for lunch at Harvest and a shop at the Newrybar Merchants.
Favourite shops in Byron?
Shameless plug but our women’s boutique, Sea Bones, is a cool little haven of local indie labels for discerning women of the sea. Other personal faves are the 11:11 and Hope & May stores down the road from us on Fletcher Street.
Most kid friendly places to go with your child?
The Farm, any of the Byron beaches, and a drive up to Brunswick Heads for its parks, river swims, mango gelato and Torakina Beach which is a lovely little inner-river beach haven (just got back from there this morning with the grommet).
Tell us about launching a range of surfboards designed exclusively for women...
This has been a very exciting opportunity for us, and we are stoked to be working with the team at GSI (Global Surf Industries) to bring this women’s range to market. The support GSI has provided for our small business has been amazing and recognises the under-represented yet increasing number of everyday female surfers who shape our entire lifestyle being in and around the ocean. With different volume allocations better suited for female paddlers, we’ve designed the range to cater to a variety of ages and abilities and our hope is that each board can be treasured and passed down from one generation to the next and I’m just obsessed with the colours!