Where we have come from
While we may seem like a new kid on the block, we've actually been around since walkmans and roller skates. We have a sustainable growth approach, with a focus on creating great foundations and not rushing things that can be done right with a little more time and focus. We have big ideas, big goals and big dreams but our small family business has already achieved so much.
If you can't find it, make it!
It all started in the mid to late 80s when Prue was a professional surfer. There was little on offer in the way of swimwear to surf in, the options being a crochet bikini or a plain black one piece.
Fresh out of her studies majoring in textiles and pattern making, Prue got to work to make swimwear she wanted to surf in.
Party plan & Kid's clothing
It was a busy decade for Prue who had a new 'why'. With 4 kids in tow, she had a new reason to jump back on the sewing machine.
The family was the best dressed in town and she had a little kid's label KC's where friends and family would come over to choose fabrics and patterns for Prue to whip up new outfits for the local northern beaches kids.
Sticking with her roots, she was also making custom swimwear by Party Plan - yep like tupperware. Get your friends around, try on some styles, pick a fabric and Prue would custom make you a swimsuit.
The sewing 'room' in her garage was a hot spot for young families.
Taking over Mona Vale
A move from KC's to Catfish Designs and the garage was getting busy with the one woman show on the sewing machine, sourcing fabric, getting new business and managing all the existing customers.
With her oldest, Lana, swimming competitively and all the kids in Surf Life Saving Nippers, Prue was busy making swimwear again.
All kids on the local beach were buying their swimmers from Prue so it wasn't long before Mona Vale Surf Club asked for the club's swimmers to be made by Catfish.
The big leap of faith
Outgrowing the garage
Business was booming for this little home sewing business being run out of the garage. The family soon tired of hearing the sewing machine still running at 2am and Prue was convinced to think bigger.
So she bought a warehouse & office space, hired a staff member and went looking for help sewing.
The biggest step was letting go of the sewing, so the search for good help in making the garments was extensive. Quality control was, and still is, everything.
Taking over surf clubs
There was a huge boom in Surf Life Saving and Prue was there to help out. With clubs looking for more uniform options and the competition hot for the best uniform at State, we were making boardshorts, tees, hoodies and more.
At this stage there weren't many clubs who weren't wearing Catfish Designs club gear.
Moving from swimwear only to apparel was the first step in a move to be a full service, one stop shop.
Mother Daughter team
After finishing uni and working in banking, Prue's oldest daughter Lana decides to pack in her corporate career and join the family business. Looking for something to provide more fulfillment, where she can make a difference, Lana was excited at the boom of e-commerce and working with her family to build something special.
With the business focus on custom teamwear, with a little bit of retail on the side for fun, Lana saw potential.
Living in Melbourne at the time, Lana learnt the ropes of the business next to then boyfriend Andy who helped out with graphic design here and there.
Activewear, Cycle & Tri
After a couple of years in the business and a move to Sydney, Lana convinced Andy to join the business. With his experience as a brand manager for global sports brands, graphic design and photography, his skill set fit the bill for a need in the growing family business.
With Andys experience, the business pushed into the Cycle, Tri and Activewear space bringing the signature bright prints to a new arena.
After years of discussing, in 2021, in the middle of the COVID pandemic, Lana & Andy bought the business from Prue.
Excited about the next generation, with a great team in place. Prue staying on to manage the production side of the business, but taking a step back to enjoy more time travelling and being a grandma.
Lana & Andy had big plans after working in the business for half a decade. Taking their combined experience to help bring Catfish into a new era.
Live & Breathe Active is born
After years of considering a break between the custom and retail businesses for Catfish Designs, another big leap of faith was taken.
A name change for the retail arm of the business was underway. Over 12 months of work in research & development for new garments, new fabrics and new styles. A review and consolidation on the focus of the business, with a values driven focus on performance and community.
Live and Breathe Active was born.