by Tina Kovačiček
After a successful modeling career and fulfilling her family role, Australian-born Julianne Bobanovic decided it’s time to start her own business. In the meantime, a Croatian husband inspired her to start beachwear brand PLIVATI, and today she is getting recognized more and more.
She is very proud of her Croatian connection and inspired to create sustainable eco-friendly garments. Meet Julianne, the owner of the brand PLIVATI.
Please tell me more about your brand PLIVATI; how and when did you decide to start a swimwear brand, what is your background and heritage, what was the trigger for this business idea…
I used to model when I was younger for some swimwear companies and as a house model for Tiffany & Co. where I also worked in their Sydney flagship office. I spent some time also working across retail and fashion and love to draw, so have always had a desire to work in the fashion industry. (I also have a huge collection of clothes and accessories). I was born on the Gold Coast, QLD so grew up across the road from the beach and often visiting during lunchtime at school.
Having a swimwear label seemed like something that just fit for me and I always had a desire to start my own label. After having my 2 children and reaching the peak of my career, I decided to take the plunge and start my own business and create my own label, ready to be my own boss.
How did you come up with the idea PLIVATI for beachwear?
My inspiration for my label is largely from my European holidays with my husband in Croatia, Italy, and France. I have a huge love for Croatia especially with my husband’s family being Croatian and we have a family property in Petrčane. I am inspired by the beautiful coastline, the smokve, olives, nice wine, bougainvillea and plantation across the regions. I was also inspired to create a more modest style swimwear line that was a little more covering and flattering that still makes you feel glamorous. The name PLIVATI we came up with sitting around one night discussing a unique brand name with my husband, we wanted to have something that resonated with the brand and our family heritage. When we said the name, and new it was swim, it just made perfect sense for a translation.
What are the reactions of the customers and who are your customers?
I design the swimwear cuts myself with modesty in mind and have the fabric printed from various designers I use. My most recent prints were custom designed with a local Melbourne designer producing my ‘fleur’ print with my ideas and motifs, we worked together to create the print and I’ve tried to incorporate something for most people with removable padding options, underwire, new supportive one-pieces and low to high wasted pant options.
I have various manufacturers overseas I work with closely that I use to produce the final products and quality check every single piece and detail before I send them to my customers. My husband Steve’s family is 1st generation Croatian and we are apart of a big Croatian community in Australia. I’m currently learning to speak Croatian and also have a Croatian Teta.
As for customers, I have had an overwhelming response especially from Croatians all over the world and those who are married to Croatians as well as all different nationalities who just love my brand and the prints and uniqueness. I had one customer in America buy my entire range!! Some of my customers have since become friends and they say I am like family so it has been a really lovely experience to date.
Where can we find or buy your brand?
My newest collection is made from recycled materials found in the ocean and recycled swimwear material so is more environmentally friendly but still with a softer luxurious feel as my first collection. I pride myself on trying to be as sustainable as possible by using biodegradable reusable swimwear ziplock bags that I sent my swimwear in as well as mailing in compostable mailers.
Do you often visit Croatia? What is the best part of it?
We were due to travel to Croatia this July to shoot my new collection and celebrate my birthday with our children Luka & Dominik but unfortunately have had to delay until next year. Hoping we can go of course. My sister and law and family are currently there in Petrčane in my husband’s late Dido’s house and we wish we could be there. We haven’t been for a couple of years so are desperate to visit again. I really love all of Croatia, I have been in winter and loved the vibe and the beautiful Christmas markets and snow in Zagreb, memories I cherish.
Any plans for the future?
Plans for the future!? We are showing in Brisbane soon at a runway and DC (Washington) swim week in October! We have some gorgeous new addictions being released next week and I have some amazing Croatian inspired men’s swim shorts I am currently designing (which involve lions) but you’ll have to wait for that one?!