We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Wilkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I decided to start my own business because I saw a hole in the swimwear industry. At the time, I was working as a stewardess on a charter yacht in the Mediterranean. We were washing crazy-expensive bikinis from luxe labels like Chanel, Feragamo, and Dior. The girls I worked with were terrified of damaging these obviously expensive pieces – and looked to me for advice. I suggested washing them with a mild Castile soap with a natural base as to not disturb the delicate fabrics. From this moment, I knew that I could develop a similar soap that could care for high-quality swimwear. My goal was to make our bikini wash synonymous with all swimwear purchase. Since then, we have grown our business and are on our way to achieving my original intention.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I always joke that I wear many hats – literally and figuratively. I am a lover of hats big and small, and a lover of doing a lot of different things. After college, I wasn’t sure what industry I wanted to build a career in. I had friends who immediately jumped into a career in their field of study – accepted corporate jobs and ignored any yearning for something different. I was simply unable to ignore the fact that I spent a semester abroad – learning a language, a culture, and a passion. I don’t think I would be the same person today, if I hadn’t traveled to Europe in college. I learned so much about myself and what makes me happy that I never would have discovered had I stayed put. I earned a Bachelors degree in Political Science with a minor in French language and English literature – like I said I’ve always loved doing a lot of different things. I would never have described myself as laser focused – I have always had a wandering eye for learning new skills and discovering new passions. Fast forward to 2014, after a year of waitressing and working in retail, I enrolled in an associate’s art program at a local community college. I wanted to try my hand at graphic design. I have always been incredibly visual probably because I grew up with an accomplished interior designer (my mother). I started scrapbooking from a young age, and even can trace my love of typography back to the days when I created custom fonts for our family gatherings place cards. I spent four semesters learning the ins and outs of Adobe creative cloud, sketching, color theory, and photography. I loved every minute of it! While, I didn’t consider myself much of a drawer or painter – I’ve always had a good eye for photos. Upon finishing this degree, I fell in love with the aforementioned business partner – Tyler. He convinced me to take a chance and try working / living on yachts. I was already toying with the idea as, I had made a few friends in the yachting community – and their jobs seemed pretty sweet. In October of 2015, I got my first full-time yachting job as a third stewardess on a 50 meter vessel called Imagine… I learned how to be independent, worked incredibly hard, and made life-long friends. I spent 5 years working as a stewardess and traveled across the U.S. , the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico, Northern Europe, and the Mediterranean. These experiences helped shape me into the person I am today. I learned that I am head-strong, resilient, and great at making beds. I can hold my own in a crew mess filled with Australian and English seamen who are known for their banter, and their relentless humor (often at your expense). I was able to live in a blended (high-stress) environment with people from all walks of life. It truly was a remarkable experience – and sometimes I even miss it! Now, I am proud to say that I am a small business owner – Bikinis Over Everything, and a full-time social media specialist for a global beauty brand. I also run a travel blog (that I am desperately behind on) @OverEverythingco / OverEverything.com. I post my travel and lifestyle imagery here and write pieces about things that I am passionate about. Spoiler – there is no end to my passions. I am an incredibly passionate person. I am absolutely loving my new career and feel fulfilled and challenged daily! In case you think I might not be occupying enough of my day creatively – I also freelance graphic design. I know, I know – lots of hats.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Hmm this is a tough one given the current state of the world. I’ll use a best-case scenario option where my best friend is visiting in a safe global climate (hopefully sometime in the near future). With that being said – I would pick her up from the airport (assuming it was a morning flight) take her to Grandview public market for my favorite Pumphouse coffee draft latte and Aioli almond croissant. Then I’d shop around Gypsy life surf shop with her before heading to my apartment in Northwood. Afterwards, I would suggest we strap on our rollerblades and head over the bridge to skate amongst the billionaires. The Palm Beach bike path is a beautiful ( and well paved) path that extends along the beautiful intracoastal waterway. You can’t get a better view for free! After working up a sweat – I would suggest we go somewhere beautiful for a refreshing beverage and al fresco style lunch. Depending on our moods – I would suggest lunch at the colony pool bar or at Pizza Al Fresco. Both have unlimited charm and Palm Beach flair. Following lunch, I would suggest we head slightly north to take the ferry to Peanut Island- we would bring our snorkel gear and swim around marveling at the little world beneath the water. We’d spend a few hours enjoying the isolated island beauty ( we would visit on a weekday as to avoid the crowds), and then head back to my apartment to refresh and re-group. For happy hour – again depending on our moods – I would suggest Kapow for delicious asian small plates or Cucina for the best crispy calamari. Before committing to a dinner spot – I would be sure to take my bestie to the rooftop bar at the Ben hotel – Spruzzo. I wouldn’t want her to miss the best sunset view in all of West Palm Beach. Dinner is a tough one because there are so many great choices! If we were in the mood for something quick and casual , I would suggest grabbing a pizza to go from Pizza girls or (if it’s a Friday night) Aioli. If we wanted something a bit more glamorous I would suggest Buccan. To meet in the middle – I would suggest an evening under the stars at Blind Monk. This tiny wine bar updates it’s menu frequently to keep regulars on their toes. The wines are delightful and the cheeses are incredible! This is one of my all-time favorite West Palm Beach establishments. After dinner – I’d suggest meeting up with friends at Petanque in Northwood for dancing and late night drinks!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to shoutout my incredible business and life partner – Tyler Viljoen without whom, none of this would be possible! Tyler and I have been together for five years, and we are constantly dreaming and planning our next adventure. He makes everyday special and always pushes me to be the absolute best version of myself. He has an unlimited amount of faith in me, and he continuously celebrates my successes. Simply put, I would be lost without him.
Website: overeverything.co , courtneyannewilkins.com
Instagram: @overeverything.co, @courtneyannewilkins
Anne Podlecki for all BOE photos (minus the one with the green bikini)