While most 21-year-olds spend their days slaving away at boring casual jobs or downing Midori-lemonades, Tara Sargant was busy building her own fashion brand.
The Sydney university student, now 23, is the founder of bikini label TJ Swim. She started the business out of her parents' laundry at age 21 while studying full time and working part time in the fashion industry.
"I found myself struggling to find a good quality, seamless Brazilian bikini," Tara told news.com.au.
"I was always living in bikinis and had a passion for high fashion and thought there was a gap in the market," she said.
She had been saving money for a big overseas holiday but instead decided to invest her $10,000 savings into her business.
Tara designed the bikinis herself and sourced a manufacturer in Bali who handmakes TJ Swim's products.
Her growth strategy then involved gifting bikinis to social media "influencers" who she believed were aligned with her brand. They would upload a photo of themselves wearing the bikini, tag the brand and encourage consumers to click through and buy the product.
"The label took off so quickly in a short space of time, largely due to the fact that we were able to build such a strong online presence working with influencers to grow our following.
"Our posts were going viral and we were able to reach a large market," Tara said.
She said she was "fortunate to work with some strong, positive influencers who have a really good influence on young women".
Tara has given bikinis to celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and hair stylist Jen Atkin. She always sees an increase in sales after a celebrity is photographed wearing one of her designs.
"In that instance, Chrissy [Teigen] didn't have to tag the brand but she was spotted wearing one of our best-selling bikinis on a trip to Italy and she got papped," Tara said.
Instead of hiring traditional models for TJ Swim's ad campaigns, Tara books social media influencers with large Instagram followings.
For example, Australian model Belle Lucia, who has 1.2 million Instagram followers, models TJ Swim's latest collection on its online store.
Since launching in late 2015, TJ Swim has built a six-figure annual turnover and the business is currently valued at $3 million. In its first year, it experienced a 500 per cent growth in sales.
"I'm finally able to move out of my parents' laundry and we're at a point now where we're moving into a larger warehouse office," Tara said.
But with dozens of online bikini brands vying for space in a crowded market, Tara is aware of the challenges her business faces.
"The swimwear market, especially in Australia, is so competitive," she said. "So we put a lot of time working on differentiating ourselves. We're making sure we're using more details and ribbed fabrics, which are really popular at the moment."
And with the conversation about body diversity getting louder, she's realised brands like hers need to keep up.
"We've expanded our size range to include a larger size and that decision was based around customer feedback and demand. We want to empower women of all shapes and sizes to feel their best, so we're going to keep working on building up the size range."