Q&A With Melissa Leach, Founder & CEO of Factor Bermuda
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and where do you live now?
Originally from Canada, I moved to London to study Fashion in my early twenties. After several years working with some of the top names in luxury fashion I moved my young family to Bermuda where we currently live.
What did you do before starting Factor Bermuda?
My first job in London was working with a similar organization to the British Fashion Council, in shoes and accessories, helping to support young British designers and helping them to penetrate international markets. The majority of my career was spent on the business side of Fashion at luxury giant Burberry, closely followed by consulting for Jimmy Choo.
Tell us about your company. When did you launch? Where are you based? Why did you start it?
Factor Bermuda is a refined collection of sun protective and sustainable swimwear and accessories. A fresh perspective on swimwear combining timeless, elevated design with skincare and sustainability. A diagnosis of melanoma during my time at Burberry, led me to develop my own line of sun protective clothing reflecting my personal style and focusing on elegant, minimalist, essential wardrobe pieces. We launched in 2019 on my home island of Bermuda where the collection has been very well received and are now opening doors to a more international clientele.
What has your last year looked like? How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
As the mother of two small children, I very much focused on them over the past year supporting their needs and helping to keep them feeling happy and engaged. For my business, it was a period of reflection, focusing on strengthening the core of the collection and developing next steps in terms of international business. Importantly, Covid also taught me about balance. Coming from a corporate background I find myself constantly feeling pressured to work at the same pace as major designers which is beyond the realm of possibility as a solo female entrepreneur. Not having any control on the challenges of Covid allowed me to appreciate quality time with my growing family, be more relaxed, reflect more and achieve a better life work/life balance overall.
What is your current mantra?
Focus on the step in front of you, not the whole staircase. I think particularly launching a new brand there is a lot of pressure to compete with bigger brands. Covid has helped me to become more relaxed, slow down and celebrate my progress no matter how big or small.
What are some routines you’ve been enjoying lately?
I have never been a lover of working from home, simply because I have always found it to be distracting. However, the lack of choice during Covid taught me how to filter out distractions and focus at home. One of my favorite parts of the day is sitting down at my laptop with my morning coffee in front of the crashing waves of the beautiful turquoise ocean and appreciating the beauty of working from such a magical space.
What is your go-to outfit?
I gravitate towards clean, minimal lines and elegant silhouettes. I’m currently loving a tailored high waisted short that can be paired with a casual top and flats for daytime or dialing it up a notch with a beautiful evening top and killer heels for a night out.
Any books, movies, tv shows or podcasts to recommend?
I loved The Goop Lab. I think the way Gwenyth Paltrow and her team has harnessed the wellness industry in such an engaging way from all angles is incredibly clever in that their approach is intriguing, amusing and beautifully curated.
Are you planning any trips this year? What places are you most looking forward to visiting when life opens back up again?
We will not be traveling far this summer but I am dreaming of next year when we can hopefully visit my family in Canada and travel more freely in general. My little girls are getting to the age where they are genuinely interested in travel and culture, and I can’t wait to show them the world.
Congratulations on launching your newest collection! What was your biggest inspiration? What is your favorite piece?
Thank you!! My main inspiration is creating beautiful sun protective silhouettes that protect the skin, protect the environment and beautifully sculpt the body. My favorite pieces totally depend on where I’m wearing them. For a full day of dun on the boat I’ll wear our most protective style, The Bateau Silhouette. If I’m at the pool under the protection of an umbrella I might go for our more sultry Plunge Silhouette. For the best of both worlds I’ll likely opt for our effortlessly chic Square Silhouette. I also love matching our suits with our coordinating Head Wraps for next level protection.
You can shop all of Factor Bermuda's pieces on Modatrova here.
Below are Melissa's Modatrova favorites.