First and foremost, Jack Watts considers himself an AFL footballer. And he’s a dead-set star at that; the now Port Adelaide forward is a goal-kicker, game-breaker and has arguably some of the best skills in the league.
Unbeknown to many though, he is also a successful business owner and a glowing example of how to successfully coordinate two jobs. Two years ago, Watts launched colourful swimwear label Skwosh with friends Adam Welsh and artist-turned-fashion designer Jack Turner (aka Hey Stubby). It’s fast becoming a household name.
“I think it’s vital to enjoy what your doing – you really got to love it,” says Watts, on how to make a second job work. “For me that’s been the case. I enjoy all the brainstorming, meetings and generally talking about the products.”
“There’s so much hard work and setbacks that go into launching a business that you really need to like it. I wouldn’t be able to handle working at Skwosh, as well as being a professional athlete if I didn’t.”
At Skwosh, Watts takes care of the “publicity and networking side of things”, while Welsh manages the day-to-day operations. For Watts, having supportive business partners has been an immense help.
“If you can, go into business with people you trust who can pull the weight when you're not around, then you’re halfway there,” he says.
“We’ve been lucky having Adam [Welsh] working full time at the business, and Turner’s been really fantastic.”
In two years of operation, Skwosh has gone from strength to strength. Its first men’s shorts range required a second run and local media coverage has been widespread; the label’s been featured in Broadsheet, GQ and Fashion Journal, to name a few. Watts puts this success so far down to preparation.
“We did a lot of research and spoke to a lot of people, and we basically felt there was a gap in the market for this type of swimwear,” he says.
“We set out to make men’s shorts that were really bright and colourful and would look equally good down at the beach as when worn casually.”
Their product certainly captures that vision. Skwosh swimwear is seriously bright, with novel colours and patterns. Its first season was themed around summer fruit, while its new releases (shown below) have a tropical flavour.
This year the crew decided to expand the label into woman’s swimwear.
“We had a lot of girls, especially girlfriends, contacting us wanting us to release a range for them,” say Watts. “They really loved the patterns and the brand vibe!”
Over the last two years, Skwosh swimwear has been worn by radio personalities Hamish and Andy, model and former rugby player Kris Smith, TV heavyweight Karl Stefanovic and, recently, models Steph Rayner and Lauren Phillips.
For those looking to start their own business, Watts offers some important advice.
“Firstly, you need to be as organised as anything and look to get everything done at least a month before you need to,” he says.
“We had a lot of disruption with the business name and website which caused a little bit of stress, and there were often delays with ordering and deliveries and that sort of thing, so make sure you are well prepared.
“Also, prepare for the feedback. If you can go and do something that’s not as expected, you may get a few knockers. But if you’ve got a strong vision, done the market research, and developed a product you’re confident in, then you’ve just got to back yourself in.”
In October 2017, Jack Watts moved from Melbourne to Adelaide to join the Port Adelaide Football Club. If his second city and team are as successful as his second job, then it certainly will be worth the big move. Fortunately, the signs are already looking good.
“I’m loving it here! The beaches here are really great – seriously some of the best I’ve already seen.”
This article first appeared on Scoutjobs.com.au, Broadsheet’s Sydney and Melbourne employment website for the creative industries.