Natasha Simmons, founder of Yacht Club Access, held an exclusive preview to her new upcoming Yacht Club Access Spring/Summer 2024 collection on Oct. 19.
Founded on the principle of elevating fashion to an art form, Yacht Club Access isn’t just a luxury, sustainable swimwear resort brand, it’s a lifestyle. Each piece in Yacht Club’s exclusive collections embrace a diverse range of designs, from timeless classics that exude effortless elegance to bold and avant-garde creations that push the boundaries of swimwear fashion.
Simmons was also a part of the Columbia Trade Mission trip where the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs took 20 Black metro Atlanta entrepreneurs to Cali, Columbia to enhance economic development, relationships, and global opportunities for international investment into Colombia.
Simmons also sat down during the exclusive preview to speak with The Atlanta Voice to talk about the upcoming collection, being an entrepreneur, advice, and more.
The Atlanta Voice: Yacht Club Access has had a very busy year, and now you’re planning to launch a brand-new collection the top of next year. What was the inspiration behind the new Spring/Summer 2024 collection?
Natasha Simmons: The Yacht Club Access Spring/Summer 2024 collection was inspired last year went I went to Belize for my birthday, and the resort that I chose to stay at literally was in the middle of the jungle. I was surrounded around so much beautiful and colorful nature, like the hibiscus flowers, the leaves, etc. It was insane. Not only Babar was the new dog on boats, as they say, but just being there, waking up every day, and being engulfed into that nature and the vibrant colors and things like that. I wanted to incorporate those vibrant colors into my collection so people can feel how I feel when you’re engulfed with those colors.
AV: How are you feeling about the exclusive preview and receiving love and support from peers who are special to you?
NS: I was static. At first, I was nervous because I’m like, okay, is this enough, is this what people expect from me? Is this meeting the expectation of Yacht Club? And I even was playing “the devil’s advocate”, like you’re not doing enough. You should do more. You should do more. I’m like, no, I think this is good and then I was like, you know what? How about I take out all the guesswork and do a private preview of the collection and ask my peers how they feel about the collection. And so, the response was amazing. It was great and I feel good. I’ve taken a peek at some of the survey sheets, and the response is really good. So, I’m very happy and I’m excited.
AV: What inspired you to create Yacht Club Access?
NS: I have a four-year stint of modeling and acting, and at the time of when I started into the swimwear industry in 2016, the company was called Commitment Couture, and then COVID hit. So, I had time to sit and reevaluate my business. I’m like, okay, why is this not taking off? I know this is a great, I have a strategy, a great business and niche and I realized people couldn’t pronounce the name. So, I said, okay, well, how can I now incorporate the business and then include myself and my lifestyle? By the time 2020 came around, I was on my second day of dating a guy that owned an actual yacht. I was already a part of the yacht club life. I said to myself, let’s do a little research and see how I can play around. Like, is this really available? Did the research submit it for the trademark? Got it, but Yacht Club, that’s a saturated two words. How can I add on another where it’s a really hone-in what I’m trying to do here? So, I added the word “access” because at the end of the day, when people approach me and they see Yacht Club on my chest, I get to see their faces light up and then it immediately dims because they feel like they can’t afford it, or they can’t have access to that lifestyle. It’s my job to make sure, yes you can have access to the lifestyle.
AV: You were on the trip with other Black entrepreneurs in Cali, Columbia for a historical trade mission, first of its kind, what did you take away from that trip and how did you apply it to your own business?
NS: What I’ve learned is that taking that trip over to Columbia, it’s a different culture, totally different way they do business and with me learning their style of business, what I took from that is bits and pieces that I can incorporate in how I do business. So, I’ve always been the person when I go to a meeting, I need to be ready and prepared to answer whatever questions they have, make sure I have my stuff together, make sure I look the part this and that’s totally the wrong thing to do. According to their culture, they are more about relationship building, getting to know you and building upon what it is of the common denominator of what you are, the real reason why the relationship building even starts. You can be a multi-millionaire this and that, but there they really don’t care. They’re more concerned with who you are, where are you from, what values you have, and what key things that you hold dear to your heart. When I learned that, it made me feel great because that let me know with the advice that I would give someone who’s gearing up to go on an entrepreneurial journey. Being focused and really do a self-evaluation tells me that it’s right on target.
AV: What are your business goals for the remainder of the year and beyond?
NS: It’s funny because I’ve already accomplished all my goals for the year. So, it’s really like I get to enjoy the holiday this year. So, moving forward for 2024, it’s just capitalizing off of my efforts and my hard work and really honing-in on the sales, channels, and platforms that I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of and partnership.
AV: What do you think is the hardest part about being a business owner?
NS: The hardest part is it takes forever. I, by nature, am a worker. I don’t mind working, strapping up my boots, and hitting the pavement. However, after you’ve spent many hours and days engulfed in something and then by two or three months later, you’re like, okay, but where’s the results? And there’s no results. That’s when the questioning yourself comes in and that’s when the doubts set in. It’s really the process of it. It’s a blessing and a curse within itself. Also, it’s what’s been of great value from what I’ve been learning and my process that has been coming to the forefront of my brain more recently is timing and a lot of what’s happening right now. I’ve been prepared for it years ago and now it’s happening, which only tells me instead of saying, Dang, I could have been did this two years ago and this could have happened three years ago. Instead of looking at it that way, I now can look at and say, yes, it’s my time now. My time is now. I need to now be able to take that big sigh and enjoy with where the level that I am.
AV: What kind of advice do you have to other business owners and people that maybe want to start to start a business that they don’t know how to do or they’re struggling or any type of way? What kind of advice do you have?
NS: The advice that I would give is take a real hard look at yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses, because both of those will be tested in an entrepreneurial journey. If you identify that you have more weaknesses than strengths, then you might want to reconsider, but I honestly feel since I’ve become this successful is because I’m constantly doing a self-evaluation. I’m constantly checking myself; I’m constantly making sure am I operating from a positive spirit, and a positive atmosphere. Creating a positive atmosphere for people is really everything else, the universe will work out for you.
AV: Anything else to add?
NS: Make sure you guys stay tuned. Yacht Club access is a luxury, sustainable swimwear resort brand. It’s more than just fashion, I promise you. It’s a lifestyle.
To purchase and be on the lookout for the official drop on March 7, 2024, visit https://www.yachtclubaccess.com.