BOLD Women – Naomi Young

BOLD Women – Naomi Young

Meet Naomi Young, the creative mind and driving force behind YoungSurf! Born into a legacy of surfing greatness, Naomi's adventures as an air hostess sparked a fire for ethical consumerism and sustainability. With a fusion of chic design and eco-awareness, YoungSurf brings you products that blend style with meaning. Join us as we deep dive into Naomi's journey, from bold beginnings to the challenges of entrepreneurship. Get inspired by her wisdom and invaluable advice for overcoming hurdles along the way.

1. Naomi, growing up entrenched in surf culture and the outdoors could you please tell us about your journey and inspiration with your latest venture?

I was born to the beach being the eldest child of Nat Young, one of surfing's tribal elders. As a young woman, I travelled the world as a first-class international airhostess experiencing the value systems of many cultures, seeing firsthand the true human cost of consumerism and capitalism and seeing the inherent beauty in local art and craft. All of which have impacted who I am today. Throughout my life I have also founded, developed, and run successful fashion and homewares businesses. Over the years I’ve developed partnerships with local and international suppliers, having had the opportunity to work with them through all stages of both the development and operation of those businesses. YoungSurf is the culmination of research and design and years of thought. YoungSurf combines my passion for elegant design, care for self and the environment, ethical business practices and a desire to upcycle and reinvigorate both the raw materials used in my products and the partners I’ve chosen to make them.

2. Having the guts to be bold and own your own journey is something we admire about our 'bold women' did you face any setbacks when you started out?

I was heavily affected by the 2022 floods in Byron Bay, my home at the time, and lost many priceless memories. It was a devastating time for me and one of the most challenging I’ve endured in my life. YoungSurf was just starting to become a reality for me, and I was preparing to put the wetsuits into production. When the floods hit, I had to set the business aside to uproot from my home, which was all but destroyed by flood water, to move to Sydney and find a new home, new job, furniture and relocate what was left of my possessions. When I landed in Sydney I found temporary accommodation, picked up a few casual jobs and started surf coaching. I had also partnered with a business manager who claimed he was going to help me make YoungSurf a global brand however it wasn’t to be – he not only failed at achieving any kind of results, but he also belittled my intelligence and ability and tried to buy me out of my own business, knowing that it was destined for success. I stopped working with him and found a better team to have around me because I know how essential it is to have that business support.

3. As an authority in your own right how do you create a story, one that takes people on a journey with you?

I simply draw on my own experiences, passion, and beliefs. I’m a spiritual person and believe that if my story resonates with others then they will be drawn to me. I always speak what I feel and what I’m thinking. I believe that surfing is an artform and I share that art with people I meet through my actions, my words and my wetsuits. It is my life.

4. In the beginning you had a vision; what gave you the courage to own your story to the level you needed to?

I owe my courage and determination partly to my parents, but I think also to my own level of determination, and independence that I’ve developed over the years through my travel, personal and cultural experiences. My parents have shown me in their own way how best to cope with life’s challenges. My mum, coping with us while Dad travelled the world surfing and with her determination to give us the best life she could after leaving him. My dad for his determination to be the best at something he was passionate about; surfing. I knew that my idea was worth pursuing because I lived the reality every time I went in the water. The sun would burn the skin on my hands and neck and my skin felt and looked older than it was. I couldn’t find a wetsuit anywhere that protected me adequately enough and was a truly beautiful garment to wear in the water. So, I made one.

5. Undoubtedly, we all face challenges when starting out - what mechanisms did you use to overcome these challenges?

I put it down to a positive mindset and fierce determination. I never give up. I am under no illusion that I can’t do everything to make this business a success. I understand that I am not brilliant at everything and I believe that business success is achievable with the right team of people around me to do the things I know I can’t. I am humbled and grateful by the amount of people around me that care about my success and support my journey. I also believe that self-education is key to success. Prior to starting YoungSurf I knew it was imperative that I educate myself to be able to scale my business. I don’t leave everything to the experts. I learn as much as I can so I understand what they do, and I can make informed decisions because knowledge is power.

6. Making Bold decisions throughout your life and your career would have become imperative to thrive if I said "She lived a bold life" what does that mean to you?

Seizing the opportunity when it presents itself, without hesitation, and being an authentic person; speaking up about issues that are important to me and having integrity in everything I do. Most importantly, having faith in myself, my decisions, and the people I have surrounded myself with so I can go forward with confidence in everything I do.

7. Speaking of bold, what is the boldest move you have ever made? What did it take to show up like that?

Starting YoungSurf during COVID! I took a giant leap of faith to do something I was truly passionate about. That passion and my determination has led me to develop a beautiful product that will help so many women protect their precious and vulnerable skin from the elements and I’m so proud of that. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time. It really took guts and having the right people around me, an open mind and a willingness to learn and harness the energy that goes into starting up a company. I won’t lie, my road has been less than smooth - utterly terrifying at times, but I’m here now, I made it through the challenges and my determination is stronger than ever.

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