WINNING: Bargara mum Emily Gradon saw the need to protect her daughters Anelise and Lilia from the sun, now her business Tribe Tropical has earned a Good Design Australia award.
WINNING: Bargara mum Emily Gradon saw the need to protect her daughters Anelise and Lilia from the sun, now her business Tribe Tropical has earned a Good Design Australia award. Cassandra Kirk Photography

Bargara mum receives top award for swimwear

WHEN Bargara mum Emily Gradon entered the Good Design Australia Awards just days before it closed, she had no idea she'd be walking away a winner in a category that included Mick Fanning Surfboards and baby car seat maker Britax.

But her bright and colourful Tribe Tropical sun-safe swimwear for kids proved as popular with the judges as it has with her customers.

Taking out the Sport and Lifestyle category, the Good Design Australia Awards jury praised Tribe Tropical's swimwear, saying "the design goal of making sun-protection trendy and acceptable has been delivered in spades”.

"Inspired by Australian resort destinations the range appeals to children and parents,” they added.

"The long-term positive impact on sun-safety awareness through a product such as this is evident and in an era where damage from harmful UV sunlight is steadily growing, this is a good design solution with mass market appeal.”

Mrs Gradon said she was incredibly humbled and shocked to find out she'd won the award, which was announced at last night's gala event at The Star in Sydney.

For a home-grown business that started with the simple idea of protecting her girls Anelise and Lilia from the sun, it's a huge achievement.

"I was so surprised. I really didn't think I was worthy when I saw the competition,” Mrs Gradon said.

And it comes after an amazing few months. Mrs Gradon said since the NewsMail highlighted her business last December, she'd been blown away by community support and interest in her business.

"I had grandmas from Alloway and Childers ordering online for their grandkids,” she said.

"I'm now stocked in 10 locations across Queensland from Port Douglas to the Gold Coast.”

Mrs Gradon said her products even caught the eye of Singapore's trade minister and she'd been approached about getting her swimwear into the county, but said she wasn't yet in a position to take such a big leap.

"It's just me, I don't have a huge amount of stock,” she said

"I'm just doing what I can do without getting overwhelmed.”

Liaising with a graphic designer in Pakistan, who brings Mrs Gradon's ideas and patterns to life, the mum-of-two said she was working to add three more patterns to her collection this year as well as adding a number of boys' items and increasing the girls' range to include swimwear for babies as young as three months old.



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