Finding the right swimwear can be challenging, but for big-busted women, it can feel downright impossible. To address this problem, Emma-Jane Hughes and Ashleigh Hill created Lilly & Lime, a swimwear line for women with D cups and up. Emma and Ash shared the inspiration behind their brand, their approach to using swimsuit models and their proudest mom moments.
Congrats on the success of Lilly & Lime. How did you get the idea to create a swimwear line for big-busted women?
Ash: We both grew up in Africa loving the sun and the beach – I grew up on the shores of Lake Malawi while Em was raised on the beautiful white beaches in South Africa. The idea for Lilly & Lime came while we were on a friend’s bachelorette weekend. Our bikinis felt boring and ill-fitted, while our smaller busted friends had fun, stylish suits.
After spending three years on product development, researching how to best serve bigger-busted women (especially those with hard to find bra sizes) we launched in April 2016 in Australia and quickly amassed a passionate, international fan base.
We love that you include a diverse range of body types on your website. Was it a hard decision to take that approach, or a no-brainer?
Emma: It was really important for us to make sure we represented women’s bodies as authentically as possible by using models of all sizes. When our customers are shopping, we want them to be able to get an idea of what the swimwear will look like on their bodies. All bodies are beautiful, and we want our customers to put on their swimwear, feel confident and look great.
We also love to show our followers what the suits look like on us. It took us a little while to get comfortable showing ourselves in bikinis on Instagram, but our customers responded so well to seeing the swimsuits on real bodies!
What’s next for Lilly & Lime?
Emma: We are constantly looking at ways we can expand our range based on customer feedback and market trends. Up next is our aa capsule collection for girls which launches in the next few weeks. Then, in 2019, you’ll see some new one-piece styles as well as new cuts for our bikini tops and bottoms.
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
Emma: School lunches! I really dread making them, but I know if I asked my husband to make them, the control freak in me would probably stress out. I try and give the kids really healthy lunch and snacks.
Ash: Cleaning/tidying the house after the morning rush of making beds, lunches, etc. Parenting is a never-ending flow of toys, clothes and food!
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
Emma: Spending time at the beach, reading and traveling with my family—we love to explore new places. It’s the only time I really switch off—mostly because I often have restricted access to my phone and emails.
Ash: Relax and unwind? What is this you speak of? Since starting Lilly & Lime and having two kids, there really hasn’t been much time for that. But seriously, a good gin and tonic, and (you’re going to laugh) a Nerf gun war with my two boys and my husband has become a staple on a Sunday afternoon and gives us all a good laugh.
What is your best parenting hack?
Emma: I’m not sure if this is a parenting hack or we just got lucky, but both my kids are really good sleepers, so we’ve now persuaded them to play quietly in their rooms in the morning and not wake us up, which is amazing.
Ash: Games like 4 in a Row or Connect 4. They cost me $5 and they keep my kids quiet for at least 20 minutes!
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
Emma: That they will turn into superheroes if they eat their raw veggies!
If you could describe motherhood in one word, what would it be?
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
Emma: Seeing the awesome little people they’ve become. This morning I dropped my daughter, Matilda (age 5), off at sailing camp and she walked into a room full of boys whom she’d never met, really confident and happy. She said, “Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll be fine. See you later!” I of course wanted to tear up, but she totally owned it.
Ash: Troy (my 4-year-old) helped me fold a massive pile of laundry, carried a heavy bag of groceries up from the car to the kitchen, and then he cleaned up after his brother without being asked! What a little legend.
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
Emma: Travel as much as you can and be open to new places and new people—it will enrich your life.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
Emma: Sometimes you just have to accept it’s a bad day/week/phase and know it will pass and get easier. On those days, I tend to put the kids to bed and pour myself a glass of wine and take five minutes to myself. Parenting is hard, so cut yourself some slack, and accept that there will be good and bad days.
Ash: Pick your battles…you can’t win them all and you don’t want to argue about everything. Sometimes you just have to let certain things slide.
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
Emma: It’s a constant juggle. I always feel there is one area in my life that is not getting enough of my attention, be it kids, my husband, friends or work. Since I work from home, I can be flexible with my days, so I try to spend part of every day with the kids, even if it’s just a quick swim at home at lunchtime. I’m also trying to spend one or two evenings a week with my husband— with no phones or laptops in sight.
I’ve made a point to do one thing for myself everyday, too, and that’s usually going to the gym. Working out every day puts me in a better mental space and gets me ready to tackle the day.
What was the last book you read?
Emma: I’m about halfway through All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and loving it!
Favorite Beauty Product:
Emma: I am a bit of a skincare junkie; a few of my favourites are the Vitamin C serum from Drunk Elephant, Tatcha’s polished rice enzyme powder for a daily exfoliator, Murad’s Rapid Collagen Infusion Serum as a night serum and Alpha-H liquid gold.
Ash: I love Elizabeth Arden’s chemical peel pads and Frank Body Coconut Oil.
Favorite Form of Exercise:
Emma: I love pilates, but at the moment I am doing a lot of HIIT training as I can get my sweat on and be done in 45 minutes.
Ash: I’ve recently swapped gym for F45. I’m so sore and exhausted but it is a great 45-minute intense workout.
What is on your DVR?
Emma: The Handmaid’s Tale.
Ash: Season 4 of The Affair, Thirteen Reasons Why (Season 2) and I tend to have Love Island on in the background.
Ash: Instagram for me, too!
Favorite Kids Store:
Emma: Seed, Country Road and Cotton On are all great Australian kids’ clothing stores.
Ash: The Disney Store! I was seriously mind blown at all the awesome toys I saw there when I passed through the Hong Kong airport for work. For clothes, I second Emma’s picks, and I also frequent Target and Kmart— both are great for reasonably priced clothes for kids.