Kim Snead, the brilliant and creative mind behind Isla James Swimwear, grew up in South Carolina, but has been living in Jacksonville on and off since 1996. Growing up on an island in South Carolina became “the core of who I am” explained Snead, so much so that she named her first swimwear collection “The Barrier Island Collection” which launches this spring. Snead says it’s, “the perfect metaphor, a beautiful piece of the whole, barely disconnected, yet all its own.”
Snead is backed by a team of inspired individuals that includes her husband, Jason, two sons, Gunner and Wyatt, and an amazing Sales Director, Misty. That team helps Snead with her insatiable urge to create quality pieces that not only make you look beautiful, but feel beautiful.
“I am a huge believer of the law of attraction, positive energy, and trying to pour as much love and passion as I can into something, believing that if you do that, the rest will take care of itself,” she said.
Q: Tell us a bit about the history of Isla James?
A: The idea behind Isla James has been around for a very long time, it just needed the right pieces to fall into place and the timing to be right for it to become a reality.
Q: What is your background in fashion?
A: My grandmother taught me to sew when I was young and I’ve been obsessed with customizing garments ever since. I’ve always had the desire to make things that make me or someone else feel beautiful.
Q: What made you realize that there was a void in the swimwear industry that you needed to fill?
A: I just felt that there’s always a market for quality backed with passion. We use the best materials and pour love and positive energy into everything we produce and let the laws of attraction handle the rest.
Q: What were people’s first reactions to your work?
A: It’s been so exciting to see people connect with what I’m doing. It’s always scary to put your heart into something and the present it to the public. You feel so exposed. So when people really connect and appreciate what you’re doing, it’s one of the most special feelings there is.
Q: What is your creative process?
A: I’m always pulling from my environment. Nature is the dominant inspiration. The energy, patterns and colors are a constant inspiration. I have a room full of plants surrounded by pages and pages of pictures and color cards tacked to the wall that I draw from. I try to surround myself with my passions and then some good music, sleeping kiddos, a sketch book … and maybe a glass of wine, are all I need.
Q: Designing your own swimwear line and starting your own business is not easy. What has challenged you the most?
A: The balance. It’s a labor of love and I love every second of it, but balancing time between very active boys and running the needs of the line has been a challenge, but one that I relish.
Q: What was your “I’ve made it” moment?
A: Really, it’s every time someone connects with what I’m doing. I feel re-inspired every time someone comments on social media or emails me and says how they feel and look great or that they connect with our vibe. I feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to do.
Q: Where can we find Isla James?
A: Locally, LulaMae, Gwen Berlin and Blue Water Boutique (opening this spring) along with other retailers in Hawaii and California, as well as online retailers. Check out our website, IslaJamesSwimwear.com, for details.
Q: What is the overall message that you want the Isla James brand to embody?
A: Isla James feels that same desire for an effortless, unforgettable style. We think that you should leave behind just as beautiful of a memory as the ones you take with you. She is inspired by the energy, smells, tastes and sights of the journey, any journey.